Four future fabrics transforming textiles for the better of the planet
This article was written by Okezue Bell, a Nigerian-American student and STEM inventor. Bell hosts STEM and education workshops with the UN and local organisations and mentors young people globally. He has worked with brands on scaling climate consumption to Gen Z and was recently appointed as a 2023 Climate Global Goals ambassador for the United Nations Association.

In today’s day and age, beauty is no longer pain. Convenience and comfort are everything, especially in fashion; clothing is optimised to fit the latest trends and be readily accessible. When first impressions are often initially based on appearance–especially when it comes to youth–shoes, shirts, pants, and skirts become that much more critical. We shop in a world where everything is fast-paced and disposable–but at what cost? Well, all we have to do is take a look at the numbers: with Gen Z’s $360 billion purchasing power, we make up nearly 40% of all textile consumers, which contributes to almost 1.48 billion metric tons of global CO2 emissions yearly [1]. Coupled with the mounting concerns for the human rights of garment workers, particularly those in Eastern and Southern Asia, it becomes clear that fashion is anything but convenient, sustainable, or ethical, especially when it comes to the planet and those working in the industry on-ground. However, with Gen Z becoming increasingly alarmed by the climate crisis and looking for more sustainable clothing items, technology has emerged as a saving grace. Let’s take a look at four new fabrics that are transforming textiles for the better of the planet and its people.



Photo by Timothy Dykes on Unsplash


Mushroom-y Fabrics 

At the heart of the fungi kingdom lies a hidden hero: mycelium, the root-like structure of mushrooms that spreads its spidery threads beneath the earth’s surface. This complex network is more than just a fungal footprint; it’s a bustling hub of biological activity, breaking down organic matter and turning it into nutrient-rich soil. But here’s the game-changer: scientists and fashion gurus are now harnessing this natural decomposer, turning it into a sustainable source for textiles.

The process, while intricate, is surprisingly straightforward. Mycelium is grown on a diet of organic waste, taking shape in vast cultivation trays. For weeks, it expands, weaving a dense network of fibres that can be harvested, treated, and finally, transformed into a material remarkably similar to leather. The result? A versatile, durable, and most importantly, sustainable fabric that could revolutionise the fashion industry.

And the numbers are equally promising. A 2018 study found that mycelium-based materials have a CO2 equivalent footprint up to 40 times lower than cattle leather and nearly half that of synthetic leather [2]. With the fashion industry responsible for 10% of annual global carbon emissions [3], the potential impact of mycelium-based textiles could be significant.

Indeed, the promise of mycelium has not gone unnoticed by the fashion industry. Pioneering companies like MycoWorks and Bolt Threads are redefining the boundaries of sustainable fashion with their mycelium-based textiles.

California-based MycoWorks, for example, uses a patented process to grow mycelium into a material they call Fine Mycelium™. This material can be customised to different thicknesses, textures, and levels of durability, which can be adapted to various fashion needs. The company’s groundbreaking technology caught the eye of the luxury sector when they collaborated with a luxury brand to create the world’s first bag made entirely from mycelium-based leather [4].

On the other hand, Bolt Threads, another pioneer in the field, has developed Mylo™, a mycelium-based material that closely mimics the properties of animal leather. They’ve already made significant strides, partnering with major brands to create prototype products, marking an important step towards mainstreaming this sustainable material [5].



Colourful Bacteria 

In the realm of sustainable fashion, it’s not just about the fabric – the dyes matter too. Traditional dyeing processes often involve toxic chemicals and vast amounts of water, making them a significant environmental concern. Enter Streptomyces coelicolor, a soil-dwelling bacterium with the potential to revolutionise the textile dyeing process. This remarkable microbe produces a rainbow of pigments as part of its normal life cycle, from vibrant blues and reds to subtle yellows [6].

Scientists have found a way to harness these natural pigments, fostering the bacteria in a nutrient-rich medium. As the bacteria multiply, they secrete pigments that can be collected and used to dye textiles, completely bypassing the need for harmful synthetic dyes. This innovative process promises a significant reduction in the environmental footprint of textile dyeing.

One company leading the charge in microbial dye technology is Colorifix. Using a similar process to that of Streptomyces coelicolor, they’ve genetically modified microbes to convert sugar into pigments, which are then fixed onto fabrics without the need for heavy metals or complex chemical mordants. This process requires up to 10 times less water than traditional dyeing methods and produces minimal wastewater [7].

Meanwhile, design agency Faber Futures is using Streptomyces coelicolor to not just dye fabrics but to create them. Their project, “Colour Coded,” explores the potential of using bacterial pigments to pattern textiles, weaving sustainability and design into a single, seamless process [8].

This innovative use of bacterial pigments is making the fashion industry not just more colourful, but significantly greener. With these developments, we step into a future where the vibrancy of our clothes is matched only by the sustainability of their production.



Photo by Victoria Priessnitz on Unsplash


Sugar Sweet Rubber 

When we think of sugar cane, sweet treats probably come to mind before sustainable fashion. Yet this humble plant is making big waves in the industry, specifically in the form of sugar cane rubber. This bio-based alternative to conventional rubber is derived from the juice of the sugar cane plant, which is fermented and distilled to produce ethanol. This ethanol is then converted into ethylene, a key ingredient in the production of rubber [9].

The benefits of sugar cane rubber are multi-faceted. From an environmental perspective, sugar cane is a renewable resource that absorbs CO2 as it grows, which can help offset the carbon emissions from rubber production. Additionally, the process of making sugar cane rubber requires less energy compared to traditional methods, resulting in lower greenhouse gas emissions [10].

From a worker’s rights perspective, sugar cane cultivation can be a more sustainable option. Many countries that produce sugar cane have established labour laws and regulations to protect workers, in contrast to the often hazardous conditions faced by workers in the traditional rubber industry.

The move towards sugar cane rubber is an exciting step towards more sustainable fashion. It’s a testament to how creativity and innovation can transform something as simple as a sugar cane stalk into a tool for environmental change.



Photo by Karl Wiggers on Unsplash


(Un)Conventional Crops 

When it comes to sustainable fashion, there’s a lot to be said for going back to basics, and organic cotton is a prime example. This natural fibre is grown without harmful chemicals, using methods and materials that have a low environmental impact. It’s a shift away from conventional cotton farming, which heavily relies on water and toxic chemicals, contributing to water contamination and soil degradation [11].

Organic cotton farming takes a more holistic approach, focusing on replenishing and maintaining soil fertility while using less water, largely due to healthier soil having better water retention. This method also promotes biodiversity and builds biologically diverse agriculture, a stark contrast to the monoculture of conventional cotton farming [12].

The benefits of organic cotton extend to the people involved in its production as well. Farming without harmful chemicals means healthier soils, water, and workers. Moreover, many organic cotton farmers are part of cooperatives, where profits are shared, and farming practices are collectively decided, often leading to fairer wages and safer working conditions [13].

Organic cotton is a testament to the value of revisiting traditional farming methods in the pursuit of sustainability. It’s a reminder that sometimes, the most effective solutions are not about reinventing the wheel but respecting and working with the natural systems already in place.


Shaping the Future

Whew! We haven’t even covered everything here, like textiles made from oranges (yes, the fruit!) and soy-based fabrics. However, as we close our exploration of these five transformative fabrics, it’s clear that fashion’s future is evolving. It’s a future where the beauty of our clothing doesn’t come at the cost of our planet. It’s a future where fashion’s convenience and comfort extend beyond the wearer to include the hands that craft our clothes and the earth that yields the materials. In this new age, fast-paced and disposable are giving way to slow, mindful, and sustainable.


As consumers, particularly the youth with our substantial purchasing power, we hold the key to shaping this future. Our choices can fuel the demand for these innovative and sustainable materials, and also shine a light on those who have the moral burden of making up for the damage that’s been done: the brands themselves, who need to listen to their customers and change their business models. Consider opportunities like Fashion Revolution’s #WhatsInMyClothes campaign, which empowers citizens to ask brands what their clothes are made of and how they impact the environment. 


The intersection of technology and sustainability has indeed proven to be fashion’s saving grace. Let’s continue to support, advocate, and if able, invest in these fabrics of the future, transforming not just our wardrobes, but our world, one thread at a time.


Take Action

Download a poster to ask #WhatsInMyClothes on social media



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  1. Gen Z Has $360 Billion to Spend, Trick Is Getting Them to Buy
  2. Life Cycle Assessment of Mycelium-Based Leather
  3. UN Environment – Fashion Industry’s Carbon Impact
  4. Hermès Launches Bag Made of Lab-grown Mycelium Leather
  5. Adidas Partners with Bolt Threads
  6. Pigmented Antibiotics Produced by Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2)
  7. Colorifix Official Website
  8. Faber Futures – Colour Coded
  9. Sugar Cane Rubber – An Overview
  10. The Environmental Impact of Sugar Cane Rubber
  11. The Impact of Cotton on Fresh Water Resources and Ecosystems – WWF
  12. Why Organic Cotton – Textile Exchange
  13. Fair Trade Certified – Organic Cotton


Header image by Bryony Elena on Unsplash

Deforestation, illegal mining and lack of transparency: What is happening in the Amazon?

This article was written by Fashion Revolution Brasil. You can read the Portuguese version here.


Deforestation of more than 10,000 km² and humanitarian crisis in the Amazon

In 2022, more than 10,000 km² were deforested in the Amazon region: the equivalent of cutting down nearly 3,000 soccer fields per day of forest. This destruction threatens the region’s biodiversity, rainfall, health and food security for millions of people and further intensifies the effects of the global climate crisis.

Even in the midst of this worrying scenario, none of the 60 brands analysed in the Fashion Transparency Index Brazil 2022 disclose commitments to zero deforestation and only 8% of the brands disclose public lists of their raw material suppliers. Companies have the responsibility to look over their supply chains, identify potential risks and impacts to human rights and the environment, and address them. The lack of visibility on these topics opens up gaps for environmental and social damage to occur. 

Based on the idea that development is intrinsically linked to economic growth, increased production capacity and profit, the natural, social and cultural wealth of the Amazon region remains under threat. Indigenous peoples, who act as protectors of forests and shields against deforestation, are having their rights dismantled and their population seriously impacted by the advance of livestock, agriculture and mining.

Next, we bring more information on what is happening in the Amazon and how this devastating scenario relates to fashion.



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#WhatsInMyJewelry and the Yanomami tragedy

Data from Map Biomas shows that, between 1985 and 2020, the mined area in Brazil grew six times. This expansion of mining coincides with its advance on indigenous territories and conservation units. From 2010 to 2020, the area occupied by mining inside indigenous lands grew by 495%.

The impacts of deforestation, the destruction of water streams and the illegal extraction of gold is evident in the Yanomami territory. The Yanomami are an indigenous group that lives in the north of the Amazon region and have become the target of a serious humanitarian crisis. In addition to various environmental impacts, the Yanomami face hunger, malnutrition, an increase in cases of malaria and other infectious diseases, mercury contamination and a growth in violence against indigenous people surrounded by illegal mining.

Traceability and transparency in the gold and precious metals supply chain is precarious. The ore extracted clandestinely from Brazilian indigenous lands can end up in jewelry or electronic filaments used around the world. After having its real origin covered up, the metal is mixed with legalized gold in refineries, enters the international market and can be acquired by large global companies without them being able to trace its real origin.

The opaque traceability only reinforces the importance of companies carrying out robust due diligence processes for human and environmental rights in their supply chains. Transparency is needed across the entire fashion value chain. Questioning the origin of what we wear goes beyond just our clothes and should also include our accessories. We should ask the brands #WhatsInMyJewelry


New infrastructure project could worsen local situation

Another example of how the relentless pursuit of profit and increased production efficiency can negatively impact the environment and local communities is a project that is expected to be voted on by the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court at the end of May: the Ferrogrão. The approval of the project could further accentuate the critical situation of devastation in the Amazon.

Ferrogrão is a project for the construction of a railroad of almost a thousand km to transport grain from Mato Grosso to Pará. One of the objectives of the infrastructure project is to increase economic efficiency in the distribution and storage of grains, given the expansion of the Brazilian agricultural frontier.

The project is sold as a green tunnel, but privileges the interests of the agribusiness market to the detriment of the preservation of the environment and the guarantee of ethnic and territorial rights.​ If it is constructed as planned, Ferrogrão will cross the Jamanxim National Park, a Conservation Unit of Full Protection. The railroad could also intensify land conflicts and potentiate socio-environmental impacts already suffered in the region. At least three ethnic groups would be impacted by the construction of the railroad (Munduruku, Kayapó, Panará) and there is a risk of deforestation of more than 230 thousand hectares.

These and other impacts with the potential to accelerate the expansion of the agricultural frontier and the intensification of the production of commodities based on monoculture and land concentration have already been denounced by indigenous peoples.



Transparency, consciousness and dialogue

 Amidst this worrying scenario of devastation, in which biodiversity and local communities remain threatened, we need fashion brands to take a stand and be transparent about the origin and traceability of their products.

We need transparency about where what we consume comes from. We need to rethink the logic of profit. We need a development model that considers the nature and culture of people as a value and an element capable of generating socioeconomic well-being in the long term. We need to include affected peoples in the dialogue for improvements, consulting with them before projects can be approved. We need government oversight and public policies that favor Nature and people.

We invite you to ask the brands #WhatsInMyJewelry, #WhatsInMyJewelry and accessories, demanding transparency about the production processes. You can also make donations to help the Yanomami people and sign this petition against the construction of Ferrogrão.


Further reading

How transparent are the world’s 250 largest fashion brands?

Os materiais e a biodiversidade: nossas roupas vêm da natureza e nossa missão deveria ser a conservação dos ecossistemas

The 2022 Global Fashion Transparency Index

The 2022 Brasil Fashion Transparency Index



Header image: Photo by gryffyn m on Unsplash

Healing Mother Earth, Healing Ourselves

This is a guest post by Denica Riadini-Flesch, the founder and CEO of SukkhaCitta, an award-winning social enterprise that changes lives in rural Indonesia: Working directly with craftswomen and smallholder farmers, through natural dyes and regenerative farming, she is changing the way clothes are grown, made, and worn – empowering the makers while respecting planetary boundaries, and providing direct access to education and living wages to the most marginalised women in villages, not factories.


We’ve lost touch. With where things come from. With the journey our clothes take before we wear them. And the true cost our choices have on the planet.

As a development economist, my work took me through rural Indonesia. There, for the first time I saw how our clothes are made: by women working from home. Mothers who are continuing the heritage traditions of their ancestors. Hands who are slowly disappearing as it is estimated that 98% of women who make our clothes don’t earn a living wage. 

 But perhaps what was shocking to me was how dirty the industry is. Every day, tons of toxic chemicals are used to dye our clothes. Entering our water sources without any treatment, into the same rivers the communities use to irrigate our food and sustain life. A reality that is hidden to us, even as it creates 20% of the world’s water pollution.

This was the moment I realised I needed to build a bridge. Between you and the women who make your clothes. Providing access to education and fair work, so they can lift themselves out of poverty while protecting our environment through plant dyes.


A woman working cotton with a spinning wheel. Our clothes are made by women working from home. Mothers who are continuing the heritage traditions of their ancestors. Hands who are slowly disappearing as it is estimated that 98% of women who make our clothes don’t earn a living wage. Regenerative farming.


What if our clothes can heal the planet?

 Two years ago, our world changed. In the midst of all the crisis, one thing became painstakingly clear: Sustainability is no longer enough. There was no point in sustaining a broken system. Now more than ever, we need to find ways to go beyond protecting, investing in regeneration to heal our relationship with nature.

That was when we learnt that 99% of cotton in Indonesia is imported. Which is an irony considering our history as a cotton producer. And it’s grown in ways that work against Nature. In massive, chemical-laden monocultures that deplete our soil and cause climate change. Not to mention the rampant stories of exploitation woven into our clothes.

But when we met some of Indonesia’s last cotton farmers, we learned that there is a better way. Together, we rediscovered principles like Tumpang Sari: Our ancestral agricultural regenerative farming wisdom. Using herbal pesticides made of cloth and salt and natural fertilizer. A reciprocal relationship designed to give back to the soil.


Tumpang Sari: Working With Nature

Nature is full of cycles. Regenerative farming is an indigenous system of agriculture that restores the soil’s health and resilience. Building a reciprocity that allows the ecosystem to draw down more carbon from the atmosphere to reduce global warming.

It is a way of growing things that is all about soil health. Because healthy soil is not only key to happy smallholder farmers. It’s essential to life as we know it (think: food on the table). This process restores the balance between soil and the atmosphere. What’s wrong with that balance, you may wonder? One word: Carbon.

Because of the way we humans do things right now, carbon levels in the soil have depleted and increased dramatically in the atmosphere – creating all kinds of problems. The soil actually needs more of it (because carbon helps soil store water and actually grow the food we eat), while the atmosphere has roughly 109 billion tons too much, causing global warming, rising sea levels, extreme weather events, flooding and more.

Through regenerative agriculture we take that excess carbon out of the atmosphere and put it back into the soil – regenerating it and allowing it to sustain life again! It’s a process called carbon sequestration, is 100% natural and has been nature’s way for managing carbon for eons.


Farm-to-Closet: Investing in Regeneration

Brown cotton. Meet Gossypium, an indigenous cotton that thrives in Indonesia's climate. Watered by rainfall without irrigation, it’s one of the natural fibres with the lowest carbon footprint. Regenerative farming.
Meet Gossypium, an indigenous cotton that thrives in Indonesia’s climate. Watered by rainfall without irrigation, it’s one of the natural fibres with the lowest carbon footprint.


Since 2020, we’ve been working to help women farmers transition from conventional farming to Tumpang Sari. When we started, the land was dry and chemically-damaged. But now, a new hope is growing throughout the whole community.

Our cotton is grown together with 23 different plants to create a diverse agroforest ecosystem. From Marigold flowers as pollinator crop, cassava and corn as cover crops, to cloves and chillies as trap crops to protect the cotton from pests.

To nourish the soil, our Ibus create an organic compost from organic waste from the farm. While treating infected crops using her grandmother’s potent recipe of clove, salt and water. A holistic system where each plant, insect, and microorganism have their unique role in this journey of regeneration.


Women farmer's stand amongst a crop of corn grown alongside cotton. Planting a variety of different plants that support each other and avoiding tilling we restore the soil's ability to absorb carbon and hold 25% more water. Regenerative farming.
By planting a variety of different plants that support each other and avoiding tilling we restore the soil’s ability to absorb carbon and hold up to 25% more water. Out pesticides: A mix of cloth, salt and water. Our Fertilizer? Cows and their…, well, you know



 Ibu Kasmini’s story: Smallholder farmers against climate change 



“Kene ngerawat Bumi, podo karo ngerawat awe’e dewe”

When we take care of Mother Earth, we take care of ourselves.

– Ibu Kasmini


For smallholder farmers like Ibu Kasmini, returning to the way of her ancestors has been a blessing. She no longer has to buy expensive chemicals – and her cotton yield has increased six times. Sustaining indigenous wisdom while creating long lasting benefits for our planet.


Why this matters

Traceability is where change starts. The long journey it took us to change how your clothes are grown showed us how knowing exactly where something came from – and especially in what conditions – is the first step towards creating real change.

It’s shown us the potential that fashion can have. That when done right, it can be a solution to some of the world’s most pressing issues. That together, we can weave economic empowerment to those who need it most while respecting our planetary boundaries.

And it all starts with a choice. What will yours be today?



Further Reading:

What is regenerative farming?

Challenges facing the farmers who grow our cotton

Lessons from the Cotton Diaries


A skinny jeans-nek végleg leáldozott, avagy az aktuális farmertrend és ami mögötte van

Mary Pierson, a Madewell brand farmertervezésért felelős alelnöke szerint a skinny jeans csillaga leáldozóban van, és egyre népszerűbbek a bő-, vagy egyenes szárú fazonok, valamint a nehezebb, kevésbé rugalmas és nem nyúló farmerek. Bár a fogyasztók fizikai és érzelmi megnyugvást éreztek abban, hogy kényelmes ruhákba bújtak a világjárvány korai hónapjaiban, a COVID-19 nem az egyetlen tényező a bővebb, lazább darabok felé való elmozdulásban. „A skinny trend olyan sokáig volt domináns, hogy a váltás már elkerülhetetlen” – mondta Pierson.

Bő, bővebb, legbővebb

A bővebb fazonok trendjének első jelei évekkel korábban jelentek meg a kifutón, amikor az olyan streetwear orientált tervezők, mint például Virgil Abloh és Heron Preston megvették a lábukat a luxuspiacon, drága designer címkével felvértezve a műfaj jellegzetes esztétikáját.

Ha hozzáadjuk a nemek nélküli design általános érvényesítésére való igényt (amely nagymértékben támaszkodik a „dobozszerű”, munkaruha-ihlette sziluettekre), és a milleniálok ’90-es évek iránti nosztalgiáját, valamint a „csúnya” cipők térnyerését – a szélesebb, lazább, bővebb stílusok divatjának megérkezése és hatalomra kerülése nem is annyira meglepő.

A cselekmény csavarja azonban a gyorsaságban és a mindent uraló egyediségmániában rejlik: míg korábban az emberek csak jóval lassabban vettek át és szoktak meg trendeket, ma már a közösségi médiának, és a járványt követő „végre ki lehet öltözni”-felszabadulásnak köszönhetően minden felgyorsult és egyedileg determinált lett. Az így létrejövő trendciklus szerint ma már BÁRMIT viselhetünk, amit jónak látunk.

„Ebben a pillanatban nem merítünk ihletet senkitől, csak magunktól” – mondta Zihaad Wells, a True Religion kreatív igazgatója. A Ricky egyenes farmer továbbra is a True Religion első számú darabja, mert nemcsak a márka eredeti stílusára, hanem a divat aktuális alakulására is rímel. „Nyilvánvaló, hogy a farmer 2022-es új trendciklusában a múlt üdvözlése történik” – mondta Wells, hozzátéve, hogy a True Religion olyan archív stílusokkal elégíti ki a nosztalgia iránti igényt, mint a rövid szabású nadrágok a női fazonoknál vagy a férfiaknál a bő sziluettek.

A Favorite Daughter design igazgatója, Carla Calvelo egyfajta előrejelzésként kifejtette, hogy a ’90-es és 2000-es évek nagy hatást gyakoroltak erre az évre: a laza, túlméretezett, bootcut és egyenes szárú stílusok mindent visznek idén. A márka folytatja a magas derekú és hosszúkás sziluettek gyártását. Hozzátette, a testreszabott illeszkedések irányába való elmozdulás továbbra is izgatja a fantáziáját.

Ugyanez a korszak szűrődik át a 2022-es Joe’s Jeans kollekciókon is – és ez komfortzóna Alice Jackman, a márka design igazgatója számára. „Több mint 20 éve dolgozom a farmeriparban, így a ’90-es évek végén és a 2000-es évek elején tapasztalt tervezési folyamatok nagy része az első pillanattól kezdve ismerős számomra” – mondta. A Joe következő kollekciói lazább és szélesebb illeszkedést kínálnak a trendciklusnak megfelelően. A márka egy új „Heirloom” nevű szövettel is dolgozik, amely Jackman szerint kiemelkedő farmer twill vonallal rendelkezik, rendkívül puha érzettel és rugalmassággal.

„Remek erőforrásaim vannak itt Los Angelesben a vintage kapcsán, ezért mindig fedezek fel csodás koptatott darabokat, amelyekből lehet inspirálódni a modern farmerek gyártásakor” – tette hozzá.

Eközben Steffan Attardo, a márka férfi design igazgatója szerint a régi iskola divatja vezérli a Hudson Jeans új irányát. A festék fröccsenése, a roncsolás és a bevonatos szövetek a brand közelgő kollekcióinak részei lesznek, de az igazi hangsúly a bő illeszkedések kialakításán van.

„A szélesebb szárú szabás az új mainstream” – hangsúlyozta Attardo.

Közösségi háló

A múlt ihletet ad, de a Z generáció az, amely másolja és relevánssá teszi az Instagramon és a TikTokon lévő közösségi megafonjain keresztül az „új-régi” trendeket.

Noha a közösségi média már a 2000-es években is közvetítette a divatot a Tumblr-rel az élen, a jelenlegi platformok nagyobb jelentőséget kaptak a fogyasztók és a márkák számára – ezek által nemcsak közvetítik, hanem megteremtik, majd remixelik is a trendeket.

„A közösségi média valóban a folyamatosan megjelenő új trendek katalizátora lett” – mondta Sarah Ahmed, a DL1961 társalapítója és kreatív igazgatója. „Olyan gyorsan és egyszerűen oszthatók meg az új információk és innovációk, hogy nem csoda, hogy a farmertrendek ilyen ütemben változnak.”

A farmertrendek gyors átalakulása a DL1961 javára szól. Februárban a New York-i székhelyű márka bemutatta első farmercsaládját, amely hulladék pamutszálakból készült. Stílusuk középpontjában a széles szár, a bootcut, a kiszélesedő és az egyenes szabás áll. „Mivel a gyártás nálunk egy fedél alatt, a családi tulajdonban lévő pakisztáni gyárunkban zajlik, könnyen módosíthatunk, és szükség esetén gyorsan alkalmazkodhatunk az új stílusokhoz és trendekhez” – mondta Ahmed. Kiemelte még, hogy minden az információ terjedésének sebességéről és a farmergyártás technológiai fejlődéséről szól, amely lehetővé teszi számukra, hogy lépést tartsanak a változásokkal.

A buborék kipukkanása

Minden győzelmi sorozatnak vége szakad, és a tervezők arra számítanak, hogy a farmerbuborék hamarosan kipukkanhat, mint ahogyan azt már az iparágban megjelent, majd gyorsan eltűnt trendek esetében nem egyszer tapasztalhattuk.

Pierson hozzátette, korábban elvárás volt, hogy egy farmerszabás vagy -trend legalább öt évig, esetleg tovább tartson, de ma már ez nincs így, hiszen a vásárlók és az egyéb ruhaneműk trendjei is gyorsan átalakulnak. Noha nem biztos, hogy a fogyasztók gyorsan elfelejtik az aktuális farmerirányzatot – Pierson szerint a következő egy-két évben az egyenes, széles és kiszélesedő szárú farmerek lesznek a középpontban.

Így vagy úgy, de tény, hogy a farmer sosem megy ki a divatból. Ugyanakkor, mint tudjuk, a farmer negatív hatással van a környezetre, mivel szennyezi a vizeket a gyártásához használt festékek miatt, ezenkívül az anyag előállításához használt gyapottermés sok vizet, valamint vegyi növényvédő szert igényel.

Tekintettel arra, hogy a szűz farmer az egyik legkevésbé fenntartható szövet a piacon, az újrahasznosított farmer lehet a környezetbarát alternatíva. A posztindusztriális farmerszövet használata kiküszöbölheti a környezetszennyező előállítási folyamatokat.

A cikk eredeti verziója a Rivet 2022-es tavaszi számában jelent meg.

Fordítás, szerkesztés: Zahorján Ivett

Grow your own clothes: Developing natural dyes for our textile garden

This is a guest post from Kate Turnbull, natural dyer and Head of Fashion and Textiles Design at Headington, Oxford, who developed the natural dyes for the Textile Garden for Fashion Revolution.

Textiles, dyeing and printing are in my blood. My great grandfather John Tomkinson was the co-founder of The Premiere Dye Works in Leek, Staffordshire. He trained with the world-famous Sir Thomas Wardle, known for his innovations in silk dyeing and printing on silk and his collaboration with William Morris, who visited the Premiere to learn how to use natural dyes. During WW2, The Premiere were responsible for dyeing the uniforms for the British army and eventually sold to Dupont in 1970s.

Growing up, I was always fascinated with this story, a fascination that grew when I found a copy of one of John Tomkinson’s prized dye books as an art student at which point I resolved to follow in his footsteps. I went on to train at Central St Martins where I first learnt about sustainable textiles and based my entire thesis on the damaging effects of textiles on the fashion industry and championing traditional silk screen printing methods for slow fashion.  Sadly, John Tomkinson died aged 52 from lung cancer, most probably related to the chemicals used in the factory. (I turn 52 in July!) My mission is to pick up where he left off, but using natural dyestuffs and in my own small way both as a practitioner and an educator, to make a difference to the impact that textiles have on our planet.


Natural dyes for the textile garden.
Dye book and natural-dyed hats.


Sustainable textile education

As an educator, my aim is to give the students the best grounding possible in sustainability and design. For many years there has been a growing realisation that the chemicals used in the classroom were both unnecessary and harmful, and as the awareness of the toxicity of the textile industry has grown, we felt it was time to shake things up in the Headington curriculum. It began with simple changes, such as embargoing aerosols, acrylic paints and synthetic materials and then through lockdown we were able to focus on how to re-engineer the course and maximise the potential for a comprehensive Eco-Textiles education. We began extracting and dyeing with colour from plants and making inks from berries and foraged botanicals. We now make all of our own colours to dye with, our own ink, glue and print pastes and we up-cycle old sheets to dye and construct garments with.

Recently – I am absolutely thrilled to report – all our hard work has been recognised, as I have been shortlisted in the TES School Awards as Subject Lead of The Year, which of course is recognition for the whole department as well as the students, who have embraced the course so wholeheartedly. Our brand new Eco Textiles cohort is thoroughly invested in both sustainable and ethical textiles, so much so that my dream of inspiring other schools to include this in their A-Level curriculum is beginning to feel tangible. Using this exciting spotlight on Headington, I hope I can reach out to other teachers interested in educating our young minds about the damaging effects of the Fashion and Textiles industry. Plus, one of the benefits of running the course like this, is that it costs so little in relative terms, making it accessible for everyone. We even have a gardening club where students from year 7 onwards sow and grow our very own dye plants.

The most exciting project of all is the opportunity the students have had to work with garden designer Lottie Delamain and Fashion Revolution, who have created A Textile Garden for Fashion Revolution, Chelsea Flower Show’s first-ever dye garden showcasing plant fibres that can be used to make clothing.


Natural dyes for the textile garden.
Kate Turnbull and Lottie Delamain.

Why we need natural dyes

The production of polyester is an energy-intensive process producing high levels of greenhouse gas emissions, while wastewater emitted from polyester processes contain volatile substances that can pose a threat to human health. Despite this, Fashion Revolution’s Fashion Transparency Index 2021 found that only a quarter of major brands publish time-bound, measurable targets on reducing the use of textiles deriving from virgin fossil fuels. In my opinion, that is really not good enough and I hope that the symbolism and message of Lottie’s garden cuts through to the stakeholders and change-makers in the industry.

Lottie’s philosophy for the garden matches mine – it is about seeing the potential in the resources we have on our doorstep and exploring how we can utilise them in more creative ways as alternatives to synthetic, petroleum-based fabrics and chemical dyes. Many of the plants are native wildflowers, easily propagated and grown in the UK and undemanding in terms of water.



Natural dyes for the textile garden.
Natural dyes and bottles.


Bringing the garden to life

For the garden, my students and I have foraged and dyed linen panels, to be suspended above the dye plants in the garden. We have used different parts of the plant to demonstrate how versatile botanicals can be in terms of extracting colour. For the yellow panels, daffodil and dandelion heads were used. For the rust colour, rhubarb roots, for the pink cherry bark and madder roots (grown for three years in my garden for optimal pink) and for the green we gently simmered nettle leaves with a copper modifier. For the backdrop, we made a large 8m x 4m panel, hand-stitched together with reclaimed vintage Irish linen sheets. Lottie & I were keen to keep this in a simple grid-like formation, to reflect the Annie Albers influence of the garden. These were specifically un-dyed, to allow the panels to really sing out and to mirror the flax growing in her garden, which of course is spun and woven to make linen; a circular process.

Once the backdrop had been completed, I realised I had just enough linen left to make some garments, so I decided to hand dye it into three colours, one each for Lottie, Carry and me. I wanted the colour to be personal to each of us and, while I was pondering this, we received an exciting invitation to take part in the fantastic Wardrobe Crisis podcast, hosted by Clare Press. In the episode, our first question was to tell a ‘plant love story’. Lottie described how she had fallen in love with Cutch trees when she lived in Vietnam and Carry’s plant of choice was Weld, which she loves for connections to her Irish ancestry, for which she is writing a book about. I talked about ‘Sakura’ Cherry Blossom and the Hanami Festival I visited in Japan, inspired by the Threads of Gold Exhibition at The Ashmolean several years ago. I had my answer! Lottie’s linen was dyed in Cutch, Carry’s in Weld and mine in Cherry Blossom bark. I am lucky enough to be friends with slow Fashion designer Anna Mason. I contacted her to see if she would make up the fabrics into garments for us from her collection. She agreed! I can’t wait to surprise Lottie and Carry with the clothes they can wear to the Chelsea Flower Show, to demonstrate everything can be locally sourced, grown dyed and made for sustainable and ethical fashion.

After Chelsea Flower Show, the garden will be relocated to Headington, where it will become a permanent feature in the school and also have a working dye garden where students can forage for dye material for the Eco Textiles course as well as learn about gardening.


Natural dyes for the textile garden.
Natural dye swatches.

Further Reading

A Textile Garden for Fashion Revolution

Behind the scenes: Creating our textile garden at Chelsea Flower Show

The true cost of colour: The impact of textile dyes on water systems

Nature in Freefall: How Fashion Contributes to Biodiversity Loss


Plastic-free fashion is not as clean or green as it seems

This article was originally published on The Conversation by Dr Tom Stanton, researcher for the Restorying Riverscapes project


We have all become more aware of the environmental impact of our clothing choices. The fashion industry has seen a rise in “green”, “eco” and “sustainable” clothing. This includes an increase in the use of natural fibres, such as wool, hemp, and cotton, as synthetic fabrics, like polyester, acrylic and nylon, have been vilified by some.

However, the push to go “natural” obscures a more complex picture.

Natural fibres in fashion garments are products of multiple transformation processes, most of which are reliant on intensive manufacturing as well as advanced chemical manipulation.

While they are presumed to biodegrade, the extent to which they do has been contested by a handful of studies. Natural fibres can be preserved over centuries and even millennia in certain environments. Where fibres are found to degrade they may release chemicals, for example from dyes, into the environment.

When they have been found in environmental samples, natural textile fibres are often present in comparable concentrations than their plastic alternatives. Yet, very little is known of their environmental impact.

Therefore, until they do biodegrade, natural fibres will present the same physical threat as plastic fibres. And, unlike plastic fibres, the interactions between natural fibres and common chemical pollutants and pathogens are not fully understood.


plastic-free fashion
Natural and plastic fibres have similar structures. From left to right these fibres are wool, cotton, and polyester. Author provided.



Fashion’s environmental footprint

It is within this scientific context that fashion’s marketing of alternative fibre use is problematic. However well-intentioned, moves to find alternatives to plastic fibres pose real risks of exacerbating the unknown environmental impacts of non-plastic particles.

To assert that all these problems can be resolved by buying “natural” simplifies the environmental crisis we face. To promote different fibre use without fully understanding its environmental ramifications suggests a disingenuous engagement with environmental action. It incites “superficial green” purchasing that exploits a culture of plastic anxiety. Their message is clear: buy differently, buy “better”, but don’t stop buying.

Yet the “better” and “alternative” fashion products are not without complex social and environmental injustices. Cotton, for example, is widely grown in countries with little legislation protecting the environment and human health.


plastic-free fashion
Intensive irrigation of cotton plantations in the deserts of the western Soviet Union prevented water reaching the Aral Sea, leading to the drastically low levels we see today. Milosz Maslanka/Shutterstock


The drying up of the Aral Sea in central Asia, formally the fourth largest lake in the world, is associated with the irrigation of cotton fields that dry up the rivers that feed it. This has decimated biodiversity and devastated the region’s fishing industry. The processing of natural fibres into garments is also a major source of chemical pollution, where factory wastewaters are discharged into freshwater systems, often with little or no treatment.

Organic cotton and Woolmark wool are perhaps the most well known natural fabrics being used. Their certified fibres represent a welcomed material change, introducing to the marketplace new fibres that have codified, improved production standards. However, they still contribute fibrous particles into the environment over their lifetime.

More generally, fashion’s systemic low pay, deadly working conditions, and extreme environmental degradation demonstrate that too often our affordable fashion purchases come at a higher price to somebody and somewhere.


Slow down fast fashion

It is clear then that a radical change to our purchasing habits is required to address fashion’s environmental crisis. A crisis that is not defined by plastic pollution alone.

We must reassess and change our attitudes towards our clothing and reform the whole lifecycle of our garments. This means making differently, buying less and buying second hand. It also means owning for longer, repurposing, remaking and mending.

Fashion’s role in the plastic pollution problem has contributed to emotive headlines, in which purchasing plastic-fibred clothing has become highly moralised. In buying plastic-fibred garments, consumers are framed complicit in poisoning the oceans and food supply. These limited discourses shift accountability onto the consumer to “buy natural”. However, they do little to equally challenge the environmental and social ills of these natural fibres and the retailers’ responsibilities to them.

The increased availability of these “natural” fashion products therefore fails to fundamentally challenge the industry’s most polluting logic – fast, continual consumption and speedy routine discard. This only entrenches a purchasable, commodified form of environmental action – “buying natural”. It stops the more fundamental reassessment of fast fashion’s “business as usual”, that we must slow.


Further Reading

Restorying Riverscapes

Greenwashing & The Fashion Industry’s Impact on the Environment

Challenges facing the farmers who grow our cotton

Our clothes shed microfibres – here’s what we can do…


What Is Regenerative Fashion?

This is a guest blog post by Ismay Mummery, founder of Boy Wonder.

You may have come across the word ‘regenerative’ combined with agriculture, but what is regenerative fashion? Why is it the latest buzzword and which fashion brands are doing it?


How Does Regenerative Agriculture Relate To Fashion?

The fashion and textile industry is heavily reliant on our agricultural systems, from land producing cotton crops to sheep producing wool. Cotton, for example, is the most used fibre in the world and uses 2.5% of the worlds agricultural land while also consuming huge amounts of pesticides and herbicides. This puts enormous stress on water in dry areas, uses up valuable land that could be producing food and is extremely harmful to the environment. 

Regenerative agriculture or agroecology is about working in harmony with nature using Indigenous ecological knowledge. It utilises various techniques such as crop rotation, low to no tilling, cover crops and intercropping and natural compost. These all help to draw down carbon, enhance biodiversity, enrich the soil and improve water systems. It is an ancient, nature-based solution to climate change and helps land that has become degraded to regenerate and flourish.

“Regenerative agriculture represents more than a shift of practices. It is also a shift in paradigm and in our basic relationship to nature.” Charles Eisenstein

This restorative system is being invested in by fashion brands as they work to address their environmental impacts and become climate positive rather than just carbon neutral. Some brands also use regenerative fashion to provide greater traceability with a ‘farm-to-closet’ concept in the same way the food industry has done. The idea being that customers can trace their garments back to the farm that grew the material.


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How do I Know If It’s Regenerative?

Many brands are investing heavily in land for regenerative agriculture to grow their materials, or working with companies such as Fibreshed to access materials that have been regeneratively grown. These include big names like Gucci, North Face, Eileen Fisher, Vans, Patagonia, Timberland, Stella McCartney and Reformation, in addition to small businesses like Laura’s Loom, Bristol Cloth, The Trace Collective, Rawganique, Story MFG and Solai.

“Regenerative practices are at the top of mind for many brands right now as they can offer a pathway towards addressing GHG emissions. Additionally, in some cases these practices go beyond reductions and provide a pathway for carbon sequestration” Claire Bergkamp, COO Textile Exchange

Most brands only have selective stock that has come from regenerative sources, but targets indicate this will increase over time.  One certification to look out for is Regenerative Organic Certified (ROC). Regenerative fashion may also be marked as ‘Climate BeneficialTM which is certified by Fibreshed or it may simply just be labelled as regenerative. However, we know that fashion brands love to greenwash so always check out that their claims are substantiated and ask #WhatsInMyClothes.




Further Reading

Brands are adopting regenerative agriculture. Is that a good thing?

What is regenerative fashion?

Regenerative Fashion: What it is + 9 brands paving the way forward

Regenerative fashion to help the planet

Is regenerative agriculture the new fashion fix?

Growing the Fibreshed movement in the UK

A Textile Garden for Fashion Revolution

We are excited to announce that in May 2022, Fashion Revolution will be showcasing our very own garden at the world-famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Inspired by the fundamental role of plants in fashion – as dyes, fibres, floral motifs and botanical folklore – garden designer Lottie Delamain will create a textile-inspired garden solely featuring plants that can be used to make or dye our clothes.


A selection of natural dye samples


The fashion industry is currently dominated by synthetic fibres and chemical dyes. Polyester manufacturing is an energy-intensive process, requiring large amounts of water and producing high levels of greenhouse gas emissions, while wastewater emitted from its processing contain volatile substances that can pose a threat to human health. Despite this, the Fashion Transparency Index 2021 found that only a quarter of major brands publish time-bound, measurable targets on reducing the use of textiles deriving from virgin fossil fuels. More than 15,000 chemicals can be used during the textile manufacturing process, from the raw materials through to dyeing and finishing, yet only 30% of brands disclose their commitment to eliminating the use of hazardous chemicals from our clothes.

Fashion Revolution co-founder Carry Somers saw the impact our clothing has on the environment first-hand two years ago, when she sailed 2000 miles into the South Pacific Gyre on an all-woman scientific research voyage to investigate microplastic pollution. Although textiles are the largest source of both primary and secondary microplastics, with around 700,000 microfibres being released in every wash cycle, just 21% of brands explain what they are doing to minimise the shedding of microfibres.


Flax seeds germinating; ingredients for making plant dyes


We believe we need a radical shift in our relationship with the clothes we wear, as well as with the natural world, for our own prosperity and wellbeing, as well as for the health of our earth and our oceans. Exhibiting these ideas within a garden provides a unique opportunity to tell the story of #WhatsInMyClothes and explore how textiles can be made in a more natural, sustainable and regenerative way. The garden allows us to reimagine the values at the essence of a new fashion system and explore how we can all start to create new relationships with our clothing.

The garden design itself is intended to imitate a textile, with planting in distinctive blocks of colour to create the impression of a woven fabric. Plants will be supplied by UK nurseries and growers and will be chosen for their use as fibres or textile dyes in commercial or craft use and the garden will feature a textile installation made entirely from plants. Shallow reflective pools represent dye baths, with fabric or fibres soaking in natural dyes, and a series of paved seams will lead through the planting. 

The philosophy behind the garden is about seeing the potential in the resources we have right on our doorstep and exploring how we can utilise them in more creative ways. Many of the plants are native wildflowers, easily propagated and grown in the UK and undemanding in terms of water. This will help to re-establish the connection between plants and textiles, reveal the beauty to be found in plant-based dyes and fibres, and sow a seed of curiosity about what we wear. 

A moodboard inspiring Lottie’s textile-based garden design


The garden will be exhibited at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, taking place from 24-28 May 2022. Afterwards, the garden will be relocated to Headington School in Oxford where Kate Turnbull, Head of Fashion and Textiles Design, has developed a new syllabus which includes the study of plants used for textiles dyes and fibres, along with their propagation and use. The garden will be reimagined in two parts – as a working dye garden for the Textile Design students, and as a Colour Wheel garden, designed to inspire students across the school about the myriad roles plants play in our lives.

Stay tuned on our blog and social media for more behind-the-scenes insights as we build this inspiring new space.

A moodboard inspiring the elements within the textile garden


Header illustration by Ben Holmes, design by Lottie Delamain

El cultivo de algodón transgénico en Argentina y en el mundo

El algodón es la fibra natural más importante que se produce en el mundo. Su desarrollo comenzó en el siglo XIX con el proceso de industrialización y hoy en día representa casi la mitad del consumo mundial de fibras textiles. 

Las principales provincias productoras de algodón de Argentina son: Chaco, Santiago del Estero y Santa Fe. El textil también se cultiva en Formosa, Salta, San Luis, Entre Ríos y Córdoba.

En el año 1998 fue aprobado en nuestro país el uso de semillas de algodón transgénico. Desde ese momento, al igual que había ocurrido dos años antes con la soja y el maíz, el cultivo modificado genéticamente y el  uso de agroquímicos crecieron sin freno. El porcentaje de algodón transgénico cultivado es casi del 100% y se ubica entre los tres principales cultivos sembrados en Argentina junto a la soja y el maíz.

Según el último informe del ICAC (Comité Consultivo Internacional del Algodón) los datos de 2019 muestran que el algodón transgénico representa el 4,71% de todas las ventas mundiales de plaguicidas, 2,91% de las ventas mundiales de herbicidas, 10,24% de las ventas de insecticidas, 1,03% de las ventas de fungicidas y 15,74% de otros plaguicidas, que incluye reguladores de crecimiento. El algodón tiene la cuota de mercado más alta de insecticidas medida por las ventas. Según algunas estimaciones, el algodón es el cuarto mercado más grande de productos químicos agrícolas en el mundo a partir de 2017. 

El informe del ICAC revela que los herbicidas y pesticidas más usados en nuestro país para el cultivo del algodón transgénico son: 

Cipermetrina: Además de sus efectos en el medio ambiente, la cipermetrina está catalogada como una sustancia disruptora hormonal y su toxicidad en humanos deriva en mareos, dolores de cabeza, náuseas, fatiga, irritación de la piel y en los ojos. También es muy tóxico para las abejas.

Clorpirifos: El mayor riesgo en su uso se da después de fumigar los cultivos debido a que el clorpirifos se encontrará en su nivel más elevado. Se recomienda un período de espera de 24 horas antes de entrar a los campos en donde se ha aplicado. Existe además riesgo durante el momento de la preparación. Se deben tomar las medidas necesarias para asegurar que solo una persona autorizada rocíe clorpirifos y para que durante la fumigación, aquellas personas desprotegidas permanezcan fuera del sitio en donde se aplica.

El clorpirifos puede entrar al cuerpo por los pulmones al respirar productos aerosoles o polvo que lo contienen; cuando entra de esta manera, pasa rápidamente a la sangre. También puede entrar al cuerpo por la piel, pero la probabilidad de exposición a niveles perjudiciales de clorpirifos por este medio es menor que por la inhalación o vía oral, debido a que la cantidad que entra por la piel es relativamente pequeña. La exposición cutánea si representa en cambio un mayor riesgo para la salud de los bebés debido a la textura de la piel y a que estos, al gatear o acostarse en áreas que fueron rociadas con esta sustancia, exponen una mayor cantidad de piel al clorpirifos. Los bebés que gatean en áreas recientemente fumigadas pueden también estar expuestos a mayores cantidades de esta sustancia por la inhalación de sus vapores.

Imidacloprid: Es un neonicotinoide, de tipo insecticida neuroactivo diseñado a partir de la nicotina. Los neonicotinoides son un nuevo grupo de insecticidas que actúa a través de los receptores nicotínicos. Los síntomas tras intoxicación con imidacloprid son similares a las intoxicaciones nicotínicas: fatiga, convulsiones, espasmos, debilidad muscular. En estudios hechos con ratas también se han observado letargia, problemas respiratorios, movilidad reducida, marcha insegura y temblores.

Tiametoxam: Es un insecticida sistémico de la familia de los neonicotinoides con actividad por contacto e ingestión. Posee un amplio espectro de actividad como insecticida y un gran efecto residual. Puede ser aplicado tanto por pulverización foliar como vía radical en el agua de riego. Causa irritación de los ojos y la piel. La exposición a altos niveles de vapor puede causar dolor de cabeza, disnea, náuseas, incoordinación u otros efectos del sistema nervioso central. Desde el 2018 la Unión Europea prohíbe el uso del Tiametoxam debido al daño que causa en las abejas. La decisión europea de prohibir el uso del Tiametoxam, y otros dos neonicotinoides, se dio luego de la evaluación de más de 1500 estudios científicos por parte de la EFSA (Autoridad Europea de Seguridad Alimentaria)  concluyendo que en general estos productos son dañinos para las abejas. Las abejas cumplen un rol fundamental en el ambiente y su labor es importante para la producción de diferentes cultivos agrícolas, ya que son las encargadas de la polinización; la disminución de las abejas puede generar un impacto importante en la agricultura campesina, debido a que varias plantas dependen exclusivamente de la polinización para producir semillas.

En el año 2019 el INTA Sáenz Peña (Chaco) anunció que después de una década dedicada a la investigación genética lograron tres nuevas variedades de algodón de ciclo intermedio, excelente calidad de fibra y con valores tecnológicos acordes a la demanda de la industria nacional e internacional. Especialistas en algodón del INTA Sáenz Peña, Chaco– aseguraron que la nueva genética representa “un producto tecnológico especial”, dado que se logró combinar en tres variedades los eventos biotecnológicos y germoplasma adaptado a las diferentes regiones productoras de la Argentina. Se trata de Guazuncho 4 INTA BGRR, Guaraní INTA BGRR y Pora 3 INTA BGRR. 

Este tipo de hallazgos científicos al igual que ha sucedido actualmente con la semilla de trigo transgénico, son presentados ante la opinión pública “como grandes avances beneficiosos para todos, ya que permiten producir productos de exportación que generan grandes beneficios económicos para el país y la creación de puestos de trabajo”. Pero la realidad es que nada de esto ocurre, los beneficios son solo para los dueños del negocio, los puestos de trabajo nunca son tantos como prometen y los perjuicios que ocasiona en el medio ambiente y en la salud de las personas que viven en los territorios donde se desarrollan estos negocios es cada vez mayor.

La cantidad de agroquímicos que se aplican en el país aumenta de manera permanente debido a la extensión de cultivos de semillas genéticamente modificadas. En la actualidad esos cultivos cubren 30 millones de hectáreas de un territorio donde viven más de 12 millones de personas adultas y tres millones de niñas y niños, siendo esta la población más expuesta a la contaminación ambiental por el uso de pesticidas. El perjuicio se agudiza en la salud infantil por los productos que más se utilizan en los campos y la forma en que se aplican. Clorpirifos, atrazina, imidacloprid, 2- 4D, paraquat, carbofuran y glifosato encabezan la lista de los pesticidas más usados en Argentina.

Argentina es uno de los  países que más agroquímicos emplea por persona en el mundo. Numerosos estudios científicos han detectado restos de glifosato y otros productos, en el aire, el agua que tomamos, los alimentos, la ropa, los pañales y otros productos de higiene personal como toallas femeninas y tampones. Muchos de estos tóxicos  están prohibidos en varios países del mundo, ya que está comprobado que su uso genera graves enfermedades como el cáncer, abortos espontaneos y mal formaciones. 

El algodón transgénico ocupa alrededor del 70% de la superficie algodonera mundial. En la actualidad únicamente el 0,003% del algodón producido en el país es orgánico. La transición hacia un sistema de producción agroecológico es urgente. Otra realidad es posible, pero para que esto suceda necesitamos unirnos para decir basta de agronegocio. 


Para Fashion Revolution Argentina por Marcela Laudonio* de @incomodaok (Autora del libro Incómoda – Cuerpos Libres, que se puede leer de manera gratuita ingresando a

*Comunicadora Social, especializada en la investigación de daños ambientales y sociales generados por la industria textil.



ICAC: Comité Consultivo Internacional del Algodón.

FAO:  Organización de Las Naciones Unidas para la Alimentación y la Agricultura.

Informe de Cadena de Valor Algodón – Textil (año 2017) realizado publicado por el Ministerio de Hacienda.

Carbono News

UTT (Unión de Trabajadores de la Tierra)

Red de Salud Popular Dr. Ramón Carrillo (Chaco)

INTA (Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria)


Can fast fashion break its plastics habit?

Many of us are taking steps to reduce our plastic use. But what about our clothes? How much do we really know about the plastics in our wardrobes? Josie Warden, Head of Regenerative Design at the RSA unpacks some recent research that’s shining a light on the challenge.

Polyester, nylon, elastane, acrylic…these are just some of the synthetic fabrics you might have seen listed in your clothing labels. We aren’t used to thinking about these as plastics, but like plastic packaging, these too are derived from fossil fuels. 

Synthetic fabrics create significant impacts on people and the environment throughout their lifetime: 

At extraction, they are more energy-intensive than other fibres (in 2015, polyester produced for clothing emitted 282 billion kg of CO 2 – nearly three times more than for cotton.) 

With every wash, they release hundreds of thousands of plastic microfibres environment – a 6kg wash could produce up to 700,000 fibres. Recent studies have found these have reached even the most remote parts of the arctic and are increasingly turning up in the food we eat.

And once created, plastics are difficult to manage – only a tiny proportion of synthetic fibres are recycled, with most being landfilled or incinerated. 


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So, how much plastic is in our clothing?

Synthetics have boomed in popularity in recent decades. Their use in fashion doubled between 2000 and 2020, and polyester has overtaken cotton as the world’s most used fibre. 

So, we know there are a lot of synthetics out there, but information about where these fibres end up on the high street is harder to find. 

We recently analysed 10,000 items of clothing from across some of the UK’s leading online fast fashion brands – Asos, Boohoo, Missguided and PrettyLittleThing – to shed some light on how plastics are being used. This is what we found: 

Fast fashion is awash with new plastics

We found that as many as 88% of recently listed items contained new plastics and, in the case of Boohoo, 60 percent of recently listed items were made exclusively from virgin plastics.

What about recycled fabrics? Well, recycled fabrics are being used but on a very small scale. Across the four brands we surveyed an average of only 3% of clothing contained recycled materials. For every garment produced that contains recycled plastics, scores are produced from entirely new petrochemicals. 

We don’t realise how much plastic is in our clothing

There is an ‘awareness gap’ when it comes to how much plastic goes into our clothing. Just 49 percent of those who regularly buy fast fashion admit to buying clothing that contains synthetic materials. But with an average of 4 in 5 garments containing new plastics, the reality must be much higher. We believe that many people simply do not know where the fibres in their clothes come from. But we do want to see a change. Overall, three quarters of us want to see fewer plastics and petrochemicals used in the production of clothing, a clear message to the industry.


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Brands have a long way to go to meet their sustainability ambitions

These brands acknowledge that there is a problem, but they face huge challenges in transforming their supply chains if their ambitions are to go beyond greenwashing. Boohoo, for example, has set itself a target of using 100 percent recycled or ‘more sustainable’ polyester by 2025. With that date looming, it has a mountain to climb. 

A change of clothes?

What can be done to address this challenge? Ultimately, we need to see brands makes changes to their business models. A primary allure of synthetics for fast fashion brands is their low price, allowing brands to large volumes at rock bottom prices. 

Simply replacing synthetics with natural fibres isn’t a solution if it means creating more of them, because all fibres create impacts, including natural ones (cotton uses a lot of water for example). Instead, we need to see a reduction in the volume of clothing that is produced, a switch to producing good quality garments which are designed to be repaired, and a move towards more reuse and repair of existing garments. 


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Policymakers, brands and citizens all have a role to play

Policymakers can help discourage poor practice and incentivise better approaches. We are asking the government to explore a per-item ‘plastics tax’ on clothing imported into or produced in the UK containing virgin plastics, to introduce the Extended Producer Responsibility commitments, which are currently being discussed in a Defra consultation. We’d also like them to explore routes for supporting businesses that take steps towards sustainable business models, such as reviewing VAT rates on repair services.

Fast fashion brands should explore new ways to promote second-hand clothing following the model of Depop and Asos’ ‘marketplace’, alongside different business models, such as rental and repair services. We would like to see brands publish statistics on how much plastic goes into their clothing, as part of greater transparency reporting about their social and environmental impacts and commitments.

Citizens can help make a change by thinking differently about their clothing and committing to buying less and buying better – shopping for more durable garments, making fewer impulse purchases as well as sharing, repairing and caring for their current clothing.

After all, the most sustainable garment is the thing you already own.



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RSA. (2021). Turning the Tide: Public attitudes on plastics and fast fashion

RSA. (2021). Fast Fashion’s Plastic Problem

Changing Markets. (2021). Fossil Fashion

Header image shared with permission from @jenandjennifer

Challenges facing the farmers who grow our cotton

Cotton makes up approximately 26% of all fibre used in the fashion and textiles industry, and cotton crops take up about 2.5% of all arable land on Earth. What’s more, cotton represents the main source of income for up to 1 billion people, of which 100 million are farmers. With this in mind, we know that cotton is at the core of fashion’s social and environmental footprint.

Unfortunately, conversations about sustainable fashion often focus primarily on the ‘cotton vs. polyester’ or ‘organic cotton vs. conventional cotton’ debate, and less so on the farmers themselves.  It is imperative that we add the socio-economic sustainability issues to the environmental sustainability dialogue, which seems to dominate the discourse, and approach sustainability more holistically.

Like with most agricultural products, market dynamics are undergoing a huge shift, impacting farmers, their livelihoods, and the land they live and work on.

Here, we explore how the cotton supply chain affects farmers across the world, and find out how to help stand up for the people who grow our cotton.


The global cotton supply chain

cotton harvest process

In the complex journey from seed to shop floor, cotton goes through several stages. Cotton must be grown, harvested, processed, and spun into a yarn that is ready to be woven or knitted into a fabric, before being transformed into a finished product.

64% of all cotton fibre produced around the world is used in apparel, with the remainder mostly used in home furnishings. In addition to the soft white fibre of the plant, the cotton seeds are also harvested for animal feed, cooking oil and industrial applications.

Zooming in on the agricultural stage of this global supply chain, the majority of cotton is grown in the US, China, India and Pakistan, in addition to other countries such as Uzbekistan, Turkey, Israel, Argentina and Australia.

India alone produces 25% of the world’s cotton, sustaining the livelihoods of 5.8 million farmers, the majority of whom are small-scale farmers cultivating land less than 2 hectares in size. In India’s textile industry, nearly 60% of all raw materials are made up of cotton. The textile industry also makes up about 7% of the industrial output and contributes about 12% to the country’s export earnings.

It’s worth noting the long historical journey of cotton too. Cotton is an ancient fibre that can be traced back as early as 5000-6000 BC in early civilisations of India, South America and North Africa.

Cotton trade played a significant part in the British Empire, with the East India Company importing cotton fabrics from India into Britain and across Europe. In the 18th and 19th centuries, cotton also drove the expansion of the slave trade in the US, with cotton plantation owners accumulating extreme wealth by exploiting enslaved people. During the Industrial Revolution, the cotton gin (a machine used for separating cotton fibre) was invented, and Britain quickly became the world’s biggest producer of cotton textiles. (Source)

In short, cotton’s history is tightly wound with the history of capitalism, colonialism, exploitation and industrialisation that continues to drive the fashion industry today. For more information, read Empire of Cotton: A New History of Global Capitalism by Sven Beckert.


Problems facing cotton farmers

Cotton farmer
Photography by Simon Rawles


Cotton is associated with a range of environmental issues. For example, conventional cotton (aka. non-organic cotton) uses a large proportion of the world’s insecticides and pesticides.

However, the farmers themselves also face significant social and economic challenges that the fashion and textile industry as a whole must be held accountable for, including:

Photography by Sean Hawkey at Rapar and Dhrangadhra Farmer Producer Company, Gujarat, India.


Overall, a lack of transparency and even total indifference from fashion brands on how they source cotton, in addition to under-developed support frameworks for farmers to deal with risks and market failures has allowed these problems to persist.

“Cotton farmers in India, particularly those who grow cotton in the rainfed regions, face extremely high risks due to the growing uncertainties caused by climate change,” says Abhishek Jani, CEO of Fairtrade India. “This risk is heightened for them when the rising inputs costs of conventional and GM cotton cultivation is considered along with the fact that most of their credit needs for buying inputs are met through private money lenders who charge anywhere between 24% to 120% of annualised interest rates. This high indebtedness along with the high risks in cultivation is a recipe for economic disaster.”


The impact of Covid-19 and corporate control

Cotton catwalk
Collage by Bronwyn Seier for Fashion Revolution


Cotton as a commodity is under tight corporate control, with powerful multinational corporations maximising profit by exploiting vulnerabilities in cotton agriculture and the people that rely upon it. Cotton prices are skyrocketing in the global market, but farmers reap no benefits from this surge, instead, they are being pushed to produce more under high risk conditions.

“Once the crop is harvested, the farmers are unable to hold onto their harvest and almost immediately have to sell – if the crops are not already pledged- to pay off their debts. This situation further makes them vulnerable to market exploitation and in many cases it is others who are able to profit more even when the market price of cotton yarn or lint skyrockets,” says Abhishek.

The global Covid-19 pandemic has also impacted cotton farmers over the past 12 months. For example, migrant farmworkers were left stranded and without support when the virus spread through India. The country’s widespread lockdowns in 2020 caused massive disruptions in the cotton supply chain (Source).

“Covid-19 not only increased the risks for the farming communities as they were left with the unenviable choice of either staying locked down to protect their health or harvesting and planting crops which would otherwise get damaged or destroyed but the pandemic also increased uncertainty for the cotton farmers with news of the order cancellation by brands and reduced retail activity creating confusion about the market situation,” Abhishek confirms. “Furthermore, many of the farmers also migrate to cities to offer seasonal labour and were stuck on the wrong side of the lockdown in dire conditions. With newer more virulent strains of virus emerging in India the risk for the farming community is far from over.”


How to support cotton farmers

Surendranagar Farmer Producer Company, Gujarat


According to Cotton Diaries, a collective working to transform the cotton supply chain, if fashion brands want to ensure the cotton they are sourcing does not exploit people and the planet, they need to pay meaningful due diligence to their suppliers and invest in full transparency that traces cotton back to the original farm, identifying every broker, mill, ginner, spinner, and manufacturer involved along the way.

“We need brands to make honest commitments to overall social, economic and environmental sustainability from seed to stitch; instead of the corporate greenwashing we see in most advertisements, stores and pamphlets today. It is only then that fashion can begin to make a positive impact on the farming communities, we hope that this change in values will be driven by conscious consumers urging brands to be more accountable,” says Devina Singh, Communications Manager of Fairtrade India.

As consumers, we have the power to demand better. The brands who we invest in should be investing in more sustainable cotton sourcing options that support farmer livelihoods, such as organic, Fairtrade and regenerative agriculture. Furthermore, it is also important that consumers ask brands about the tangible impact on both the environment and farmer and worker livelihoods from their sustainable sourcing commitments, demanding evidence of the change which is being claimed.


Who Made My Clothes


“We always encourage our supporters to ask the right questions. We want brands in India to demonstrate transparency and to show us the people who make our clothes. We continue to raise awareness about #WhatsInMyClothes and #WhoMadeMyClothes as we need to be mindful of how our fashion choices impact farming communities,” says Suki Dusanj-Lenz, Country Coordinator of Fashion Revolution India.

“As we campaign for a global shift towards sustainable fashion we are acutely aware of the value of India’s traditional fibres and textiles which is even more reason to ask #WhoMadeMyFabric to evolve our #WhoMadeMyClothes campaign,” agrees Aliya Curmally, Co-founder & Head of Strategy Fashion Revolution India.

To hold brands accountable for their cotton sourcing practices, ask #WhoMadeMyClothes and #WhoMadeMyFabric on social media or email a brand directly. Find out more about how to make a difference here.

Further reading

Cotton Diaries: Pushing for Change
Life on the Margins during the Covid-19 Outbreak

Lo que la etiqueta no dice: los textiles y nuestra salud

Hablemos de Fast Fashion y Salud. Si estás leyendo este artículo quizás ya estés familiarizado con los aspectos económico, medioambientales y sociales del mundo de la moda en general, y de la Fast Fashion en particular. Pero quizás no sepas que hay una faceta más, que merece la pena considerar cuando hablamos de nuestra manera de producir y consumir textiles. Me refiero al impacto directo que los textiles pueden tener sobre nuestra salud. 

En Europa se utilizan alrededor de 15.000 formulaciones químicas diferentes para textiles. Para la producción de una sola prenda se pueden llegar a utilizar hasta 40 compuestos químicos diferentes (1). Estas sustancias confieren a la prenda características que la industria nos ha vendido como necesarias. Se trata de propiedades como el antiarrugas y antimanchas, que nos permiten – según la publicidad – ahorrar tiempo y dinero. Incluso, dicen, nos podrían salvar la vida, como es el caso de las telas tratadas con retardantes de llamas, que hacen que las prendas no ardan en caso de incendio.



En números: 9,3 millones de toneladas métricas de productos químicos se utilizan en la producción mundial de textiles cada año. El 25% de todas las sustancias químicas producidas a nivel mundial se emplea en la industria de la moda (1). Las implicaciones medioambientales son ingentes. Las consecuencias para los trabajadores del sector textil son incalculables tanto en término de morbilidad como de mortalidad.



Cuando esa prenda,  que no arde, es impermeable, de colores vivos que resisten al sol y a los lavados, acaba en nuestros armarios, se convierte en una amenaza directa para nuestra salud. Los investigadores de la Universidad de Granada en el 2019 publicaron un estudio analizando la presencia de bisfenol-A y parabenos en textiles y la correspondiente actividad hormonal derivada de la exposición dérmica  a calcetines para bebés y niños de 0 a 48 meses. Los resultados fueron contundentes: “las concentraciones de bisfenol-A son alarmemente altas y la actividad hormonal es la esperada para tales concentraciones” (2). 

Estas sustancias están clasificadas como disruptores endocrinos: tienen la capacidad de alterar el equilibrio hormonal de un organismo aumentando, reduciendo o bloqueando aquellos procesos fisiológicos controlados por las hormonas. Las consecuencias de una exposición prolongada a estas sustancias sintéticas incluyen: trastornos del comportamiento, pubertad precoz, obesidad, asma y cáncer de mamas entre otros.

El problema es que este aspecto no está regulado, no hay control, ni límites que respetar (3). En las etiquetas de las prendas hay muy poca información: nos indican el tipo de fibra utilizada y el lugar en que se ha producido; pero no sabemos nada de las sustancias químicas empleadas durante el proceso de producción. ¿Compraríamos una camiseta cuya etiqueta pusiera: 20% algodón, 80% poliéster + polibromados + metales pesados + ftalatos + alquifenoles? 

Aunque la legislación no nos ampare todavía, tenemos que hacer un ejercicio de responsabilidad, no solo para nosotros, sino para todos aquellos que dependen de nuestras decisiones: nuestros hijos, familiares y todos aquellos trabajadores que viven rodeados de sustancias tóxicas todos los días, para que podamos ahorrarnos de planchar un pantalón.

Como declara con tajante ironía Lucy Siegle en su libro “To die for. Is fashion wearing out the world?”: para crear un armario perfecto tenemos que tener en mente que lo que no compramos es igual de importante a lo que compramos (4). Tenemos que estar dispuestos a renunciar a algo, a perder algo, para que todos podamos ganar.



Si a ti te interesa el tema, te invitamos a mirar el trailer de Detox Fashion: Moda libre de tóxicos, de Greenpeace y también a sumarte a la campaña #QuéHayEnMiRopa a través de tus redes sociales.



  1. Andrew Hudson “Aiming to zero”, 2017.


  1. Freire C et al. “Concentration of bisphenol A and parabens in socks for infants and young children in Spain and their hormone-like activities”. Environmental International, 2019.


  1. Nicolás Oles “Libérate de los tóxicos. Guía para evitar los disruptores endocrinos. RBA, 2019.


  1. Lucy Siegle “To die for. Is Fast Fashion wearing out the world?” Fourth Estate, 2011.


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