During the Thirties, Forties and Fifties, nylon's durability, polyester's UV protection and spandex's stretch were developed. Activewear textiles have been characterized by their performance capabilities — and extremely negative impact on the environment — ever since. Now there's buzz about a new crop of textiles with exceptional properties. Along with a promise to work hand in hand with Mother Nature, mills are developing some of the most comfortable, sanitary performance materials ever. But some feel that the combination of these materials with green processes may not be a match made in heaven.
Not the cannabis you bake into brownies, this industrial-grade fiber has lower psychoactive chemical levels. "There's a major difference between marijuana and hemp," says Barbara Filippone of EnviroTextiles. "It's like jalapeño peppers and bell peppers; one's hot, the other's not." Hemp fabrics are known for their moisture absorption, anti-bacterial properties and ventilation.
EnviroPro: This plant, grown internationally as a companion crop to ward off pests and suppress weeds, lessens dependency on pesticides.
EnviroCon: Fiber-processing plants produce significant quantities of respirable dust contaminated with endotoxins harmful to workers.
Photo: hemp summer cloth at EnviroTextiles.
Soy (Moisture Control)
Manufacturers process the residue of soybeans from tofu production to spin these cashmere-like fibers. There was a time when only vegans, vegetarians and edamame addicts claimed allegiance to the plant, but as Howard Silver, president of Jasco Eco, remarks, "The fashion industry is taking green from hippie to hip." Soy clothing has excellent moisture absorption and transmission, making it more sanitary than cotton, but the fiber is versatile enough to make everything from cashmere-like sweaters to faux fur.
EnviroPro: This process makes use of what's otherwise waste material.
EnviroCon: The majority of genetically modified crops are soy, and the debate on their environmental impact has yet to be resolved.
Photo: Soysilk at Southwest Trading Co.
This cellulose fiber comes from refined bamboo pulp made of the plant's stems and leaves. "A fabrication isn't marketable just because it's 'green' or 'sustainable,'" says Steve Usdan, president of Natural Earth-Safe Textiles. "Function leads form, and form leads green." True to this mantra, bamboo fabrics, which are soft and inhibit the growth of bacteria, are perfect for yoga, aerobics and running activewear.EnviroPro: Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants on earth, which makes it an abundant, renewable resource.
EnviroCon: Without responsible handling, it can spread wildly and choke out other crops.
Photo: bamboo jersey at Jasco Eco, white; bamboo twill at Natural Earth-Safe Textiles, yellow.
PLA (UV Protection)
Polylactide is a synthetic polymer produced from the fermentation of plant sugars derived primarily from corn. The trademarked Ingeo PLA fiber was developed by NatureWorks in Minnetonka, Minn. "Products produced from Ingeo in 2007 will save the United States over one million barrels of oil," maintains Dennis Lenz, president of Mill Direct Apparel. PLA textiles are lightweight, hypoallergenic and provide more UV protection than polyester.
EnviroPro: PLA production uses about half the energy required to manufacture other synthetic polymers; products are completely biodegradable.
EnviroCon: Growing one acre of corn uses enough water to run a household dishwasher over 30,000 times. Increasing production could dramatically affect area water tables.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)