Innovative fibers, a gold mine to be explored for stores

The fashion industry consumes 25% of the world’s pesticides and emits more greenhouse gases than air and sea transport combined. According to the Fashion for Good report, dated 2021, around 1,000 billion dollars would be needed to finance the decarbonization of the sector by 2050.

The trend in the textile industry would therefore be towards recycled or natural fibers: eucalyptus, coconut, pineapple, milk and nettle, seaweed, hemp, flax… These materials constitute a gold mine to be exploited for the clothing industry and , in fact, , for ready-to-wear stores. These fibers are starting to enter the spokes.

Therefore, it is a value to follow for personal equipment stores looking for a niche to stand out in. Especially since, with the climate law, the first environmental displays on textiles will be tested in 2023. A promising start-up, Clear Fashion, is already offering an app that allows consumers to assess the overall impact of ‘a garment’. .

Tested and approved durability

Brands are thus starting their green shift. Germaine des Prés, a natural fiber lingerie brand, has just launched a line of babydolls and panties made from organic milk casein, with a touch close to silk, a material that requires very little water and energy. Organic cotton, hemp, linen, but also nettle, pinatex (vegetable leather), lyocell (eucalyptus), modal (beech wood), lotus, coconut, seaweed…

What do all these new fibers have in common? Your connection to nature. Another high value: fish leather. Ictyos, a French start-up, has already attracted 1,600 customers worldwide. “Destroying the skins of fish eaten in restaurants consumes energy. On the other hand, treating animal hides, whether exotic or more local, causes a lot of pollution, explains Benjamin Malatrait, one of the founders of Ictyos. That’s why we partner with restaurants to recover their fish skins, then treat them with vegetable tannins before dyeing them with reactive or vegetable dyes. The result ? An innovative, local, sustainable and low environmental impact marine leather. »

In an ecologically responsible way, our margins are lower, but our clientele is very loyal because we are not yet in the niche.

Léa Laurent, manager of Les 3 L Vegan boutique in Montpellier

These marine, salmon, trout, sturgeon and carp hides are then found in the form of bags, watch straps, etc. “Our clients, big brands or independent designers, came to see us out of curiosity. Today, they use our leathers for their durable appearance,” says Benjamin Malatrait. Proof that the trend exists. Brands and distributors interested in implementing innovative and recycled textiles can turn to Ceti, the European Center for Innovative Textiles, which offers information and assistance in prototyping.

An eco-responsible approach

Cevennes, vegan, Léa Laurent, head of the Les 3 L Vegan boutique in Montpellier, spent three years building her offer: “After studying marketing, I started as a saleswoman. But I wondered about the origin of the products I was selling. I dressed ecologically responsible and didn’t find myself in conventional fashion, she explains. Between documentaries about the animal condition and environmental concerns, I carried out a market study that enlightened me about the potential of this market. »

Launched in 2019, its store is always full. Textiles, shoes, bags and cosmetics: the entire offer is made of ecologically responsible, labeled and ethical products, not necessarily all made in France, but always of precise origin. “I only offer natural fibers, classics like organic cotton, linen, hemp, but also more atypical like shoes made from pineapple leaf fiber (pinatex, by the Naé brand) or corn leather by the French brand Magnethik. It took me three years to find serious brands that would allow me to reverse the somewhat hippie image of eco-responsible fashion. »

Result? Vegan customers for some, but also simply interested in a more responsible approach. “In the store it is necessary and very pleasant to be in the exchange, to know exactly why I chose a certain brand. In an ecologically responsible way, our margins are lower, but our clientele is very loyal because we are not yet in the niche. »

However, beware of greenwashing: adding a few eco-responsible bamboo fiber products to your shelves can lead to a one-time purchase, but to have an environmental impact and build loyalty, the fashion store of tomorrow will have to offer truly virtuous clothes. , presented in detail. With belief.

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