the previous instalment of the Future Fashion article series, we provided an
overview of the environmental impacts of some of the most widely used textiles
in the fashion industry – natural and synthetic. We provided an overview of the
existing sustainable and biobased alternatives to those and showed that they could
allow the fashion industry to transition towards a circular sustainable
economy. This second article focuses on sustainable biobased alternatives to
animal-derived materials, namely leather, silk and (faux-) fur.
on the use of those materials are often very polarised due to their inherent
animal-derived nature. As numerous activist organisations such as PETA raise
awareness on the often cruel treatment inflicted on animals1,2 to
source the raw materials, some businesses argue that as leather, silk and fur are
manufactured from biobased raw materials, they are more environmentally
friendly than man-made alternatives which often contain petroleum-derived
polymers, like polyester3,4,5. In addition, providers of 100%
animal-derived materials also argue that their activity plays a crucial role in
helping protect the environment by optimising ecosystem services and making use
of waste from other industries (i.e. meat and dairy for leather). This
everlasting debate perfectly illustrate the complex nature of the transition
that the fashion industry is attempting to undertake, especially when dealing
with animal-derived products.
To read the rest of the article, click here.