Initiatives - Betterment: Clothing
In recent years, there have been several attempts at betterment in the design and manufacture of clothing. These initiatives include using recycled materials for added sustainability, enhancing clothing to improve health and athletic performance, and integrating technology into fashionable clothing to give individuals access to wearable tech. There are also a number of pending initiatives, such as energy harvesting clothes and self-cleaning garments, which are likely to be widely available soon.
- Concerns around the rise of so-called "fast fashion" have led to an increase in companies offering sustainable fashion. While production methods associated with a more sustainable approach often cost more, research has shown that they offer benefits, such as spurring innovation and protecting businesses from reputation risks, which can then result in greater profitability.
- A number of companies have embraced sustainable fashion. For example, Everlane, Patagonia, and H&M all produce garments from recycled plastics, despite it costing 10 to 15 percent more to manufacture clothes from recycled water bottles than by using synthetic fabrics.
- Adidas offers an entire range of clothing that is produced from upcycled marine waste. The Parley Ocean Plastic range includes sportswear made from plastic intercepted from remote islands and beaches.
- Some clothing manufacturers have focused on enhancing clothing to aid health, such as protecting people living with serious conditions, like diabetes.
- Siren Socks and Foot Monitoring allows people with diabetes to monitor their foot temperature and track possible inflammation, which can lead to ulcers and, ultimately, to the need for amputation.
- The socks link to an app and lets patients contact their doctor at the early sign of symptoms.
- Several companies have enhanced clothing to improve the day-to-day wellness activities of everyday wearers.
- The Nadi X yoga pants from Wareable X have vibrating motors woven into the fabric around the hips, knees and ankles and gently vibrate to guide the wearer on how to move. Sensoria, meanwhile, offers a full range of garments to enhance a plethora of activities, including socks that detect cadence and impact force.
- Betterment in clothing has also focused on high-performance sport. For example, a research programme at Loughborough University has worked with manufacturers to understand heat transfer, with the aim of improving clothing design for better performance. Under Armour has also produced enhanced clothing for athletes. The Athlete Recovery range absorbs heat from the body and reflects it back on the wearer's skin as infrared light, encouraging muscle recovery.
- There are several examples of wearable tech being integrated into more fashionable items of clothing.
- Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket was the first garment with Jacquard by Google woven in, allowing the jacket to wirelessly connect to a smartphone. The jacket then responds to gestures, which can be customized and used to perform actions like pausing a song.
- CuteCircuit is a company that makes clothes and accessories that can display messages and tweets. For example, the sides of their handbags are made of laser-etched acrylic mirror and enable light from white LEDs to shine through to create animations and display tweets.
THE GLOBAL CHANGE AWARD
- The Global Change Award is an initiative that offers the chance for fashion designers to compete globally by submitting their forward-thinking innovation in fashion.
- Previous winners of the award have included Sane Membrane, a biodegradable and mineral-based membrane for outdoor wear; Clothes that Grow, outfits that expand with the child while reducing environmental impact; Lab Leather, using microorganisms to create vegan biodegradable fashion, and; Grape Leather, using leftovers from winemaking to create fully vegetal leather.
INITIATIVES OF THE FUTURE
- A number of betterment initiatives are not yet fully-formed.
- Samsung filed a patent for smart clothing with in-built energy harvesting that gains power from the sun and from the wearer's body heat. The technology could have future applications in medicine, such as in blood pressure meters, as a body temperature meter, or as a heart rate meter and more.
- Researchers around the world are looking into the possibility of self-cleaning clothes. In Australia, they found a way to alter a fabric by dipping it into a special solution that coats it with copper and silver particles and makes stains disappear.
In order to find initiatives for the betterment of clothing, we searched clothing company websites, industry articles, consultancy reports, press releases, government reports, patents, academic research reports, and global competition websites. From these sources, we were able to identify several initiatives and numerous examples for each. While there are many clothing products currently on the market that incorporate these betterment initiatives, we were also able to identify potential betterment initiatives of the future from academic research papers and patent filings. This means that the initiatives and accompanying examples listed above offer a comprehensive overview of the betterment initiatives in clothing that currently exist, as well as the betterment initiatives that are likely to exist in the future.