Nature gives us everything for free, right? That’s why sustainable jewelry companies such as Melissa Joy Manning, a California-based brand that practices a zero-waste design process, incorporates recycled metals, sustainably sourced stones and handcrafted jewelry in her Green-certified studio in Berkeley, “seeks to redefine what ‘precious’ means.”
Manning, founder of Melissa Joy Manning, told WWD, “Our first commitment was to 100 percent recycled metal. Then we pursued our studio’s green certification. Our journey into sustainability has never stopped — we are zero waste, we carbon offset every box we ship and we use responsibly sourced stones whenever they exist. We now even offer company bicycle repair kits to alternative commuters! In pushing people’s perceptions of ‘precious,’ we have also led the way for the industry to be cleaner and more responsible. I actively share my resources and mentor many designers who want to improve — this is isn’t about me or my work, it’s about all of us and our planet. I passionately believe that It’s only in cumulative change that we will make a difference.”
And bio-based fabrics — or materials made from nature’s renewable biological resources — might be the next big thing in sustainable textiles. Japanese high-performance fabric manufacturer Ultrafabrics thinks so, too: The firm introduced Ultraleather Volar Bio, its first product with bio-based ingredients that integrates renewable plant-based materials into a leather-like fabric.
Volar Bio’s construction includes the use of wood pulp-based materials and corn-based content to create a specific type of resin that are incorporated into the twill backcloth — the result is a matte, buttery smooth material available in a range of colors such as gray, brown, rose, taupe, blue, green and orange, which are inspired by the healing powers of minerals and are intended to promote well-being.
Toyohiko Nakagawa, director of Ultrafabrics Holdings and president of Daiichi Kasei Co. Ltd., said, “As the leader of high-performance fabrics, we have to answer the future needs of our customers. Over four years ago we partnered with a boutique supplier and challenged them to create custom naturally derived ingredients that would improve our sustainability profile without sacrificing the renowned aesthetics and durability of Ultrafabrics. We are pleased with the final product and look forward to upholding our commitment to a greener future while moving our product category in a new direction.”
Meanwhile, ingredient brands such as Pertex are experimenting with better and more sustainable fabric blends, with the release of new materials made from 100 percent recycled nylon and 100 percent recycled polyester. The firm just announced its sustainability aims and targets, which are focused on the reduction of demand for virgin raw materials and increased interest in materials from recycled waste streams; reduction of energy and water consumption, and the elimination of using potentially harmful chemicals — among many other targets the brand aims to meet by 2022.
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