TED Talks: Sustainability

Tonight, I watched a few Ted Talks on the growing efforts to maintain sustainability in the textiles industry.

  • We throw away 30kg of clothes every year
  • The textile industry is one of the world’s top 5 polluters
  • Textile production is “old, and a limping beast”, same rows of seamstresses, same unproportional demand of cotton fields, water, energy and chemicals
  • 6 is the average amount of times we use a garment before we want to dispose it
  • “The Rag Bag” is a way of making valid use of what we call “trash” now
  • Put a used garment in the bag, seal it and put it in the mail box, and then the garment is donated!
  • If every european donated a t-shirt, we would save 1.8 trillion litres of water
  • Suzanne Lee uses a kombucha-based material that can be used like fabric or vegetable leather to make clothing
  • It needs green tea, sugar, microbes and a bit of time
  • The microorganisms spin cellulose in a fermentation process
  • Overtime, the tiny threads form a matte surface
  • After 2.5 weeks, the matte surface layer is about an inch in thickness
  • It doesn’t need light to grow
  • Needs to be evaporated
  • Fruit and vegetable staining, iron oxidation are more natural ways to dye it
  • Doesn’t need to be dipped in a lot of indigo like cotton, to achieve a very dark colour
  • But it isn’t water resistant
  • We can grow what we need, so there’s no waste, and we can make it from a waste stream (waste sugar stream etc)
  • The pollution absorption jacket- changes from yellow to black to indicate how much carbon emission you’ve absorbed in everyday
  • She creates visualisations of data
  • Swarvoski is a very smart material company, and has been exploring wearable technology
  • Swarvoksi can lab grow their stones
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Suzanne Lee- Bomber Jackets

Lee demonstrates that we need to deliver a fiber that is either much cheaper than existing materials, highly unlikely, or it has to have advanced performance features for which people are willing to pay a premium.

I gathered that it would be extremely successful if I could create a piece that’s 100% sustainable, but if it were to involve complex mechanisms in the textiles, then that would be a problem. It’s very challenging to create a mechanism if I am restricted in materials to use too. I don’t think I am going as far as growing the fabric for FMP, or any other biological processes as I am conscious of the time we have, so I will need to clarify what mechanism I want to achieve exactly soon.


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