Fashion designers are inventors, and often business owners to boot. Realizing that the world is turning increasingly towards the use of renewable resources, some enterprising and forward-thinking designers are following suit (pun intended). The result is a new and crazy world of sustainable fashion materials you've probably never heard of.QMilch: Sour Milk Silk
German fashion designer Anke Domaske is
also a microbiologist and has invented a way to turn sour milk (a waste
product) into silky dresses that have been worn by the likes of Mischa
It’s called “QMilch.” The “q” stands for
“quality” and “milch” is the German word for milk. The primary
ingredient is casein, a protein extracted from sour milk. It’s mixed
will all natural and organic ingredients (like water and beeswax) and
fed into a machine that turns them into fibers, which are in turn spun
into soft soft fabric.
Ingeo Corn Fabric
Using biotechnology, NatureWorks company
developed a fabric called Ingeo in partnership with Cargill and Dow
Chemical. The raw materials are made by fermenting sugar extracted from
corn. It is then turned into pellets that are converted into fabric. This is the same material used for making biodegradable cups and plates you may have used at your work place.
Pineapple SilkDo you like piña coladas? Would you wear pineapple silk? People in the
Philippines have been wearing it for centuries as part of their
traditional formal attire, but it’s just starting to make its way over
to the west and into the fashion world.
The piña production process is a bit involved, but as a traditional
craft it employs many local people. To make it, the fiber is first
scraped from the pineapple leaf. It is then washed, dried, waxed, and
bound into yarn before being woven into fabric that is silky and
For thousands of years, the stems of
stinging nettle plants have been used to make clothing. The clothes
don’t sting, but they are traditionally quite itchy. Napoleon’s armada
had nettle uniforms, as did the German armies in both World Wars when
the Allies controlled the cotton industry.
Enterprising designers and companies are
figuring out how to use the stuff sans-itch, so I see a potential for it
to grow in the market. Most notably, there is a Dutch fashion line
called Netl that uses the stuff almost exclusively in knitwear and
One British researcher even managed to make it into lingerie. She calls them Nettle Knickers.For more