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What do these cradle-to-cradle products mean for the future of fashion?

The fashion and textiles industry is typically water, energy and materials intensive in terms of its production methods, with variable, but often short use cycles, and no clear path for the product utility or material recovery to maximise beyond that initial use phase. Though the industry as a whole will continue to be a large scale, cross-value chain and systemic challenge, Fashion Positive’s recently released collection of Cradle to Cradle certified materials might represent a good starting point for shifting towards a more regenerative framework.

Fabrics, yarns, buttons, labels and dyes are all included in Fashion Positive’s recently released Materials Collection, an online portfolio, which offers the basic story and background story of products, as well as providing technical details and availability information.

Photo credit: Joe Lencioni via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA
Photo credit: Joe Lencioni via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Designers can draw on the 30+ materials in the collection knowing that they have all either received a level of Cradle to Cradle certification or a Material Health Certificate. Critically, the Cradle to Cradle standard is of course not only about doing less bad, but about seeking materials that can make a positive impact.

“Materials are also assessed against our Standard, so not only are they potentially circular, they are also making a positive impact right now. To obtain Cradle to Cradle Certification, materials are assessed against requirements in 5 standard categories ensuring holistic environmental quality that goes beyond circularity,” Lewis Perkins, the President of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, recently told Sustainable Brands.

Photo credit: Joe Lencioni via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA
Photo credit: Joe Lencioni via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Diversity and innovation are at the core of this collection, which includes Dystar Textile Dyes, the first dyes company to earn Cradle to Cradle certification, Natura Sewing Thread, a low-impact and highly customisable thread option, and much more.

Cradle to Cradle certified materials are, of course, one important part of a wider fashion, textiles and fibre picture. Discarded garments are being transformed into new fibres by Seattle-based Evrnu, while other innovators are exploring new materials created using banana stems and pineapple leaves and startups are working to harness synthetic biology to grow the clothing of the future.

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Seb Egerton-Read

Seb Egerton-Read

Seb writes daily content for Circulate across the full spectrum of the website's topics. Previously he has spent five years as a freelance writer for a number of websites and blogs. You can e-mail Seb at seb[at]