Polyester Gets a High-End Makeover
Man-made fibers—including, yes, polyester—are an increasingly important component of high fashion. Polyester remains a dirty word to most people, so designers cloak non-natural textiles in euphemisms like “technical fabric.” Christina Binkley has details. (courtesy of WSJ.com)
The New High-End Eco Fabric
Demand for high quality recycled polyester is now outstripping supply, thanks to growing use by diverse brands such as Armani, H&M, Patagonia and Esprit, which are using the material in an increasingly diverse range of applications. The opinion of the fashion world seems unanimous - fashion retailers across the world have expressed optimism about the recycled polyester fibre market.
Recovery and recycling of polyester provides important environmental benefits that cannot be overlooked. Textiles present particular problems in landfills, as synthetic fibres will not decompose, while woollen garments decompose and produce methane, which contributes to global warming. Recycling polyester significantly reduces the need for landfill space in this capacity. Recycled polyester also reduces pressure on virgin resources and results in less pollution, as fibres do not have to be manufactured or transported from abroad.
Polyester textile recycling has been developed using the clear plastic water bottles, or PET as the raw material. The most common form of textiles made using recycled polyester is fleece, a knitted pile fabric often used by outdoor clothing companies to make jackets. Patagonia are the most well-known promoters of polyester recycling and have partnered up with Teijin, a Japanese company who have developed their own closed-loop polyester recycling system.
Fabrics made from recycled items are now becoming more commonplace, with recycled polyester made from recycled drinks bottles now being made by companies such as Marks and Spencer, EcoSimple and Armani jeans.
Armani have been incorporating eco fabrics and design since the mid 90’s. Their first eco project started in 1995 with the development of a process to recycle denim. This was revolutionary for the time and the jeans were displayed at the Science and Technology Museum of Milan. Later that year, Armani Jeans developed new materials using 60% recycled wool and recycled cross dyed cotton and introduced hemp eco washes into the collection. This experimentation has continued with the production of an organic knitwear range, the use of pure alpaca and the engagement with fair-trade cotton projects in Peru and Bolivia and recycled polyester.
EcoSimple is another company whose fabrics are a blend of recycled cotton and RPET, which is made from plastic bottles. These fabrics are available in a rich assortment of hues, and seamlessly combine beauty and functionality while supporting environmentally- and socially-responsible business practices. EcoSimple’s fabrics are impressive examples of how eco-friendly textile production and incredible design are not mutually exclusive. Along with a growing number of clothing manufacturers, they have made a commitment to innovation, social responsibility, and high-quality fabrics that draws conscientious designers the world over.
(courtesy of Le | Souk)