Fashion Tech Labs’ Miroslava Duma (second from left), Patricia Ermecheo from Osomtex (left) and Stella McCartney (right) discuss sustainable fashion with actor Selma Hayek and her spouse, Kering CEO Henri-François Pinault. Engadget
On Sunday, there were no cars in Paris as the city clamped down on soaring pollution and tried to honor the climate accord that bears its name. With Paris Fashion Week here too, garment makers must face their own part in the planet’s despoilment. An incubator called Fashion Tech Labs (FTL) is trying to break the textile pollution cycle with new tech like stem-cell leather, recycled fabrics and ultra-strong spider-silk-based fibers. At Google’s Paris Arts & Culture Center, I had a look at some of the tech and talked with FTL and the event’s esteemed host, sustainable designer and fashion icon Stella McCartney.
The fashion industry uses obscene amounts of water and fills dumps and oceans with materials that linger for generations. “You have to understand the impact the fashion industry has on our environment,” McCartney told Engadget. “It’s the second-most-harmful industry on the planet. We need to take responsibility.”
McCartney is on the forefront of sustainable fashion, having used “skin-free leather,” recycled fabrics and other innovative materials ever since her company launched 16 years ago. Another major manufacturer experimenting with the idea is Adidas, which has developed several shoes in conjunction with ocean-plastics recycling organization Parley. Adidas plans to eventually produce up to a million of its Ultraboost Uncaged Parley shoes by the end of 2017, but for now, production is in the thousands.