The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

21 February 2008

Future fabrics

The old pecking order for fabric, says Lisa Armstrong in Harper's Bazaar (March), is being upset by "moral considerations":

Materials that used to be considered down-market — polyester, for instance — are gaining kudos because they usually don't require dry cleaning (an environmental offender) and, coincidentally, pack like a dream. The ever-pragmatic Alber Elbaz, patron saint of modern elegance, has begun using — shock, horror — polyester at Lanvin because, he claims (not without some irony, as he's lined it with silk organza), it's cheaper than cotton, once the proletarian of all fabrics. Environmentally, polyester may well be cheaper than cotton, which, unless it's grown organically, consumes more than its share of pesticides. For similar reasons, jute, which grows in warm, rainy climates, has acquired a kind of utility chic, along with hemp. When I recently met Lauren Bush, she was wearing a cute little puff-sleeved hemp blouse that she'd made herself the night before and that had the sheen of silk, without the conscience-pricking burden of silkworm cruelty. Now, that's modern.

But the real winner in this particular derby is bamboo:

[It] can grow more than three feet a day, making it about as sustainable as something about to be culled gets, and it produces a lustrous textile that's soft, takes brilliantly to dyes, and is eminently breathable.

Still, there's more to green fashion than the seemingly-obligatory air of smugness:

According to Jo Paoletti, an American Studies professor at the University of Maryland, "In the future, smart clothing that monitors and adjusts to body temperature may help us reduce our need for air-conditioning and heating." That means fashion that is truly seasonless. Which means you may never need to buy anything ever again. But when did need ever come into it?

Me, I'm waiting to see if anyone wears white after Labor Day.

Posted at 6:55 AM to Rag Trade

TrackBack: 10:57 PM, 22 February 2008
» Fabric Snobbery from Violins and Starships
I find this quite amusing. Apparently, it's now okay for proper, fashionable people to wear polyester. Nature lovers, have no fear, there are still some natural fabrics that are fashionable. I'm very interested in seeing some bamboo fabric myself....[read more]