It’s hard to think of a more positive start to a business launch when the product is to promote and sell sustainable wholesale textiles to fashion designers, keen to source the latest eco and ethically produced fabrics that also support the slow fashion ethos.
Nominated for material innovation for using 100% banana plant stem “waste” fibres to make silk-grade biodegradable Banana Sylk fabric, the Report features “bold material innovations that have the potential to drive the industry closer to its circular economy goals.” The Report’s goal is to list the “change-makers willing to disrupt current systems and transform material resources into new opportunities for positive change.”
And much to my delight, I have already been contacted by one of the world’s most prominent eco-driven fashion designers, Stella McCartney in London.
I was surprised that Stella McCartney’s Sustainability and Ethical Trade Coordinator reached out prior to the release of the Report. I mean, she obviously has her finger on the pulse, but that’s super fast.
She’s one of the most internationally prominent fashion designers working to create both sustainable and ethical fashion, so it’s a thrill for her to be my very first Banana Sylk enquiry. (You can read more about Stella MCarney's sustainability practices here.)
An initiative of the non-profit organization Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute based in California and The Netherlands, the Institute seeks to drive circular economy principles and scaled impact in the fashion industry through the growth and use of Cradle to Cradle Certified™ materials.
“As fashion’s trajectory towards a more circular economy rises, brands and innovators need greater access to the material innovators working on the frontlines of technology, sustainability and material health,” says Lewis Perkins, President of the Institute.
“Through our partnership with H&M Foundation, we are proud to offer the Fashion Positive Emerging Material Innovators Report to help build a bigger pipeline of circular materials for the fashion industry and beyond.”
The C2C™ material certification seeks to turn the making of things into a positive force for people, the economy and the planet. It administers a guidance-system for assessing and continually improving products based upon five sustainability characteristics: material health, material reuse, renewable energy, water stewardship and social fairness.
The Report states that “material innovation is critical to creating the building blocks of a circular fashion revolution. That’s why we’re thrilled to introduce 12 innovators, selected from over 40 submissions, whose innovations target improvements to material health and reutilization--key attributes of materials primed for the circular economy. We're pleased to share their accomplishments with our growing network and look forward to building the future of fashion together.”
By listing our Banana Sylk fabric, the selectors highlight it as one of the “most promising innovations that can solve some of the toughest circular fashion industry challenges.”
And I’ve named it Banana Sylk instead of “silk”, to create a departure for it in the market from what we know as animal-produced silk.
We’ve already begun the process of gaining the various circular economy industry accreditations such as Cradle to Cradle and I’m working with the Tamil Nadu Agriculture University’s Eco Green Unit to support their “Wealth From Waste” project to raise funds to gift Fibre Extraction Machines and training to local banana farming communities.
It was through the University that they combined both contemporary and age-old technology to help develop a more efficient Fibre Extraction Machine that enables the finer inner-stem plant fibres be turned into a beautiful, high quality, breathable and biodegradable eco-textile.
Starting at the beginning of the supply chain, I believe that Banana Sylk is unique having started its life technically as a waste product. However currently, only 10% of the Pseudo stems are used, therefore most farmers pay large sums to have them removed after a harvest, then burnt adding to the local air pollution.
If you read my last Blog post introducing my story about starting STSC, it’s very important that this fibre has a zero water consumptive quality.
Given that the crop was originally grown for food, it sets it apart from purposely grown textile crops that use large quantities of precious water. Our fabrics are also hand dyed using pure plant based dyes, and then the waste water is used to irrigate the fields surrounding our makers facility, so it’s a near perfect circular, sustainable system.
Any Designers interested in purchasing sustainable textiles can visit www.sustainabletextiles.club plus join the Sustainable Textiles Club. Set up as a free group to pool ideas and buying power to purchase these made-to-order slow fashion textiles.
For more information on the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute visit C2CCertified.org
Plus download the Emerging Material Innovators Report by Fashion Positive and H&M Foundation.
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