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EFF SOURCE Fashion business success without compromise

21 November 2016

5 Innovative Fabrics to Use Now

Contributor Ethical Fashion Forum

Paper Cloth 2


From recycled fibres to food waste to disposable textiles, Dr Kate Goldsworthy shares some of her top picks for the most exciting and innovative textiles that we could soon be seeing on runways.


Dr Kate Goldsworthy is Reader in Circular Textile Design at University of the Arts London, where she is a lead researcher in TED, at the Textile Futures research Centre (TFRC).

Kate’s approach is to bridge materials sciences and design through the production of design artefacts and models. Her new Laser Finishing process, developed during her doctorate, enables fully closed-loop recycling of polyester fibres at end of life, and has been exhibited internationally.

She leads the multidisciplinary Design Theme of the research consortium Mistra Future Fashion (2015-2019) and is also a researcher on the EU Horizon 2020 project, Trash-2-Cash.

SOURCE asked her for her top pick of fabric innovations to look out for and here are her top 5.

Circular Transitions Conference – November 23-24 2016

If you’d like to learn more, the Circular Transitions Conference on November 23-24 2016 will be the first ever global event looking at designing fashion textiles for the circular economy. Textile Futures Research Centre (TFRC) at University of the Arts London (UAL) will be bringing together world leading academics and industry experts in the field to imagine a future where materials are designed, produced, used and disposed of in radical new ways.

A full programme of 5 high profile keynotes speakers, 33 papers and 40 exhibitors will be making this happen at the Tate Britain on 23rd November 2016 and Chelsea College of Arts on 24th November 2016.

1. A.S.A.P Paper Cloth

Kate says “This is a project I am currently working on with colleague Kay Politowicz and scientist Hjalmar Granberg in Sweden for the Mistra Future Fashion programme. We are trying to develop a ‘non woven cellulose’ material for fashion use, produced with Swedish paper making technology and designed to be recovered through industrial recycling or composting.

Many sustainable fashion innovations are looking at longevity and we wanted to address the massive challenge of ‘fast fashion’! Could we imagine a future for a short-life material which could be designed with material recovery in mind at the outset? New prototypes will be launched in 2017!”

A.S.A.P PAPER CLOTH from Ethical Fashion Forum

2. Orange Fiber

Orange Fiber is a textile made by extracting the cellulose from the fibers that are discarded from the industrial pressing and processing of the oranges. The fiber, through nanotechnology techniques, is also enriched with citrus fruit essential oil. The result is a vitaminic textile that nourishes the skin.

Kate picked this because “It is another brilliant material innovation which uses an abundant waste stream from the food industry, and prioritises an ethical production ethos. Orange Fibre is a high tech cellulose fibre which is causing a stir! Last year they were one of the Global Change Award winners and are currently working on bringing their innovation to market.”

Orange Fiber from Ethical Fashion Forum

3. Recover

The Recover Upcycled Textile System regenerates cotton fibre from old clothing and cutting scraps. Recover cotton is produced using none of the water and toxic chemicals required for conventional cotton fibre.

Kate likes this because “it represents a real step change in mechanical recycling. They can produce quality material from waste cotton fibres and remove harmful impacts at all stages of production. One of the most exciting innovations is in the way they can mix pantone-accurate colours like mixing paint to create new tones from waste fibres. No additional dye is needed. Brilliant.”

Recover Textiles from Ethical Fashion Forum

4. Piñatex

An estimated 40,000 tonnes of pineapple waste is generated globally each year. Piñatex utilises waste taken from pineapple plantations in the Philippines, with local factories separating the strands and felting them together into a non-woven, leather like fabric that can be used for clothes, footwear or furniture.

Kate chose this as “it is truly remarkable. Not only have they produced a beautiful alternative to leather from an abundant waste stream. They are also passionate about the people in their supply chain. This material has been developed to benefit both people and planet.”

Pinatex from Ethical Fashion Forum

5. MYB Lace

Nottingham lace manufacturer MYB have adapted traditional looms and processes, adding a CAD-controlled head in place of punch cards so their 1900s machines can compete with modern demands.

For Kate “This is a fascinating example of how the latest technology can be used to preserve and protect traditional craft processes. This is super valuable as a way to preserve not only tradition but also industry and keep it flourishing locally in an ever more global supply-chain.”

MYB Textiles from Ethical Fashion Forum


More on Sustainable Sourcing

Go to the Sustainable Sourcing Series 2016/17 Homepage


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