Shine in the Age of Sustainability

Shine has always been a key trend in global design. As designers and consumers we can be drawn to all that glitters, especially around the festive season. Born from a need to convey wealth, status and class, shine in fashion & interiors has always exuded celebration.

But in the new age of eco-conscious design, what does the future look like for the shimmering side of fashion?

Shine in the Age of Sustainability moodboard

Aalto University | Structural Colour from Cellulose

Recognising our instinctual human attraction to shiny surfaces, researchers Blaise Tardy, Konrad Blockers and Noora Yau from Aalto University, have discovered a more sustainable and plastic free alternative to petrol based irridescence. Their iridescent coating, displayed at this year’s Dutch Design Week, is made from nanocellulose: an entirely wood-based pigment. The colour does not fade as it is structural, inspired by the structure found in the wings of butterflies. This natural take on what is normally petrol or plastic based coating garnered a lot of attention at DDW, showing there is a definite and increasing demand for nature-friendly shine solutions.

from Aalto University

Eastman | Naia™

Derived from the certified sustainably sourced wood, Eastman Naia™ cellulosic yarn and fabric gives an eco-alternative to the shine of synthetic fabrics like satins, polyesters & silks.

With full transparency from tree to yarn, NAIA™ cellulosic yarn is made of renewable sources from sustainably managed forests. It creates a fabric that breathes, wicks away moisture, is cooling, drapes elegantly and gives any garment a brilliant color with a luxurious hand.

Eastman | Naia™

With it’s incredible lustre and luxurious drape, it’s no wonder that several big names in fashion are partnering with Eastman to incorporate Naia™ fabrics into their collections. Most recently, designers like Gucci, Bottega Veneta & Moncler have added Naia™ fabrics into their 2020 collections (resort, main & cruise) while high street giants H&M are introducing Naia™ fabrics into their conscious range. While the fashion industry does have a long road ahead for fabric innovation to curb the damage synthetic textiles have on the planet, seeing Naia™ materials beginning to have an impact on big fashion brand’s fabric sourcing is a positive sign we are heading in the right direction for the future.

Bottega Veneta // H&M Conscious // Moncler

Elissa Brunato | Bio Iridescent Sequins

Maybe it’s our human need for looking out onto water that is behind the attraction to shimmering sequins and shiny materials?

However most glistening surfaces are often made from mined mica, vacuum metallised coatings or plastic films. A more sustainable alternative has been devised by Elissa Brunato who makes dazzling bio-iridescent sequins from naturally occurring crystalline cellulose. The micro structure refracts light at different wave-lengths to produce an effect similar to the beetle’s glistening shell or shimmering fish scales, and they will return to earth in the same way that these creatures do when they die.

from Elissa Brunato

The Sustainable Sequin Company | Biodegradeable Sequins

Rachel Clowes, the one-woman wonder behind “The Sustainable Sequin Company”, founded her business from a need for a more Earth-friendly alternative to plastic sequin embellishments. Her main range of sequins she supplies to independent designer makers, small brands like East and students alike, are created from recycled pre-consumer waste PET. Her most innovative project however, is the fully biodegradeable sequin, currently in sample stage in partnership with the BioComoposites Centre (see pics below).

These sequins will be machine washable and completely biodegradable at end of life. The next step is to chose the biodegradable pigments… We think these could spell the end for plastic sequins when we launch early 2020

The Sustainable Sequin Company
from The Sustainable Sequin Company

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