Fashion manager Marina Coutelan is commenting with Le Boudoir Numérique on the last edition of Première Vision Smart Square, dedicated to eco-friendly creation.
By Ludmilla Intravaia
Le Boudoir Numérique : The Smart Square of Première Vision Paris, dedicated to eco-friendly creation, had a new feature this year, the Smart Materials, where visitors were able to discover the most innovative materials of the moment. Which one of them did attract the most interest from the public?
Marina Coutelan, fashion manager : A product that is much talked about is Pinatex, a natural alternative to leather, made from cellulose fibers extracted from pineapple leaves. Similarly, in the field of leather tanning, less polluting solutions are developed, in alternative to chromium tanning, for instance. We presented the Deepmello and Olivenleder initiatives that use respectively rhubarb root and olive leaves as tanning agents. These products are particularly interesting in terms of circular economy, in the sense that they value secondary materials, which have already had a first life. Rhubarb is used to make pigments in cosmetics and, like olive and pineapple, is used in the food industry. Here, the residues of an industry, usually discarded, come to life to become the pillars of another. Also noteworthy Roica of the Japanese company Asahi Kasei, the first biodegradable stretch fiber, without release of toxic materials for the environment.
Another novelty of Smart Square, the Smart Wardrobe which exhibited silhouettes or models of eco-friendly fashion. What was the purpose of this presentation?
We wanted to show visitors that eco-responsible fashion already exists in stores and that it can really be attractive. We chose to highlight young creators as Marine Serre, darling of the fashion industry who practices upcycling (creative reuse of used materials to design new products, with superior quality, AN). The dress that we had on display includes a skirt made of scarves found in second-hand stores to which the designer has given new life, as well as a more technical top in recycled polymers. The young designers emerging on the market, the Millennials, have grown up with this concern for respectful manufacturing and, as such, it is naturally integrated into the base of their work. It is very exciting to follow these unprecedented fashion proposals, using for example recycled materials or bio-polymers (from renewable resources, plants for instance, and potentially biodegradable, AN). We also highlighted, among other things, the collaboration between Adidas and Parley for the Oceans (a collaborative environemental platform to raise awareness on the protection of the oceans, AN), which led to the production of sneakers and sporting goods in recycled materials from the plastic waste fished in the oceans. When we see the success of this Adidas Parley collaboration, we understand how this type of initiative is stimulating for the future.
A dress in compostable bioplastic made by 3D printing by the American designer Sylvia Heisel was also exhibited in the Smart Wardrobe. Do you think that 3D printing of biodegradable clothing is a good lead for the future of fashion?
Biopolymers and materials made from natural resources, such as corn starch or castor oil, represent a very interesting lead that has already been the subject of much research. And it is in this area that innovation will experience its greatest developments in the next three years. The bio-polymers will allow to produce products with very technical looks corresponding to the urban sportswear trend in vogue for the moment, while being mostly biodegradable, with a lesser impact on the environment. As for the 3D printing of clothing, it is not for tomorrow. It remains a niche sector. But biodegradable 3D printing fashion accessories will experience a much faster development and will multiply on the market from now on. So, one will buy earrings, will wear them one or two years and then will throw them in the compost of the garden, where they will disappear without harm for the environment. This will allow consummers to buy small fast fashion products, that they will not necessarily want to wear for a long time, while being part of an eco-friendly approach.
Fashion is above all an industry of desire. When you buy a product, whatever it is, you buy a love at first sight. And if eco-friendly companies are now able to offer products as attractive as other fashion goods, it is because they have understood the need to combine eco-responsible fashion with creative and innovative fashion. One of the paths to succeed in this challenge is to multiply the different ways to consume sustainable fashion products. In other words, we must take into account the desire of consumers to possess beautifully designed fashion creations that will be kept for a long time in one’s wardrobe but also products, more in tune with the times, which will be renewed very quickly. The important thing is not to be limited to one approach.
According to you, what is the role that fashion tech could play in eco-responsible fashion?
Fashion tech and eco-responsible fashion will come closer and closer in the future, because their actors have now realized how much they need each other. As a consumer, I find it amazing to have access to these ultra-modern connected products. But what do we really know about the recycling of all these computer chips, in these augmented clothes? Fashion tech must take into account its impact on the environment, while eco-friendly fashion can not ignore innovation and technology to move up a gear. Many bridges are born between the two sectors. I am thinking, among others, of Fashion for Good (a fashion platform for eco-responsible innovation, NA). More and more incubators are making work together the actors of these segments of the industry, considered two years ago, as diametrically opposed. Fashion tech and sustainable fashion have every interest to work hand in hand, it is now obvious.