Faux Fur and Sustainable Spandex

Faux Fur and Sustainable Spandex

The textile industry is changing, responding to pressure from consumers and some high-profile celebrities to produce more ecologically-friendly products – such as Stella McCartney’s new faux fur coat.
McCartney created a coat made from plush, black Koba fur, a material that is 37% plant-based – it uses a corn byproduct – and entirely sustainable. It includes some polyester, but in keeping with McCartney’s own values, this product can be recycled at the end of its life cycle. 
This ethos of sustainability is oriented toward style and toward a better future: McCartney explained she did not want to sacrifice style for sustainability, but rather wanted to have both.
There are ample indications that her thinking is gaining traction elsewhere, as many other luxury designers are also turning away from animal fur and toward faux substitutes. 
Versace, Gucci, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Diane von Furstenberg have all taken this step, as has the Amsterdam Fashion Week. In most cases, the deciding factor was concerns about treatment of animals. 
Based in Paris, the Faux Fur Institute is dedicated to the task of creating vegan fur that is even more sustainable. 
They are particularly interested in plant-based synthetics and in recycled polyester and acrylics, and are challenging designers to create more of these.
Another example of a sustainable fabric ( Learn morespandex. 
Spandex, sometimes marketed under the brand name Lycra, gained dominance in the athletic apparel market because it is comfortable and stretchy. 
However, from an environmental perspective spandex is a nightmare. It is a polyether-polyurea copolymer, so it cannot be recycled in normal polyester recycling streams. 
Spandex is also not particularly durable. Heat, UV rays, chlorine, and everyday wear and tear all rapidly take their toll on a spandex garment or piece of apparel, thus explaining why one has to replace these items so often.
Sorona, on the other hand, was created by DuPont specifically to be more sustainable and longer-lasting. 
Where spandex has a combination of rigid and soft construction, allowing it to stretch and then be brought back in, Sorona has a zig-zag molecular structure which produces mechanical stretch that is permanent. This makes it longer-lasting and better able to handle wear and tear than spandex. 
This means one can stretch out a piece of Sorona fabric, and it will always recover. Like Koba fur, Sorona is made of 37% plant material, specifically Industrial Dent Corn, used for animal feed and various industrial ingredients. 
Sorona also contains some traditional polyester, which is readily recyclable. It is also exceptionally soft, so it does not require another fiber to be woven with it in order to impart softness. 
Sorona also dries nearly twice as fast as spandex, and even tends to be cheaper. 
With such remarkable materials transforming the textile market, it seems certain that the future of the industry will be much more sustainable and ecologically friendly. 

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