April is many things to many people but for H&M, it’s time to publish their 2016 Sustainability Report. This year, it committed to utilizing 100 % recycled or sustainably-sourced materials by 2030. They also committed to using innovative sustainable substances and that includes ‘cow poop’ textile.
Would you wear an outfit made from cow’s poop?
It committed to this outlandish “giant step for mankind” at their H&M Foundation’s Global Change Award in Stockholm in an innovations challenge, centered on the future of textiles. No time was ‘wasted’ on the subject either, as much of it was spent on questions like: Would you wear a dress made out of poop? Yes, poop! And even though there was further discussion about leather jackets from grapes, etc. the poop possibility is the mention that, of course, is hitting the circuits.
Now why would H&M — a successful, modern, fast-fashion dispenser — go to such lengths as to encourage brown ‘cow poop’ for a greener environment? The answer is in the poignant words of H&M’s CEO Karl-Johan Persson, the 42-year-old grandson of H&M founder, Erling Persson. He points out that for one thing, it makes good business sense: “I think there is a big responsibility for companies and private individuals who have size or resources to think a little bit wider – if we all do, I think the world will be better. Secondly, I care about H&M long-term. We are dependent on resources. In the short-term it’s costing much more because we have to invest, but long-term it makes good sense.”
H&M’s plans for even further greening of their fashion operations is to switch to 100% renewable energy electricity and has collected 39,000 tons of unwanted clothing in-store as well as producing a ‘Conscious Collection’ made from organic and sustainability materials.
Raising more than a few eyebrows,“Manure Couture” was one of the five top innovations which won a percentage of the 1 million British Pounds award grant offered at the Global Change Awards in Stockholm. The winners also score access to an acceleration program in conjunction with Accenture and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. This program will help them develop their textiles and products and connect them to the fashion industry.
“Manure Couture” was jokingly named by Dutch artist, team leader, Jalila Essaidi, who quipped, “I just want people to give a shit about the planet,” Her team’s innovation aims to convert cellulose from cow manure into a biodegradeable textile. Essaidi also said that this new revolutionary fabric literally made from cow poop is called Mestic and Refinery29 added that it does not smell like poop, (whew!). Refinery29 said that garments using Mestic, featured in the 2016 fashion show, really did look wearable and attractive.
Still, with all this poop conversation, the grand overall winner in Stockholm at the H&M Awards turned out to be another “natural” alternative — ‘Grape Leather.’ This was put forward by an Italian group who intends to use leftover grape skins and stalks from wine production to create another innovative material for clothing.
British Vogue Daily tells us that this green shift is taking hold across the fashion industry. For instance, at the high end, Zara and Mango also released collections that are sustainable as well as at the luxury end of fashion, like Stella McCartney’s lines, where leather or fur has never been used, and who has long been a pioneer in green fashion in the use dyes, organic fabrics, etc.
Fashion has turned an obvious corner. It seems it’s not just about looking good in your clothes, it’s about feeling good about the company you’re buying from. But most likely, vanity will still prevail in the collective environmental conscience. Still, we could venture to say that with grape skins and cow poop as their possible base, sustainable clothing may actually become more brown or purple than green.
Featured Image: https://twitter.com/trustedclothes/status /850030599813439489
Other Sources: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/poop-clothing_us_58e7d6f0e4b058f0a02efa77
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