The fashion industry creates 20% of the world's waste with areas like the United Kingdom buying twice as many clothes as compared to a decade ago and discarding about one third of it. Even though cotton and leather are biodegradable, they still greatly contribute to environmental concerns. Cotton alone requires almost 4,000 gallons of water to produce one pair of jeans. These environmental challenges leave many looking for innovative and eco-friendly materials to use.
Some new solutions include material made from discarded pineapple leaves and material made from mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms. Mycelium is used not only for garments but also used to create food and packaging. Bolt Threads in California uses mycelium to create a vegan leather, which has already been scouted and used by Stella McCartney in her designs. Unlike faux leather, their mycelium "leather" is very expensive, and is comparable to the cost of real leather. It faces the challenge of affordability to take on mainstream customers. However, the real problem lies in customer's buying habits, not just the materials used in garments. In order to make a significant change, customers need to start viewing clothes as a longer term investment rather than a one-time wear purchase.
To learn more, read the BBC article here.