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Eco-Fashion: Impending Revolution of Fashion Industry

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Ashraful Islam

“Today we love what tomorrow we hate, today we seek what tomorrow we shun, today we desire what tomorrow we fear” – A famous quote of Daniel Defoe which is very much aligned with the current circumstances of the textile or fashion industry. At the start of mankind, only tree leaves or skin of animals was ok for wearing, but the revolution of machines forced us to shun such kinds of outfits. For this, mankind establishes the textile industry intending to get colorful, comfortable outfits. Though it is impossible to survive without the textile industry its impact on the environment, nowadays, becomes a stucked fishbone in the throat. The fashion industry is the second-largest polluter in the world just after the oil industry, and the environment of the world is gradually worsening as the fashion industry grows exponentially. However, there are solutions and alternatives to mitigate these problems. In this article, we will describe how Eco-Fashion will shape our future fashion industry and lessen its insalubrious effect on the environment.

image001Though there is a trend in building green textiles along with sufficient wastewater treatment plants, in most of the countries where garments are produced untreated – containing lead, mercury, arsenic– wastewaters from textiles factories are dumped directly into the river. Such kinds of wastewater are extremely deleterious to aquatic life along with millions of human beings living near the river bank. This type of contamination is so exponentially enhanced that this type of water reaches the sea and eventually spread around the globe. The use of fertilizers in cotton production which heavily pollutes runoff water and evaporation water is another source of water contamination. Eco-fashion practice can solve this type of problem. The use of organic fibers and natural fibers that don’t require chemicals to be produced might be a light in the black hole of such kind of pollution problem. Flocus, a company that brings hope for this type of problem-solving. It produces natural yarns, fillings, and fabrics made from kapok fibers. Without the use of insecticide and pesticides in arid soil not suitable for agricultural farming, the kapok tree can be naturally grown. It is offering a sustainable alternative to high water-consuming crops such as cotton.

image002Water is the foundation of all life, and yet global supplies of fresh water are being used up at an alarming rate. The fashion industry relies heavily on water for its own survival. From the irrigation of cotton crops at one end of the supply chain to the domestic washing of clothes at the other, fashion is a thirsty business. It’s estimated that the fashion industry currently uses around 93 billion cubic meters of water per year, which is 4% of all freshwater extraction globally. On current trends, this amount is set to double by 2030. Keeping all this catastrophic water consumption in mind, researchers come forward to save the water. Here are 4 technologies that can save excessive usage of water as well as energy in textile industry.

AIRDYE

This system adds PVC-free inks to a paper carrier, then heat-transfers the dyes from the paper to the surface of the fibers at a molecular level. Applying color in this fashion not only uses 90 percent less water than conventional methods, according to the company, but it also requires 85 percent less energy

DYECOO

DyeCoo Textile System is a Netherlands-based company that built the first commercial waterless textile-dyeing machine. The H2O-free technology imbues a pressurized form of carbon dioxide with liquid-like properties, allowing it to penetrate textile fibers and disperse preloaded dyes without extra chemical agents. Once the dyeing cycle is complete, the CO2 is gasified to recover the excess dye before cycling back into the dyeing vessel for reuse. 

DYECAT

Without using a single drop of water, DyeCat locks dyes into textile fibers on a molecular level, creating colors that won’t run, leach, or fade. The color, in other words, becomes part of the material, leaving no dye runoff to contaminate drinking sources. The process uses only as much dye as necessary to color the fabric, which means less energy and little waste.

JEANOLOGIA

Jeanologia’s E-Soft technology transforms air in the atmosphere into “nano-bubbles” that soften fabrics using 98 percent less water and 79 percent less energy than traditional methods. The Spanish company, which specializes in garment finishing, also uses ozone rather than multiple washes to fade its denim, saving nearly 4 million gallons of water daily across its facilities worldwide, according to Enrique Silla, its founder and CEO.

The textile industry’s environmental impact is a long-standing subject of scrutiny, with parties ranging from concerned consumers to government officials chiming in to suggest how to make meaningful, positive changes. This article concludes with the anecdote of some enthusiastic student startup.

SaltyCo.

A need to innovate new method of reducing the fresh water led to SaltyCo’s birth. SaltyCo’s mission is to design a textile and fashion industry that works with and for nature, rather than against it. This change will become crucial for retailers to follow, as demand for supply chain, life cycle, and material transparency increases. Customers will be informed where their products are coming from and what impact they have on the environment. SaltyCo enables retailers to place themselves at the forefront of this impactful shift in the textile industry and effectively introduce change to a thirsty industry.