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Sustainability is a constantly hot topic. With each passing year civilization strains the resource limits of our planet further and excess waste piles up in landfills or is dumped in the ocean. Needless to say it is a very serious concern. Fashion has contributed more than its fair share to this dilemma, particularly through disposable ‘fast fashion’, giving the industry a reputation as especially harmful to the environment. But it does not have to be this way!
At Wolford we intend to change both the perception and reality of waste in the fashion industry by charting a new path towards true sustainability. By carefully selecting recyclable and renewable materials, and then using both biological and technical methods to create a closed circle of production, we can create a more sustainable future for fashion. Our current goal is for 50% of our products to be ‘cradle to cradle’ by the year 2025. Let’s take a look at our current line of sustainable products and the materials and methods that will help us achieve sustainability in half of our collection over the next few years.
Our biggest step towards a sustainable future is already available: The Aurora Collection. All our Aurora products are Cradle to Cradle gold certified, a standard that ensures none of their materials will do harm to the environment at any point during production.
The C2C ideal strives to create a model of production that emulates the elegance of nature. Natural ecosystems have evolved over millions of years for maximum efficiency. When a tree loses its leaves, or falls in the forest, its ‘used’ components contribute to the growth of new trees and nourish other organisms that share its environment. Nothing is wasted, nothing is lost. The same is true in an ideal C2C design, except we are creating the process that breaks down and reuses the materials. (More on that later)
Aurora is pioneering methods that we hope will someday be commonplace not only throughout our collection but in the fashion industry generally. Its success, much like the ideal of sustainable production as a whole, rely on the careful selection of materials and methods that make sustainability possible.
It’s a popular misconception that fashion is all about looks. To solve the technical challenges of creating a sustainable model of production our lovely nerds went into the lab and flexed their strongest muscles (their brains). They, of course, rose brilliantly to the occasion and delivered a variety of clever solutions. The first step was carefully selecting materials early in the planning phases that are sustainable and/or renewable. Here are a few of the materials that we use at the moment to help make sustainability possible.
Biodegradable Yarns Suitable for Composting
Research is ongoing, and we hope to discover and implement even more materials in the future. But simply choosing the right materials is not enough, the next step is ensuring that those materials can be recycled or renewed so that they can then be reused in future production.
Achieving sustainable production requires new methods, we cannot simply continue what we were doing and hope for better results. With that in mind we employ several methods to recycle and renew materials so that they can eventually be reused to create future products.
The Biological Cycle
This is the most straightforward method. When products are recycled using the biological cycle we simply mimic what our natural environment has been doing for billions of years. Some materials can simply decompose into biological nutrients to enrich soil, grow plants, and then start the cycle anew.
The Technical Cycle
Unfortunately, not all materials can simply decompose so easily. For these cases we rely on the technical cycle. In that case industrial methods, such as depolymerization, are employed to separate and regenerate materials so they can be reused to create future products.
Nylon is a particularly tricky material to break down, so we renew and reuse it instead. Reclaimed nylon, such as Econyl® by Aquafil, gives old materials a new lease on life. For example fishnets that were once used on boats can be renewed and repurposed to create delightful trend styles such as floral net accents. From the high seas to high fashion, sustainability is all about finding new purposes for old materials to minimize waste.
Sustainability is not always the easy path but there is no doubt that it is a necessary for the future of fashion. In our vision of the future we see a world where we can find a balance that allows us to have a vibrant fashion industry without sacrificing the health of our planet.
It is frightening to consider the effect our species is having on the planet, especially industrial processes, but we cannot give up. We have created the problems which means we can also create the solution. Our goal is to set an example that proves sustainable fashion is achievable. We look forward to exploring new methods and refining our current techniques as we approach 50% sustainable production by the year 2025. If you share our vision, please support the Aurora Collection and look forward to future product announcement regarding sustainable styles. This is only the beginning.