Material Inpiration: Sustainable Textiles & Treatments

Material Inpiration: Sustainable Textiles & Treatments

Friday, November 18 2016

More consumers and corporations alike are taking on the responsibility of being ethically responsible from the materials they manufacturer to the products they consume.  In our disposable fast-fashion culture, we can throw things away without a second thought on what this could be doing to the waste crisis. This has now become the responsibility of suppliers and manufacturers to constantly seek out new options in manufacturing to help decrease their impact upon ever-expanding landfill sites and our oceans. New technology can enable textile houses to process materials using less water, less chemicals and less energy. Rosalie McMillian, London based sustainable designer stated though most of thinking these day, “I think sustainability should be the first thing people think of when they want to design something, asking ‘Where are the materials going to come from?’ ‘How and where will something be made?” (Independent, 2016)

Sustainability is not a new concept but it is also one that continues to evolve and adapt to the ever changing, social demands.  In a world filled with limited resources and a growing social conscious, the demand for easily regenerated materials, environmentally responsible supply chains and manufacturing processes is stronger than ever.  Further exploration into waste reduction through up-cycled by products and chemical alternatives that have less ecological impact are the logical next level to maintaining a sustainable future.

Infograph of The ECONYL Regeneration System that consists of six production steps that form a closed loop. Photo Credit:

Intrinsic values of Sustainable Textiles & Treatments

  • Carbon Footprint
  • Long-term
  • Ethical
  • Climate Control
  • Self Sufficient
  • Water conservation
  • Regeneration
  • Fair Trade
  • Energy Efficient
  • Human Rights
  • Reduce chemical use
  • Waste reduction
  • Responsible supply chains

Upcycle Repurposing

In a time of high consumer consumptions, we find there has become a growing concern with controlling waste and limited resources for new production. Discovering new innovative ways to reuse discarded byproducts from a variety of sources to create new materials thereby greatly reducing waste from the environment has become a great focus in the future of sustainability with closed looped production and manufacturing. Here we explore some of the latest forms of eco upcycling working to achieve just that.

Image above: Giulio Bonazzi, Chairman of Aquafil Group. Photo Credit: Econyl Blog


ECONYL fibre by Aquafil
Made from 100% regenerated nylon created from waste diverted from landfills and oceans through the recovery of abandoned fishing nets and other discarded nylon waste materials. It has the same quality as regular nylon with the added ability to regenerate without compromising quality. This fiber offers high durability, breathability and lightness which makes it an eco-friendly material perfect for everything from swimwear to outdoor sportswear. Some of the brands using Econyl include: Volcom, Levi’s, Adidas, Asics, and Speedo.

Orange Fiber uses citrus waste, a by-product from the Italian juice industry to produce high quality textile fibers, which have a low environmental impact.

“Our innovative and patented process reduces the cost and the environmental impact of pollution related to the industrial waste of citrus juicing, by extracting a raw material apt for spinning. Our solution offers the opportunity to satisfy the increasing need of cellulose for textile, thus preserving natural resources. This process reuses waste products, saves land, water and environmental pollution.” ~ ORANGE FIBER

Sicily, Italy has a massive production of citrus juice that leaves approximately 700 tons of wste materials. Photo Credit: The Sustainable Angle 


The Blue Jeans Go GreenTM by Cotton INC
This program collects denim across the country and up-cycles it into UltraTouchTM Denim Insulation, which they then provide to communities in need each year.  It takes roughly 500 to 1,000 pairs of jeans to create enough insulation (approximately 2,300 square feet) for one average-sized home in the US. 

Eco-centric Processes/Treatments
The planet’s dangerous climate crisis has continued to force us to explore ways to drastically reduce our negative impacts on the environment.  Being responsible through the use of easily regenerated materials or repurposing waste is one extension but another route is focusing on safer, eco-centric chemical processes for fabric production.  Manufacturers have been improving upon the various washing, dyeing and finishing treatments of textiles and materials through advanced new technologies and chemistry.  With all of these combined efforts and continued innovations we can only hope to see greater reduction in waste of precious natural resources and overall direct environmental damage.   

Image above: The first finishing machine certified as ecological by an independent textile insitute. Photo Credit:

Image above: Jeanologia process applications such resins for 3D effects, easy care/wrinkle free, water repellency and sofetning. Photo Credit:

  • Zero Discharge Technology eFlow from Jeanologia is based on nanobubble technology and acts as a carrier to transmit properties into any fabric or garment. Through this technology a minimal amount of water is needed leading to zero discharge.  The functionalization is the process of changing the properties (function) of fabric.
  • “Washed by the Atmosphere”- G2 is more than an all-in-one ozone machine. It’s a safe and ecological way to wash garments achieving the best reproducibility in the market. This technology allows significant water and energy usage reduction. It also eliminates the need of toxic processes such as bleaching and permanganate usage.  By utilizing the air from the atmosphere, G2 Cube reproduces ozone gas conditions to give garments the real look of outdoor usage.
  • “Nimbus-z” by Garmon Chemicals, offers safe processes for the nebulization of enzymes in closed systems, which aims to alter the traditional idea of stone washing.

This form of chemistry reduces water consumption by nearly 80% during the washing process as well as significant energy reduction.

  • It delivers “enhanced viscosity and fluid dynamics of the formulations selected for nebulization. This translates into more efficient contact and reaction between active principles and fibers, as well as an optimization of the chemical consumption.”

  • “Monocel” is a new generation of smart and responsible lyocell-from-bamboo yarns. These developments represent a new option in eco-responsible yarns, with a unique color range delivered through an Ultrasonic Natural Plant Dyed process.  It is believed to be one of the most advanced water saving techniques available today. The patented process uses liquid plant dyes in the new ultrasonic ‘attachment’ technique to create a high level of color fastness, therefore greatly improving energy efficiency and emissions reductions due to lower temperatures and shorter dyeing times. With the combination of Monocel plus natural plant dyes from medicinal Asian fruits and flowers, the company says, “it has achieved a beautiful colour range that is unique to the ultrasonic process and offers yarns that are completely non-toxic and gentle to the skin.”


  • Active wear
  • Swimwear
  • Denim
  • Home textiles- carpeting/rugs
  • Outdoor

Continue the sustainable conversation with our SOURCING at MAGIC post on the sustainability Generation


Blue Jeans Go Green. // Econyl. // Jeanologia.

Garmon Chemicals.


Orange Fiber.

Sims, A. (2016). “How the fashion industry is helping the world's rubbish problem”. Independent.