From the Fashioned from Nature exhibition at London’s V&A to “green” shoes, the theme is catching the imagination of designer labels, manufacturers and consumers alike.

[On cover: Photo Greenpeace Detox Catwalk in Bandung – © Greenpeace: Hati Kecil Visuals]

A strong signal comes from the Fashioned from Nature exhibition, opening on 21 April (until 27 January 2019), at the Victoria&Albert Museum in London: 300 fashion items and accessories that explore the complex relationship between fashion and nature from 1600 to the present day.

Salvatore Ferragamo has also expressed his “responsible passion” with the Orange Fiber Collection, a capsule collection created using a patented Italian fibre made with what is left of oranges after squeezing. A challenge, but also an opportunity in line with the Florentine brand’s philosophy of promoting research into sustainability and renewable sources, destined to provide new impetus for the future of Made in Italy fashion.

 

Also due to be shown at the V&A are some prototypes in Vegea, a material closely resembling leather that is made with grape waste from the wine industry. An experiment that also extended to footwear – so far unfortunately without a follow-up – thanks to the involvement of eco-designer Tiziano Guardini, winner of the first edition of the Italian Fashion Chamber ‘s Green Fashion Carpet Award, (v. article).

Generally speaking, at the present moment there is great interest in the fashion world towards products with reduced environmental impact or that reflect certain life-styles; so much so, that even various footwear collections claiming to be vegan thanks to their use of leather substitutes or sustainable materials have been created.
Such as Stella McCartney’s new Loop shoes, made with fastenings and stitching that obviate the use of glues in the sole construction; in alter-nappa and therefore in lace, knit or ‘fake-snake’, testifying to the design industry’s interest in recycling and the circular economy.

 

The Khriò D+ project for Spring/Summer 2018, a brand belonging to the Marche-based Alma footwear group, is also decidedly eco-friendly. D as in Dream, the desire for an environmentally sustainable world, but also D as in development, the on-going search for animal-free alternatives, and D as in design, for the minimal look and handmade detailing.
This is what led to the use of Appleskin, a material made by recycling apple peel and cores: a water-based glue and a cotton backing is added to the apple waste, creating an organic material that looks very much like leather. The end result is a gritty pair of sneakers in pastel colours obtained through painting techniques using water-based dyes.

While a.testoni’s proposal for the current season is a model of sneaker, with matching backpack, made of natural jute canvas and vegetable-tanned leather, with a sole made of extra-light rubber using only recycled materials.

A totally new project for A/W 18/19 comes from Ecoalf, with their Zero Waste sneaker: made of a composite material created by recycling PET plastic bottles fished out of the Mediterranean (thanks to the Upcycling the Oceans project promoted by the Ecoalf foundation), without strings or laces, and with a sole made of algae. So you can walk closer to nature!

And what about the shoes made of the innovative bio-based EVO ® yarn by Fulgar and produced using the Flat Knit technology, selected by Tiziano Guardini for his latest fashion show? EVO® by Fulgar represents an entirely new concept in yarn-making, offering a perfect combination of high performance and respect for the environment. The yarn is made in fact from the castor-oil plant, a non-food plant that grows spontaneously. Suitable for any textile application and ideal for sportswear, EVO® by Fulgar is ultra-light, super stretch and extremely breathable, dries quickly and does not need ironing, has thermal properties and natural bacteriostatic agents: a series of unique qualities and positive features that guarantee maximum comfort and unique performance while respecting the natural world.