New Fibres : Sustainability, Ethics, and Environmental Footprint

Genetically Engineered Clothes.

Are new fibres the answer ?


Given the rapid technological advancements, there are now a plethora of options for Sustainable, Environmental friendly, circular economy fibres to produce Sustainable fashion. Consider

Liva by the Aditya Birla Group

R.Elan by Reliance

and a host of international offerings including those by DuPont.

Given a choice, more and more designers, manufacturers and brands are gravitating towards the promise of cleaner fashion as offered by these New Age fibres.

In the rush to embrace these solutions, we are – however – overlooking important factors that should influence our decisions to bring these fibers into the mainstream

Highlighting these issues ;

“Genetically Engineered Clothes: Synthetic Biology’s New Spin on Fast Fashion”  is a report released tby technology watchdog ETC Group and the natural textile collaborative Fibershed . This report details on how the use of ‘biosynthetic’ fabrics could disrupt supply chains and displace the natural fibre production.

The report highlights the false promises and unproven claims that are accompanying so-called ‘spider silk’ as well as DuPont’s bioengineered Sorona fabric. Despite being promoted as a ‘green’ option, biosynthetic fibres made by companies such as Bolt Threads Inc. depend on industrial feedstocks like sugar, which is linked to deforestation and diminishing labour conditions.

As per the “Genetically Engineered Clothes” report; These new supply chains could lead to potential new forms of biowaste created by the microorganisms engineered to produce the new materials. ‘B-waste’ for example, a byproduct of microorganisms found in the production of genetically engineered clothes that have never been released into the environment, may be difficult to dispose of safely and creates risks of new microorganisms spreading through the water and air.

The tech developments though promising also hold the seeds of great disruption. It remains to be seen how these risks are managed and mitigated.

Do you know of any such reports focusing on the dangers of Tech textiles.

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