Blends of recycled fibres and fibres with a lower environmental impact
As in previous years, there were numerous blends of alternative fibres on show, aimed at reducing the presence of conventional cotton and its associated impacts. Integrating low-impact natural fibres such as hemp, nettle and organic cotton can reduce the water and chemical footprint of the overall fabric. Recycled fibres from pre and post-consumer waste both natural and synthetic also had a significant presence, standing to tackle waste and preserve resources. Whilst fibre blends can reduce the environmental impact during the fabric production phases, end of life phases should also be considered. Some fibre blends, for example, (especially natural and synthetic blends) might affect the fabric’s ability to biodegrade or be recycled.
Varied methods to tackle the industry’s water consumption were presented, from single bath washing processes to cotton grown with rainwater. One company’s 100% post-consumer recycled denim eliminates the need for further dyeing, which is typically a water and chemical intensive phase of denim production. Reducing the presence and impact of chemicals was also a key theme, and there were several examples of simplified washing processes – from one-step stone washing processes to customers doing their own gradual denim washing through domestic laundering to achieve the classic worn-look denim.