IS POLYESTER ENEMY NUMBER ONE?
Right now many fashion brands are turning their attention to more organic fabrics & fibres, which is great news. Organic cotton, linen, hemp are fantastic materials that are good for humans and for the planet. I’d love to fill my studio with hundreds of metres of beautiful organic fabrics and start creating new garments.
What about those less organic fabrics that I already own? The ones that I bought before my switch to conscious consumerism and ethical fashion. Shall I proclaim myself 100% organic and chuck it all to the bin (= send it all directly to landfill)? Or shall I try to have the most use of it and create new garments that will add to someone’s wardrobe and will be loved for years to come? All collections that I design and create since 2020 are made solely from the fabric that I already own or from donated ones (like end of life denim). Organic or not, it’s not the point: the most sustainable fabric is the one that you already own.
Which makes me think about those “bad” fabrics even more. A war on polyester has been declared by the organic-focused brands. “Sustainable” collections are being pumped out by the fast-fashion brands as if it means something. Yet still everyone is being awfully quiet about the existing poly-fibres: what happens to them? Creating new organic fabrics doesn’t solve the problem of old polyester fabrics. Meanwhile, the big enemy (polyester) is one of the few fibres that is 100% recyclable to its original state.
While it would be great to stop the mass-production of unneeded and hard to recycle poly-cottons and other fabric blends, it still wouldn’t solve the problem of the existing materials. Making new organic is still closing the eyes on old non-organic. Thinking about trash and dirty landfills is not sexy. But hey, these landfills are quite literally filled with the fabric that can be recycled, upcycled and otherwise reused. Old fabric waste is a problem that has a very simple solution. Where are the bins for fabric recycling? I’m not even talking about separating cotton and polyester, but just one recycling bin for all the fabrics would be an amazing start. Not those Red-Cross ones, where they try to send the clothes to second-hand shops, but a system to recycle clothes that are not wearable anymore is very much needed.
We can clean the landfills and create new fabrics from existing ones.