February 17th, 2017

Bio fabrication: The Future of Fashion?

The fashion industry has historically been (rather fairly) scrutinised for its negative impact on the environment. Fast fashion and the heavy reliance upon nature mean that the industry produces huge amounts of waste, consumes vast quantities of water and demands more raw materials than are often available. Cotton farming relies heavily on pesticides and water, over-farmed animals produce lower quality leathers that are often unusable and large quantities of discarded textiles are left on the cutting room floor.

Isolated 3d render ecology clothes concept with white background

In response to these environmental challenges bio-fabrication presents a solution to these fashion faux-pas. Bio-fabrication is the process of growing new materials from small organisms such as yeast, bacteria and fungi and engineering these to produce materials with enhanced natural properties. A group of emerging synthetic companies are redefining the materials used in fashion, combining scalable mechanical systems with emerging biological inventions and genetically modified living systems to smarten up the industry, reduce their environmental impact and encourage an eco-friendly image.

Bolt threads have developed a protein thread that mimics spider silk which is then weaved to make fabrics. As the name suggests, the synthetic material replicates the strength and resilience of natural silk yet is soft and pliable. Modern Meadow has developed lab-grown leather by growing collagen, a protein found in animal skin, from which a hide is born. Shrilk is a compostable bio plastic made from shrimp shells and proteins extracted from milk. The material is transparent, light and malleable, as strong as aluminium but half the weight. Fashionista thinks that the material’s real selling point is that an item made from Shrilk could be worn today, recycled tomorrow, satisfying those ecologically minded, but still after a fast fashion fix.

Dew covered cobwebs cover gorse bushes in heavy fog on the Blorenge Woodland Trust reserve in the Brecon Beacons. November

While there are several examples of bio-engineered fabrication units, the mass production of such items remain in the infant stages. Last year, Bolt Threads announced that life-style brand Patagonia had invested in developing its high-performance spider silk fabric. Despite such partnerships, the commercialisation of bio-fabricated products is yet to be seen. Fashionista hopes that designers and retailers alike will take the opportunities that bio fabricated materials offer to provide more sustainable and environmentally friendly clothing. While we may not see the mainstream uptake of these materials in the near future, such technologies should be heralded as providing a sustainable solution to the environmentally reliant fashion industry.

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After three decades, Adidas has brought its shoe production back to Germany. The sportswear giant has opened a “Speed Factory” facility in Asbach (or a “Hochgeschwindigkeitsfabrich” for Fashionista’s German speakers), enabling the company to make fully customised shoes at an incredibly fast speed – one pair can be made in approximately five hours. Adidas currently […]

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February 3rd, 2017

Mirror Mirror?

As reported in our sister blog, Retail Consigliere, digital mirrors (or smart mirrors) are set to be a key interactive sales tool for retailers to exploit in 2017 and beyond! The digital revolution has fuelled an increased trend for online and mobile shopping, leaving retailers with the challenge of reviving their physical stores to retain […]

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What is the essential function of a brand? As any IP lawyer will tell you, it is to reassure you of the origin of the product. With this in mind, online marketplace eBay has launched a new service aimed at stamping out fake high-end fashion on its website – with a surprising twist. Brand-new eBay Authenticate […]

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It is that time of year again when retailers go head-to-head in the Christmas advertising arena and this year they are not holding back, with advertising expenditure set to reach £5.6 billion (£300 million more than last year). This may seem strange in a post-Brexit landscape in which retailers have had to review their advertising […]

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Executives at American Apparel have recently filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the second time in 13 months.  The bankruptcy of American Apparel rounds off a tough year for the fashion industry, from the effect of Brexit to the closure of various stores, such as Banana Republic in the UK.  It seems that American […]

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As Fashionista readers begin their Christmas shopping, they may be faced with the following question: “Would you like us to email you your receipt?”. The list of retailers offering digital receipts, rather than their paper counterparts, is growing rapidly, with the likes of Apple, Debenhams, Topshop and Argos all offering them today. On the face […]

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Unpaid internships are rife in the fashion industry and many consider these to be an essential rite of passage to a permanent position. However, this practice may become unlawful under prospective government proposals.  Will this affect your business and, if so, what can you do to manage the impact? Why are unpaid internships a problem? […]

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November 10th, 2016

Brexit Fashion

Following on from Fashionista’s recent post about the potential loss of Community unregistered design rights post Brexit, Fashionista is now taking a look at the wider, economic implications for the UK fashion industry in a post Brexit Britain. The implications of Brexit add to the already difficult landscape for retailers in the UK and, with […]

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November 8th, 2016

Rage Against the Moschino

Moschino has recently been criticised for its Spring/Summer 2017 collection after the ‘capsule-themed’ line, designed by the enigmatic Jeremy Scott, was condemned for being in poor taste. The range, which includes bags shaped as over-sized medication bottles and t-shirts emblazoned with the slogan “Just Say MoschiNo”, has been lambasted by members of the medical profession, […]

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