In an effort to keep pace with the rising demand for organic and environmentally friendly fabrics and apparel, synthetic fiber manufacturers have sought to improve their production practices while introducing a host of lower-impact products.
The amount of energy used to manufacture man-made fibers makes claiming environmental bona fides a difficult task. Synthetics such as nylon and polyester begin as hard polymer pellets that are melted at high temperatures. Achieving those temperatures requires factories to burn oil or natural gas. Once melted, the product is forced through a series of extruders that allow it to be worked into a fiber.
A Stella McCartney sketch of a custom dress made from protein-based silk in partnership with biotech lab Bolt Threads. The dress will be displayed at The Museum of Modern Art's upcoming design exhibition, "Items: Is Fashion Modern?"