Fashion has developed quite the eye for political opinion and expressing one’s values. After the singer Lady Gaga exposed the atrocities of the meat industry by wearing nothing but steak and Emma Watson’s dress made of recycled soda bottles, it’s time for food-waste to take a stand in fashion. Fashion designers and creators already have some ideas in mind in order to get the hype going. Engineers from all over the world are working on ways to solve waste issues and seem to be working hand-in-hand with investors. The U.S. government (Department of Energy) has even pledged to invest US$24 million in the commercialization of algae-based biofuel. In this article we will be talking about one of the many ways food-waste is catching the eye of politics, business and social media since the mid-2010s.
How food-waste gets turned into clothing
The Universal Exhibition of Milan placed the food issue at the centre of the debate by emphasizing Textifood‘s display of textiles made of edible fibres. The exhibition tackled the problem using the motto « Feed the planet, energy for life », referring to the rising human population and its food consumption. The objective was to show the range of possible synergies between the food and textile production systems.
« This event presents fibres extracted from plant and animal species”, explains Textifood. To promote these new fibres, lille3000 (part of Textifood) called upon designers and stylists who are excited by smart and sustainable growth to imagine designs incorporating fibers which have been harvested from crop residues. On the menu: orange, lemon, pineapple, banana, coconut, nettles, algae, mushroom, coffee, rice, soya, maize, beet, wine, beer, fish and shellfish…
This truly is a sector for the future, as each year more than 700,000 tons of industrial waste is produced in Italy alone through the conversion of citrus in the agro-food industry. It is a thought-provoking exhibition that allows the public to view their waste with a different perspective. It is a long way from the pollutant culture of cotton or synthetic fabrics which is giving way to new textiles that are incredibly diversified.
Making leather out of pineapple waste
Piñatex – piña is Spanish for pineapple – is a new material created by Carmen Hijosa. The unimpressed 1990’s leather consultant started looking for alternatives to leather as it was a very polluting and expensive product. It was the strength and the fineness of the pineapple leaf fibres used in the Barong Tagalog that first alerted the Spanish designer of another option.
The fibres that make up Piñatex are extracted from pineapple leaves on plantations by farmers before they are cut up and layered. They are then put through an industrial process at the end of which emerges the textile.
“We can make shoes, we can make bags. We can make chairs, sofas. It can be panelling. Eventually it can be made into the interiors of cars, even linings.” -Carmen Hijosa
To learn more about Textifood, click here : modernwearing.com/trends-news/textifood-exhibition/
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