Is that an orange peel you’re wearing?
Falling victim to clickbait has become a fairly normal part of life, hasn’t it? Anything with a good top ten list might get us clicking and definitely anything mentioning a celebrity’s wedding gown, but this week, we didn’t hesitate to click when we read this headline from Vogue: “Are Plant-Derived Materials the Future of Fast Fashion? H&M Makes Clothes from Pineapple Leaves, Orange Peels, and Algae“. Super intriguing, right?
As sustainably conscious dry cleaners in Toronto, we pay attention when anyone in the fashion world makes an effort to cut down on waste in the industry. We know that fashion (and the business of maintaining fashion) has a reputation for being less-than-eco-friendly, but we feel hopeful when we read articles like this about large organizations taking positive steps towards sustainability.
H&M is launching a collection that focuses on materials made from plant waste resulting from other processes or trends, like juicing (hello, orange peels!). We’ll let Vogue give you the full rundown:
Imagine this: Your friend is wearing a new pair of sneakers, and instead of asking her where she bought them or who designed them, you inquire, “What are the soles made of?” It’s fair to say that most of us wouldn’t know how to answer that question today: “Um . . . rubber, right?” As for the springy foam inside, it’s likely polyurethane, which is just a version of plastic. We needn’t remind you what happens to plastic when it’s thrown away; shoes aren’t necessarily a “single use” item like utensils or dry-cleaning bags, but they still end up in a landfill once you’ve worn them out. The same issue arises with certain types of faux leather, which can be derived from plastic, and the polyester found so often in dresses, blouses, and even suiting.
It’s hard to imagine we’ll stop wearing any of those items anytime soon, so the solution lies in alternative materials. Not just organic cotton and hemp, either. In fact, most of the truly game-changing innovations have more to do with technology than standard textiles. Consider H&M’s latest Conscious Exclusive collection—its ninth yet—which is introducing three materials the brand is using for the first time: Piñatex, a leather alternative made from the cellulose fiber of pineapple leaves (which become waste after the fruit is harvested); Orange Fiber, a silklike fabric made from the peels of oranges at the end of the juice production cycle; and BLOOM Foam, a high-performance foam made from algae biomass, which “cleans the environment and reduces the risk of algal blooms while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels,” according to the company’s website.
This is fascinating stuff! We look forward to more and more organizations using textiles like this and reducing fashion’s environmental footprint. On that note, we couldn’t help but notice that dry cleaning got a shout out (not a good one) with single-use bags, but we are thrilled to report that Parkers uses reusable fabric bags for folded items and we recycle any plastic bags and hangers our customers return to us. If you’d like to learn more about what we’re doing to help the environment, check out our environmental FAQs!