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.
Invista was early to introduce a synthetic product with a lower environmental impact. In 2002, Invista, which was a part of DuPont at the time, introduced Easy Set Lycra spandex, which enables fabrics to be heat-set at lower temperatures without losing performance characteristics. The fiber allows Lycra to be used with delicate fibers such as silk and wool, which can't withstand extreme temperatures. Invista is touting Easy Set Lycra as a way for manufacturers to save energy and a product that works well with natural textiles such as bamboo, soy, hemp and organic cotton.
Other synthetic giants have been racing to come up with similar lower-impact products. In January 2007, Toray Industries announced it would be introducing a line of textiles manufactured from recycled nylon 6 fibers, a key component in the production of outwear and athletic wear.
In an interview with WWD at the time, Kenny Gotcher, a sales executive with Toray, said the new process allows post-industrial waste yarn to be remelted and spun back into a yarn. Since the fiber has already gone through the production process, recycled nylon 6 uses only 15 percent of the energy necessary to make virgin nylon.
Hyosung's Creora spandex business introduced a suite of lower-impact products during the Intertextile Shanghai trade show in 2007. Creora unveiled two low-temperature set spandex products as well as a new black spandex engineered to reduce the use of dyes and other finishing products. According to the company's research, by developing a fiber with a set temperature 15 degrees lower than traditional spandex, carbon dioxide emissions are reduced by 162 tons a year — roughly the amount emitted by 84 cars in a year."I think we still need to do more work on helping customers merchandise the energy savings to the consumers," said Ria Stern, Creora's global marketing and brand director. Stern said the company is looking to develop a labeling system similar to the Energy Star label to help easily convey the benefits of certain products to consumers.
More recently, Hyosung announced it was launching a recycled nylon and polyester program. The company's nylon business is collecting nylon fishing nets, rope and fabrics and breaking them back down to their chemical ingredients in order to produce a recycled nylon. They're also collecting plastic bottles to produce recycled polyester.
"By doing it this way, the quality of the product we produce is the same as if you were making virgin nylon, but you reduce landfill waste and reduce energy usage," said Stern.
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye