Fashion girls, stay woke: The move for sustainable fashion is picking up.
The documentary The True Cost by Andrew Morgan fleshes out just how much damage the fast-fashion industry does to the environment and the people who work for it. From the extremely toxic conditions of producing cotton to the thousands of casualties produced by unsafe working conditions in garment factories, there’s a laundry list of transgressions almost uncomfortable to talk about in the pages of a fashion magazine. Thankfully, our radars at Preview point at every which way, so imagine our collective gasp of approval (and relief) to find that sustainable fashion—fabrics, particularly—is slowly being sourced and developed in the country. Thanks to technology, the most common Filipino plants are being re-engineered to produce fabrics that can be used as less threatening alternatives to traditional textiles such as leather. One of them is Piñatex: Derived from pineapple fibers from the Philippines, it’s a strong, lightweight yet high-performance fabric that's poised to become an alternative to leather. Just last year, Puma developed a prototype sneaker made out of the fabric. Developed by Spanish textile company Ananas Anam, Piñatex isn't reliant on excess water, fertilizers and pesticides; plus it gives Filipino pineapple farmers an entirely new means of earning money. Even though Piñatex, like many sustainable fabrics, has yet to crack the mainstream textile market, the whole movement is taking a step in the right direction. Aquafil, a manufacturer of new sustainable materials, developed Econyl, a brand of carpet fibers and textile yarns derived mainly from ocean waste and discarded fishing nets all around the world, including the Philippines. A synthetic nylon fabric, Econyl is used in more than 70 apparel and swimwear brands globally, including select bikini and sportswear collections from Adidas, Triumph and Mara Hoffman. Label of the moment Gucci used Econyl in its 2017 menswear pieces. Several other fashion labels have used sustainable fabrics. Newlife, championed by eco-fashion advocate (and wife to actor Colin) Livia Firth, is a polyester yarn made from recycled plastic bottles. Livia is known to have fashion labels make bespoke creations out of the material, such as a Giorgio Armani number and an Antonio Berardi gown she wore at a Met Gala. In the Philippines, lifestyle and fashion brand Piopio—the brainchild of Paloma Zobel—started to incorporate locally sourced natural dye from indigo plants into its pieces, something she discovered from The Indigo Project, a local initiative that aims to revive the use of local and sustainable dyes and fabrics. Celia Elumba, director of the Philippine Textile Research Institute—the organization that helped develop Piñatex with Ananas Anam—is optimistic about the future of sustainable fabrics. "In the future, there will be no other way but to look for sustainable sources of clothing materials. Definitely, petroleum materials will be scarce because [their] raw materials are finite. When this happens, alternative raw materials will need to step up to fill in the gap." The discussion of sustainable fabrics might be a little intimidating, but know that there are ways to practice sustainable fashion without rocking the boat too hard: swap clothes with friends, and resell your used clothes (Carousell is a user-friendly app that features a nifty in-app customer messenger tool). Sustainability can start simple, too.
These Puma shoes are made from a pineapplederived fabric called Piñatex, which is a sustainable vegan option to leather. Philippine fashion brand Piopio uses locally sourced natural dyes for its pieces.
Gucci nails yet another trend: eco-friendly fashion with Econyl, a textile made from upcycled materials.