Future Fabrics Expo 2018
By BEL JACOBS
In the push towards a more sustainable and ethical fashion industry, the need for alternatives to fabrics with heavy footprints on the planet has never been more urgent. Tomorrow, and Friday, the 8th Future Fabrics Expo takes over the Victoria House, highlighting some of the world’s most exciting sustainable alternatives to all those synthetic, chemical-laden materials that still make up the bulk of our fashion.
The Future Fabrics Expo is one of the world’s largest dedicated showcases of innovative, commercially-available fabrics and materials with lower environmental footprints. Following the journey from fibre to garment, the show - organised by The Sustainable Angle - offers a vision for an industry where creativity and designing for sustainability can contribute positively to the environment and communities.
Since 2010, the Sustainable Angle has been actively providing eager designers and creatives with access to thousands of curated sustainable materials. At the same time, the Swiss not-for-profit offers a continual programme of education about fashion’s impact on the planet - while focusing on solutions.
That hope is crucial; while focusing on the future of fabrics, the Expo will explore the ways in which fashion can be a real force for good.
The visitor to the Expo will have the chance to see thousands of fabrics and leathers with reduced environmental footprints, produced more sustainably and responsibly. These will include regenerated cellulosics such as Tencel TM by the global fibre maker Lenzing Group; recycled natural and synthetic fabrics, such as Hallotex’s The Loop collection; organic cotton knits and wovens; sustainable denims; low impact wool, silks, leathers and alternatives; sustainable natural fibres such as linens and hemps.
These materials represent true alternatives to conventional fabrics: procured from sustainable raw materials and produced with low impact processing technologies, designed with a material’s end-of-life taken into account. All were selected according to criteria with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion — water, waste, energy and biodiversity. A digital installation co-created with creative innovation studio Holition, will communicate the impact of fashion on nature as well as the solutions and opportunities that exist.
An Innovation Hub, including Fashion for Good’s Plug-and-Play Accelerator highlights emerging innovations and technologies with the potential to re-shape the fashion industry. Two areas - one curated by Vogue model Arizona Muse and one sponsored by Lenzing Group - showcase fashion brands integrating sustainability at the core of their businesses, such as the luminous Mara Hoffman, streetwear brand Armedangels and pioneering British designers Bethany Williams, and Mother of Pearl.
The popular seminar programme, now, in partnership with G-Star RAW, features speakers from some of the most influential organisations in sustainable textiles and fashion. Introductions will be made by by Clare Press, presenter of the Wardrobe Crisis podcast and Australian VOGUE's Sustainability Editor- at-Large; Arizona Muse, model and sustainability campaigner; and by myself.
Visitors can hear some of those at the frontline of sustainable fashion talk about their aims and hopes including Dilys Williams, Director, Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion; Matthew Drinkwater, Head of Fashion Innovation Agency, in conversation with Emma Scarf, Ventures Analyst, Fashion for Good’s Plug and Play Accelerator and Orsola de Castro, Co-founder, Fashion Revolution who will be in conversation with Claire Bergkamp, Global Director of Sustainability and Innovation, Stella McCartney
Other speakers include Edwina Ehrman, Curator of the Victoria & Albert Museum’s now seminal exhibition Fashioned From Nature. She will be in conversation with Ben Gleisner, co-founder of Connecting Good (CoGo) and Conscious Consumer Guide, asking whether a labelling system would help shoppers buy clothes that don’t cost the planet.