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People Are Using Unexpected Materials To Create Sustainable Clothes

People Are Using Unexpected Materials To Create Sustainable Clothes

From fermented wine to withered fish nets, we explore the weird and wonderful materials used to create recycled clothing.

The weird, wonderful and green things you can make into clothes  

We asked you guys over on instagram about how you identify sustainable clothing whilst out shopping. And it turns out 50% of our audience can’t identify a sustainable garm! Someone actually thought the only way to find out if an item was sustainable was by taking it to a special laboratory. Trust us, it’s easier than that.

If you’re someone who doesn’t know their blue bin from their green bin but wants to help reduce their impact on the planet then read on. Because we’re going to talk about the weird and wonderful things that you can make sustainable clothes from. From recycled fishing nets to fish mucus, some of them will definitely surprise you.

Plastic bottles

You can actually get brand new clothes that have been made from recycled plastic bottles. As a population, we create so much plastic waste that often just ends up in a landfill or even worse - the ocean. But you can actually find clothing that has been made from recycled bottles! What’s really cool is that all the polyester padding in Superdry’s heavyweight jackets is made using recycled content from waste like plastic bottles, with an average of 25 bottles in each jacket. 


Cotton - but make it organic

Scientists at De Montfort University in the UK have developed a new fabric using a plant most people would consider a nuisance: stinging nettle. However, if the thought of wearing a t-shirt made out of the itchiest fabric imaginable sends shivers down your spine then organic cotton might be more up your street. You might be surprised to find out that conventional cotton uses over 2,800 litres of water to grow a kilo of it (which is about 3 tee shirts). It also needs a lot of harmful pesticides, destroying the soil in which the cotton plants grow. However, organic cotton uses no artificial pesticides, uses up to 87% less water and reduces co2 emissions by up to 14%. And even better? Superdry are working with over 12,000 farmers this year to help the convert to organic farming practices – and are the only brand we’ve come across that has made a commitment to invest in enough organic to meet their actual consumption.

Textile waste

The old saying “waste not want not” has stood the test of time because it’s really true. And that often means finding the value in every single part of something. But rather than heading into the woods to tap up a tree (yes you can actually create fabric using tree pulp) you can create lovely new clothing from textile waste. Probably easier to source anyway… Whether it’s scraps of materials that get left on the manufacturing floor or a vintage jumper from the 70s tucked away in someone’s attic, all this textile waste can be repurposed to craft beautiful new pieces that are technically still brand new. In 2020/1, Superdry actually repurposed 418 tonnes of cut fabric waste from unused factory fabrics to help create their unique Recycled Collection. Ideal if you haven’t got the time to sift through charity shop rails looking for a hidden treasure!

Fishing nets

Did you know that scientists are currently working on ways to make clothes out of fish mucus? Well why would you! But if you’re not the biggest fan of slimy clothes, there’s another way you can shop sustainably using something found in the ocean. Now, an industrial fishing net may not immediately scream high fashion but through clever recycling methods, these old nets are processed into small plastic flakes and can actually be used to create sustainable swimwear. By opting for fully recycled swimwear, when you take a dip in the ocean you’ll actually be saving it from pollution. Next time you go snorkelling expect a thumbs up from the turtles!

Understanding a little bit more about the materials your clothes are made from can completely revolutionise how sustainable your outfits are. Plus, with brands such as Superdry dedicating themselves to more eco-friendly practices, it's becoming even easier to make more mindful clothing choices. You can learn more about Superdry's sustainability initiative here.

Featured Image Credit: Superdry

Topics: Fashion, Environment