One of the single biggest drivers behind the sustainable fashion movement is technology. We often forget or don’t realize just how important technology is to make a piece of clothing truly sustainable. Innovation is key to any major change, right? 

We’ve compiled some amazing ways technology is helping fashion become a cleaner, greener industry. 

Clothing Made From Food

There are a number of companies out there making apparel out of food. Let’s talk about Anke Domaske, a German microbiology student who used milk, tea, and coffee beans in her “Grow Your Own Clothes” project to create garments. Due to the success of her project, she went on to launch a company called Qmilk, which produces fabrics not only for the fashion industry but also for home and car furnishings. 

Clothing made from wasted milk fiber is not only ultra-comfortable but antibacterial and hypoallergenic as well, making it perfect for sensitive skin. 

For more interesting (and vegan — bonus!) materials, check out our article here

Air-Dyeing

Dyeing clothing is messy, toxic business. In fact, approximately 10%–15% of dyes are released into the environment during the dyeing process. Cutting out the need for toxic chemicals and large amounts of water and energy is necessary for making the process less harmful to the environment. Luckily, there is a company out there doing just that. California’s Colorep has come up with an “AirDye” system that uses 85% less energy and 90% less water than conventional dyeing. When it comes to contamination, the system is combating that too. Rather than allowing the chemical to lay on the fabric, the technology ensures that the dye is locked into the fabric — not even bleach and cleaning agents can get to it, meaning colors last longer and fewer chemicals are discharged from the material. 

3D Printing

3D printing has a number of benefits, the biggest of which is the capability to cut down on material waste. With 3D printing, clothing can be produced without excess material, which more likely than not would end up in a landfill, contributing to the nearly 21 billion pounds of textile waste sent there every year just from the US alone. From a designer’s standpoint, 3D printing also allows for virtual samples to be made, saving money, time, and energy needed for traveling. 

Some experts believe that one day, we’ll be able to print out customized, perfectly fitted garments right in the store, or even at home!

These technological strides are providing cutting-edge solutions to some of the fashion industry’s biggest environmental problems. While some of these new technologies haven’t necessarily hit the mainstream, it’s certain that over time they will become more prevalent and, subsequently, less costly, which will make clothing produced this way more accessible. Which one of these innovations would you don IRL? Let us know in the comments below or on our social pages!