In today's fashion industry, we're exposed to a wide range of materials that are used to make clothing, jewelry, and bags. While many of us are familiar with traditional blends like cotton, linen, and polyester, there are other sustainable and innovative materials being used that we may not be aware of. Not only do these materials help the environment, but they also hold unique stories behind each product.
One example is Sanctuary, a brand that creates jeans and shirts out of recycled plastic bottles. By using this material, they reduce waste that would otherwise end up in landfills. It takes three bottles to make a pair of jeans, and the wash process uses only one glass of water (the average jean can use anywhere from 11-18 gallons of water in the wash process!). While it may seem impossible, recycled plastic can be turned into soft and comfortable fabric.
"We use recycled plastic bottles in our denim and a variety of styles as a poly content replacement." - Sanctuary
Another unique material used in jewelry making is animal bones. Brands like Cedar and Cypress and Fair Anita source these materials in an ethical and non-harmful way. Fair Anita, for example, works with a group of artisans in India who partner with local butcher shops to use leftover animal horns and bones for earrings and necklaces.
"We strongly believe that no animal should be harmed to create any of our pieces, so there is a limited quantity of these products." - Fair Anita.
Fair Anita also works with a group of women artisans in Ethiopia who create beads out of old bullet casings. Over two decades ago, the country faced a terrible war that left behind a lot of bullet casings. Today, they collect and melt down the casings to make handcrafted beads, each one unique. The metal used is copper and brass, making it nickel-free.
"Artisans in Ethiopia completely change the narrative of the surplus and turn them from bullets to beautiful." - Joy McBrien.
Bytavi uses deadstock materials, along with Fair Anita's partners in India and Cambodia. Deadstock fabric is fabric that was going to be used but did not reach the consumer and would end up in landfills. Bytavi takes this material and breathes new life into it, creating textiles that can be worn and loved.
From recycled plastics to unique materials like animal bones and bullet casings, the fashion industry is full of sustainable and innovative options. We've barely scratched the surface of all the interesting ways that a pair of pants or a necklace can be made. By choosing products made from these materials, we can help reduce waste and support artisans who are making a positive impact on the environment.
Shelby Johnson