SAOLA offers sustainable sneakers sourced from algae and recycled plastic

May 22, 2019 by  
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Although admittedly late to the game, fashion is working towards cleaning up their act when it comes to corporate responsibility and sustainable sourcing of materials and manufacturing of products. But, consumers have to look for it. Fortunately, the shoe industry in particular is getting downright competitive in their efforts to bring sustainable footwear to the market. Unfortunately, for many manufacturers, the eco-friendly label means little more than incorporating an organic thread here or a renewable resource there. For newcomer SAOLA, though, sustainable fashion is front and center. The french company is not only new to the sustainable fashion realm, but has only been in business a few years. Rather than fighting the trends, they’re setting them with their eco-friendly sneakers, some of which are entirely vegan. The efforts can be seen in every component of the shoes, from top to bottom. Related: These sneakers are painted with cast-off blood from slaughterhouses Starting with the uppers made from 100 percent recycled PET, the company pours 3 to 4 plastic bottles into each shoe. The shoelaces are sourced from 100 percent organic cotton to avoid cotton grown using chemicals. A plant-based foam created from algae biomass makes up the insoles and outsoles that brings a wafer-light feel to the sneaker, skips the petroleum used in traditional shoe production and makes use of the unwanted algae in areas where it blooms. Renewable cork sourced without cutting down any trees makes up a removable liner inside the shoe. SAOLA is dedicated to the environment with a commitment to donate 3 percent of every sale to environmental conservation groups. The current product line offers styles for both men and women with suede-look tops and trendy color options including grey, chocolate, camel, olive and navy. They offer low cut and mid-height designs with styles costing about $100. + SAOLA Images via SAOLA

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SAOLA offers sustainable sneakers sourced from algae and recycled plastic

This backpack is made from locally sourced cork and recycled materials

May 2, 2019 by  
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The world’s landfills are piling up. While we hear a lot about how the fashion industry contributes to this problem, the topic is less focused on accessories. Yet purses, bags and backpacks also contribute to the fast fashion environment with quickly fading styles and manufacturing pollution. One company is bucking this trend with a backpack made from naturally sustainable cork and recycled materials. The Jajamän cork backpack is a completely vegan option for conscientious consumers looking for an alternative to cotton-based fabrics and leather. With a striking cork exterior and recycled post-consumer polyester interior, the backpack was made with the environment in mind throughout the design process. It even uses recycled metal for the buckles. In fact, every component of this backpack is either natural cork or recycled material, including the zippers made from post-consumer plastic. Tags and trims are made from recycled paper, too. Related: Pauline van Dongen unveils backpack made with ‘energy harvesting textile’ Cork is the ultimate choice as a sustainable product for a variety of reasons. Because it is actually bark, harvesting cork doesn’t require cutting down or damaging trees . Plus, it is lightweight yet durable. Cork is also innately waterproof, fire-resistant, dirt repellent, anti-fungal and stain resistant, all of which make it a good choice for bags, shoes, purses and more. Cork requires no harsh chemicals like those produced from leather manufacturing and is biodegradable at the end of its lifecycle. In addition to careful material selection, the company has focused on making sure each step in the process is both earth and human friendly. To achieve this goal, it uses cork from Portugal and manufactures the bags close to that source. Jajamän practices safe working conditions and fair wages in its factory, a standard in Portugal. With longevity in mind, the design is practical, universal for any gender and durable. While this means each bag can last years, it doesn’t sacrifice appeal. Because cork has a natural design, much like cut wood, each backpack has a unique pattern not exactly duplicated in any other bag. “We’re going back to a more sustainable way of consuming and producing,” the company said. “Sustainability is our business, and thanks to your pledges, we will be able to begin producing our planet-friendly cork backpacks. We’ll be able to fund our team to continue to challenge the status quo of fast fashion by creating truly sustainable alternatives.” After being fully funded, the Jajamän cork backpack is now available for purchase through  Indiegogo . + Jajamän Images via Jajamän

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This backpack is made from locally sourced cork and recycled materials

3D-printed jewelry company uses plants, not fossil fuels, to make its beautiful designs

April 10, 2019 by  
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Traditionally, most jewelry has always been made out of some type of metal: silver, gold, bronze or copper. Mining for precious metals and gemstones often causes environmental damage, ranging from water pollution to greenhouse gas emissions to soil erosion. Today, however, those looking to decorate themselves with shiny baubles have a new option —  eco-friendly, 3D-printed jewelry. Based in Somerville, Massachusetts, Winter Hill Jewelry is an innovative, family-run company that makes beautiful and affordable 3D-printed earrings and necklaces out of plant-based plastic . Winter Hill Jewelry is the brainchild of Vanessa Templeman, a mother of two who started experimenting with her family’s 3D printer at home. The printer had been used to print toys for the kids, but soon Templeman decided to do something a bit more creative. After initially drawing and designing her pieces by hand, she then updated to Tinkercard to help streamline the process, which ends with beautiful 3D models of her designs. Related: Elle turns E-waste into unique and eye-catching jewelry According to Templeman, the 3D printing process not only allows her to create and manufacture her own designs, but has also opened up a niche in the jewelry market for eco-friendly designs. Focused on having minimal environment impact, the company uses a full-cycle system that is set up to reduce waste throughout the manufacturing process. Instead of using regular plastic that is made from fossil fuels, for example, they use PLA, a plant-based plastic that is compostable. While they try to reduce waste as much as possible, any remnants left over from the production process can be easily recycled. Additionally, the Flash Forge Creator Pro 3D printers used by Winter Hill Jewelry are fully powered by solar-generated energy . Once the jewelry is printed, they are displayed on cards made out of 100 percent recycled paper and shipped in biodegradable bubble wrap. As an additional way to use its product for good, the company has a special collection that includes a “Cuterus” line of pins and earrings. Portions from the sale of these items are donated to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center OB. + Winter Hill Jewelry Images via Winter Hill Jewelry

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3D-printed jewelry company uses plants, not fossil fuels, to make its beautiful designs

Bananatex launches a sustainable material revolution at Milan Design Week

April 9, 2019 by  
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A party of three has collaborated to create a multi-purpose material sourced entirely from banana leaves. Swiss bag brand QWSTION, a yarn specialist from Taiwan, and a Taiwanese weaving partner spent four years developing the new material, which is being revealed at the 2019 Milan Design Week. The strong, flexible material, called Banantex, offers a new universal option in the search for sustainable materials . Beginning at the source, the banana leaves come from a natural ecosystem of sustainable forestry in the Philippines. The banana trees grow naturally without the use of pesticides or other chemicals. Plus, they do not require any additional water. The banana plants are a boon to an area previously eroded by palm plantations, bringing back vegetation and a livelihood for local farmers. Related: See how banana trees are recycled into vegan “leather” wallets in Micronesia With a long history of creating materials from sustainable resources, QWSTION saw the strength and durability of the banana leaves that were used in the Philippines for more than a century as boat ropes. Following three years of research and development, the bag company finalized the plant-based material. As a bag company, the first products they put together are backpacks and hip pouches, made completely with the plastic-free material. The larger goal, however, is for other companies to use Banantex in their own production, spreading the application to any number of industries that could eliminate many of the synthetic materials on the market today. United with the common goal of inspiring responsible product development, the team conceived the idea as an open source project with this in mind. The characteristics of the material makes this idea easy to imagine since it is durable, pliable and waterproof. Plus, it is biodegradable at the end of the life cycle, significantly reducing post-consumer waste rampant in the clothing and accessories industries in particular. The display will be open to the public at Milan Design Week on April 9-14, 2019. + QWSTION Images via QWSTION

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Bananatex launches a sustainable material revolution at Milan Design Week

The sustainable wardrobe: its more accessible than you think

January 29, 2019 by  
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When it comes to making sure our homes are eco-friendly, it is easy to neglect the closet. Your clothes, however, might just be the biggest culprit. All those synthetic fabrics will take over 200 years to fully decompose, and the microfibers often end up in the ocean and in the bellies of sea creatures. The fashion industry produces 20 percent of all wastewater, and the amount of pollutants it emits is the second largest in the world (the first is oil). This is all while generating 10 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined total from all international flights and maritime shipping. So what can you do to build a more sustainable wardrobe? First and foremost, educate yourself. Before you do anything, learn why you’re doing it. Start out by doing some research to figure out what your biggest priority is. Vegan and cruelty-free? Non-toxic materials? Organic materials? Do you care more about what the clothes are made out of, or who made the clothes? Arming yourself with information makes it easier to make better decisions for yourself and the environment. Support ethical businesses The rise of fast fashion has brought about high demand for cheap, trendy clothing items. The cost of manufacturing these inexpensive clothes has led many factories to turn toward cheap labor and sweatshops in developing countries — often with dangerous work conditions on unlivable wages. When you do purchase clothes, read the label and see where it was made. If you’re not sure about the country, opt for the U.S. and the U.K. where the labor laws are more strict and regulated. Invest in higher quality, eco-friendly fabrics Growing materials for certain fabrics take a heavier toll on the planet, so buying clothes made from natural materials like organic cotton, linen or hemp can help offset the environmental impacts. Not only do certain fabric materials take huge amounts of water to grow, but the chemicals used to rid these crops of pests also seep down into the soil and natural water supply. The upside is that not all crops are grown this way. Organic cotton is grown without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Hemp is versatile, strong and requires much fewer pesticides or fertilizers to grow. Linen, made from flax, demands less water and energy sources, and it is naturally biodegradable. Related: Faux fur or real fur, which one is better for the planet? Don’t throw clothes away This seems simple enough, but it’s surprising just how many pieces of clothing end up in the trash every year. In 2015, there were 10.5 million tons of textiles in landfills, and many of those were synthetic fibers that don’t decompose. When a favorite piece of clothing gets torn, mend it up rather than tossing it in the trash — you’ll save more money, too! Not a master sewer? Take it to a tailor. If you really want to get rid of something, take it to a donation center or thrift store. Or, try a clothing swap with a friend — you’ll both get new pieces for your wardrobes without anything ending up in the trash can. Related: Eco-friendly options for decluttering waste Shop vintage and thrift When it comes to fashion, choose timeless over trendy. Buy clothes that will work year-round rather than just for a season. Think multi-purposefully. Most importantly, don’t think that being on a budget means limiting yourself to cheap clothes or fast fashion trends. Shop mindfully Stop to ask yourself: do I need this, or do I just want it? There’s a big difference there. If you really need something new for a wedding or special event, buy with purpose. Don’t just go into a store to shop for nothing in particular, or you’ll most definitely end up with something you don’t need. Also, if you buy items that are more versatile, it will actually help you in the long run. You’ll have more outfit choices and less clutter to worry about in your closet. Take good care of the clothes you have Using a lower temperature in your washing is not only less damaging to fabrics, but it’s a win for the environment, too. Heating accounts for 90 percent of the energy used from doing a load of laundry. If you can swing it, skip the dryer altogether and hang-dry your clothes (of course, this works better in a dry, warm climate). You can also try washing your clothes in larger batches, because this will waste less water and electricity. Consider switching to an eco-friendly brand of detergent as well. Keep an eye out for ones that are biodegradable , phosphate-free and made from plant-derived ingredients. The better shape your clothes are in, the longer they will last. Related: How to decode confusing labels on common household cleaners DIY Here’s the good news: there are more ways to express your personal style than buying clothes. Learn to make your own accessories or bags; it might turn into a fun new hobby or a skill you never knew you had! Rather than throwing old clothes away, repurpose them into something new. Old T-shirts make great dusting rags, and soft materials like cotton can be made into pillowcases or quilts. Check out these great ideas for recycling old clothes from DIY for Life. Images via Charles Etoroma , MNZ , Prudence Earl , Raw Pixel , Peggy and Marco Lachmann-Anke , Egle and Shutterstock

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This 3D-printed device could help its users breathe underwater

August 6, 2018 by  
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Japanese designer and material scientist  Jun Kamei has invented an underwater breathing device constructed with 3D printing . Kamei foresees complications arising from higher sea levels, which he believes will affect up to three billion people globally. Thus, he has designed Amphibio , a 3D-printed garment that he hopes will help those people affected by rising seas to work with nature in submerged portions of the Earth. “By 2100, a temperature rise of 3.2 degrees Celsius is predicted to happen, causing a sea-level rise affecting between 500 million and three billion people, and submerging the mega-cities situated in the coastal areas,” Kamei explained. He believes Amphibio will become essential to our next generations, who will be forced to spend much more time in water as a result of a “flooded world.” Amphibio replicates the method that aquatic insects use to trap air, forming a gas-exchanging gill. The breathing apparatus’s microporous, hydrophobic material thus enables oxygen extraction from surrounding water while also removing carbon dioxide . Kamei, a graduate of the Royal College of Art , returned to his alma mater with a team from the RCA-IIS Tokyo Design Lab to construct the two-part accessory, which features a respiratory mask attached to the gill assembly. Related: MIT’s mind-reading AlterEgo headset can hear what you’re thinking The working prototype of Amphibio does not yet produce enough oxygen to sustain a human being. However, Kamei is optimistic. He developed the 3D-printable material filament himself, and, in the future, he hopes people can buy it themselves. As 3D printing becomes more common and readily available in society, he envisions a future in which people can print garments tailored to their own body shape – and in which Amphibio is one of their options. + Amphibio Via Design Milk and Dezeen Photography by Mikito Tateisi

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This 3D-printed device could help its users breathe underwater

Meridian Line launches ethically sourced, organic cotton jeans for the outdoors

April 2, 2018 by  
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Adventure calling? Gear up with Meridian Line, a range of eco-friendly denim designed for conquering the great outdoors. Available for pre-ordering through Kickstarter , the men’s and women’s jeans infuse ethically sourced organic cotton with two percent spandex to allow “freedom of movement without looking like you just stepped out of yoga class,” according to the Kansas City, Missouri–based firm. Meridian Line is the brainchild of artist Jeremy Collins, who launched the company with a series of graphic T-shirts and accessories in 2014. Two years later, Collins enlisted Benji Thrasher, formerly the lead designer at Prana , to kick Meridian Line’s offerings up a notch; the jeans emerged from the drawing board shortly after. But active performance isn’t the denim’s only twist. Each pair of pants also boasts artwork by Collins on the inner pockets, yoke, and turn-ups. The print is based on one of Collins’s signature pieces: a greenery-ringed compass inset with a salmon and an eagle at play (or perhaps prey?) in a yin-yang configuration. Meridian Line’s denim is “built for outdoor activities, travel, and a casual, dareful, or professional lifestyle,” Collins and Thrasher said. “Our jeans are made to go wherever you do: urban, mountain, or board meeting.” Prices for both men’s and women’s styles start at an accessible $79, or 20 percent less than what the jeans will cost when they hit retail outlets later this year. If you’re looking for the whole top-to-toe look, a pledge of $105 will snag you a pair of jeans, an exclusive tee, and a trucker hat. + Meridian Line at Kickstarter + Meridian Line

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Meridian Line launches ethically sourced, organic cotton jeans for the outdoors

This company makes leggings with biodegradable, compostable fabric

February 16, 2018 by  
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Have you ever heard the words ‘ biodegradable ‘ and ‘ compostable ‘ associated with activewear? Philadelphia-based fitness company Aqua Vida offers leggings and shorts made with Amni Soul Eco fabric that is 100 percent recyclable and reusable – and in an anaerobic landfill or compost heap, will decompose in under three years. Aqua Vida offers biodegradable leggings – created with Amni Soul Eco intelligent yarn from chemistry company Solvay . The polyamide yarn provides antibacterial benefits and UV protection, according to the company . Some other benefits: the clothing is lightweight, will far outlive cheaper fabrics, and includes intelligent moisture absorption, per Aqua Vida. The apparel is intended for yoga , surfing, working out in the gym, or other exercise activities. Related: Satva’s organic yoga-inspired clothing supports education for young girls in India Don’t worry about sweat – these biodegradable leggings won’t decompose while you’re moving in them. Instead, the fabric only begins to break down when it’s surrounded by bacteria in an anaerobic landfill or compost bin. Otherwise, its shelf life is as lengthy as that of traditional polyamides, according to Aqua Vida. The process to create the yarn is also sustainable – per Aqua Vida, the fabric “is produced in a closed cycle manufacturing system, a production process which collects and recycles scrap, wastewater, raw materials found in the water, and heat that is generated in some of the production phases.” Aqua Vida, which sells clothes and offers standup paddleboard yoga classes, highlights sustainability as one of their values on their website; they host ocean cleanups with the goal of removing 10,000 pounds of trash from waterways by 2020. With 16 cleanups behind them, they’ve removed 3,341 pounds of garbage so far. The company says for every dollar customers spend, they allocate one percent to local water conservation efforts, which includes their cleanups. Their Biodegradable Flow Legging costs $68; the Biodegradable Flow Shorts are $48. + Aqua Vida + Aqua Vida Eco-Friendly Fabrics Via Philadelphia Magazine Images via Aqua Vida and Aqua Vida Facebook

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This company makes leggings with biodegradable, compostable fabric

These Adidas sneakers double as subway passes in Berlin

January 17, 2018 by  
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No ticket? No problem. If you’re wearing Adidas’s limited-edition EQT Support 93 sneaker , you’ll be able to hitch a free ride on Berlin’s metro through most of 2018. To satisfy the conductor, simply kick up your heels. An unlikely partnership between the footwear giant and Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe —a.k.a. BVG, the German capital’s main public transport operator—each shoe incorporates an annual pass that’s been rendered in fabric and stitched into the tongue. Such passes typically go for €730 ($895), which means that the shoe itself, at €180 ($220), is a comparative steal. Unsurprisingly, some newspapers noted that hundreds of people camped outside shoe stores in the snow (a few of them over the weekend) for a chance to snap up one of just 500 pairs. As far as train-hopping is concerned, the shoe is certainly dressed for the occasion. It features camouflage-like squiggles that recall the design of the subway system’s upholstered seats, plus black-and-yellow sneakers that echo the colors of the trains’ facades. Related: San Francisco’s rapid transit to run on 100% renewable energy And BVG, which is ringing in its 90th year, demonstrates that you’re never to old to be a fashion icon. “How cool is that? Now we have an exclusive sneaker with our popular BVG seat pattern. We are sure that this shoe is a very special highlight for Berlin,” Sigrid Evelyn Nikutta, CEO of BVG, said in a statement. “It’s great that the BVG, which is celebrating its 90th birthday this year, is now becoming a cult object itself.” + Adidas Photos by Overkill

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These Adidas sneakers double as subway passes in Berlin

Best Made Co. unveils hat made with synthetic spider silk

December 11, 2017 by  
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Following its release in March of the world’s first commercially available product made from manmade spider silk—a a line of snazzy neckties —California’s Bolt Threads is ready for its encore. Developed with Best Made Co. , an outdoor-lifestyle brand that the technology firm unexpectedly acquired in August, the limited-edition Microsilk Cap of Courage marries Wyoming-milled Rambouillet wool with Bolt Threads’ signature yeast-derived bioengineered silk. Despite the eye-watering price of $198, a limited-edition run of 100 hats sold out in a matter of hours on Thursday. Spider silk is one of Earth’s most valued textiles: It’s five times stronger than steel and thrice as tough as nylon or Kevlar, yet only a fraction of the width of human hair. Because spiders are territorial and cannibalistic, however, farming the fiber in significant quantities has been next to impossible. Related: First spider-silk garment to hit the market is this necktie from Bolt Threads Enter Bolt Threads. Through its proprietary technology, which leverages proteins derived from yeast to replicate spider silk’s famous tensile strength and pliability, the company has been able to “tune” its Microsilk to deliver any combination of softness, strength, and durability. The fibers are even machine-washable, which gives them a leg up on their traditional counterparts. Bolt Threads is going places, too. It recently teamed up with British designer Stella McCartney to create a couple of garments, including a gold dress for the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition, Items: Is Fashion Modern? . There’s been the promise of more to come, along with forthcoming collaborations with brands like Patagonia , though details are hush-hush for now. There might even be another hat drop in the future. Keep your eyes—and heads—peeled. + Microsilk Cap of Courage $198 + Best Made Co. + Bolt Threads

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