If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin
(1/2 – This article is in two parts)
What is common between food and fashion? Nothing? Well not anymore. Keep reading.
Keeping yourself fed and clothed are two basic necessities. If you care where your food comes from, well then start caring from where your clothes come from too because not only food, clothes are loaded with chemicals too, beyond your imagination.
Food waste is being used by designers to develop fabrics and clothes and believe me, its fashionable. Let me peel the layers for you.
- Leather Vs Pineapple 🙂
Every year, the global leather industry slaughters more than a billion animals. Along with cattle, other animals—including sheep, dogs, and cats—are killed for their skin in China. In India, cows are forced to march for days—without food or water—to their own deaths. Cattle who collapse from exhaustion have their tails broken or chili peppers rubbed into their eyes in order to force them to keep moving.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the incidence of leukemia among residents near a tannery in Kentucky was five times greater than the U.S. average. Turning skin into leather uses dangerous chemicals, including mineral salts, formaldehyde, and coal-tar derivatives.
Massive tracts of the Amazon and other precious rainforest are cleared each year to produce beef and leather products. This has led celebrities such as Sir Richard Branson, and Leonardo DiCaprio to call for a ‘Ban on Beef’.
Click the Peta link in the references below and you will stop wearing leather.
Here is the alternate: Piñatex. Piña is Spanish for pineapple – the new material was created by Carmen Hijosa, who worked as a consultant in the Philippines leather goods industry in the 1990s. She was unimpressed with the standard of goods produced and started to look for alternatives. It was the strength and the fineness of the pineapple leaf fibers used in the Barong Tagalog that first alerted her that there was another option. ( At weddings and formal events in the Philippines, men can often be seen wearing the Barong Tagalog, a thin and transparent embroidered garment worn over a shirt).
Innovative company Ananas Anam has replaced cows with pineapples. Pineapple leaves are a by-product of the pineapple harvest and are often left to simply decompose. Now they’re being giving a brand new life and the process also creates an extra source of income for farming communities. With a similar appearance to canvas, it can be dyed, printed, and treated to give different types of texture. With treatment, the Piñatex can closely resemble leather while separate thicknesses are also produced, depending on the use of the finished product.
State Library scientist Dr. Peter Musk, who heads Australia’s only kombucha bio-textile research program with the Queensland University of Technology, described it as smelly and unpredictable but sustainable.
“It’s a democratic material which meaks anyone can make it in their kitchen with a minimum amount of fuss,” he said.
Most people drink Kombucha, but the culture can also be combined with yeast to create a curd, which is then stretched and dried, turning into what has been described as “vegan leather”.
The concept was pioneered in 2003 by London-based fashion designer Suzanne Lee, whose work has since been exhibited around the world.
Dr Musk’s Brisbane-based science and design team has been perfecting ways to make hard-wearing items such as kombucha shoes and jackets a reality.
Dean Brough, the head of studies at QUT’s School of Design, said kombucha clothing was already gracing catwalks in the United States and Britain, with designers such as Sacha Laurin leading the way.
Mr Brough said kombucha fabric was the ultimate in sustainable couture. “In principle you could actually make a garment out of kombucha fabric, put it in a blender, reblend it and make another garment because it’s just a cellulose fabric,” he said.
He said there is huge potential for widespread use. “To my surprise it hasn’t been taken up on a commercial scale — I think it could be mass produced commercially relatively quickly,” he said. “The technology is very low scale — it’s really just the volume that would be required.”
A foodshed refers to the geographical area where food is both produced and where it is consumed, similar to a watershed. In other words, the flow from origin to ultimate destination. What if we thought about fibers in the same way? That’s the concept behind Fibershed, regional textile communities that can ensure a “full-loop textile system,” where the fiber is grown, processed, and ultimately created into a wearable within the same geographical area.
Rebecca Burgess, founder of the Fibershed organization which aims to build more fibershed communities, it all began by developing and wearing a prototype wardrobe whose natural dyes, fibers, and labor were sourced from a region no larger than 150 miles from the project’s headquarters. Just like we can commit to growing our own food, we can also commit to growing our own fibers, or at least having an intimate relationship with those people nearby.
4. Permacouture: Plant a Dye Garden
A garden can sustain, but it can also help you create. Located in both London and San Francisco, organization Permacouture helps people to understand the connection between local food movements and textiles, and that plants can be used for food and fashion too. They also run a Seed to Sew project, promoting the use of heirloom seeds. Because if you have a vegetable garden, you can turn it into a dye garden. While there are common non-edible dye plants like indigo, there are many common edible plants that work well to dye with, like onion skins and red cabbage as well as flowers like sunflowers and hollyhocks.
Eat your vegetables and dye with them too? Gardening just got a whole lot more interesting.
Main image: Pixabay.com