Spring-Summer 24 Sustainability: Fabrics

Everywhere, Spring-Summer 2024 fabrics are evolving in response to the many expectations triggered by responsible sourcing. Right from the choice of the raw material, origins are explored, and research begins into new-generation fibers with proven environmental performance. From processes adjusted to minimize impact, on through dyeing and finishings, materials are transformed while reducing the negative effects of their production on people and the environment. 

Traceability objective 

A witness to all the efforts undertaken throughout the production chain, traceability reveals the selected provenances and procedures. Cellulosic materials authenticate their involvement in sustainable forest management programs. European linens attest to their excellence by using the European Flax® and Masters of Linen® labels to guarantee their origin and certify their traceability at every stage of the fabric’s production. 

Silks are developed organically, ensuring good practices throughout the production process, from the cultivation of mulberry trees to the harvest. In cottons, qualities derived from regenerative cultivation exceed the standard criteria of organic crops to help safeguard or restore ecosystems.  

Resource diversification 

For a long time, the sustainable fiber offer was focused on organic cottons and recycled polyesters. The renewed popularity of bast fibers is now favoring the use of linen and hemp, both in casual and suiting qualities, with increasingly varied proposals in knits, shirtings and silky blends. Opening the way to new resources, fibers are gaining a foothold in circularity by favoring food industry co-products as raw materials. Fruit deposits and pineapple and banana tree fibers lend strength and a natural quality to casual knits and fabrics. Another opportunity is to create synthetic bio-sourced textiles from corn, sugar cane, castor or beet biomass. Polymerization based on renewable materials can generate high-performance polyester, polyamide and elastane, thus breaking free from petrochemical resources. 

Exemplary finishings 

A more frugal approach means turning to naturally colored cotton varieties, or using the original hues of the plant fibers to develop refined color-woven fancies or chinés. Recycling also offers solutions to problems posed by dyeing, by transforming scrapped textiles into micro-powder dyes, or by using recycled fibers already dyed during their first life, without re-dyeing them. The most innovative processes exploit high-performance black pigments developed from wood residues from sustainably managed resources. Pigment bio-manufacturing is developing thanks to dyeing technologies generated by the fermentation of agricultural waste. Finishing processes are turning to plant co-products to develop windproof or waterproof membranes, and synthetic polymers with improved biodegradability. 

Technology and circularity 

Resource conservation is a challenge that calls for the use of so-called secondary raw materials, those which have already had a first life. For example, textile offcuts and agricultural waste provide a wealth of resources to produce new fibers. Artificial fibers and materials take advantage of recyclable resources. Thanks to new technologies, cellulose can be extracted from hemp oil residues, citrus fruit production, or unused textiles.  

Technical fabrics for summer also ensure circularity in several ways. The first option is to transform waste collected during ocean clean-up into recycled polyesters or polyamides. Another alternative is to ensure optimized biodegradability, by turning to new generations of synthetics that have been designed to release a minimum amount of plastic microfibers into the environment. 

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