Materials. Where do we start? This is a vast topic, which is both complex but equally exciting when we discover all the possibilities, both new and old, that are currently available to us with so many more innovations on the way. We feel materials is such an important and interesting area of investigation that we can not possibly fit everything in one article, and so, with this article, we mark the beginning of an ongoing dialogue between you and us about materials; expect more like this as we continue to learn and progress through our material world.
As circular economy and zero-waste are pillars of all the products you can find on Ccrave, we are constantly searching for initiatives, people, and companies turning trash into treasure or products that start with materials that will eventually return to the earth as nutrients rather than poison. These ideas and projects inspire and push us to continue striving to provide people with healthier options for themselves, the planet and the future.
A recent source of inspiration and hope for us is the book Why Materials Matter by Seetal Solanki, a London-based materials designer, researcher, writer and tutor in Interior Design Royal College of Art. This visually stunning investigation of natural and man-made materials will change the way you look at the world around you while offering hope for the future of our planet.
Luckily, we live in a dynamic and inventive time, and more and more material advancements are becoming available to us. So, we would love to take the liberty of introducing you to some of the sustainable materials already being applied to products so that you can welcome them into your lives! How exciting! Here we go:
Initially invented in Taiwan in 1998, stone paper is a highly innovative printing material that uses significantly fewer materials than conventional paper production. The texture is sleek, smooth and handles many different mediums, including pens, pencils, markers and watercolours without any bleed through. Regarding its ecological footprint, this kind of paper uses no water, no trees, no additives, is recyclable, waterproof, tear-resistant, flame resistant, durable, anti-bacterial, non-toxic, and UV degradable (that’s a lot of benefits!). All this adds up to a whopping 67% lower eco-footprint in contrast to conventional paper. So, if you’re obsessed with beautiful stationery (like us), feast your eyes on these stone journals by Paper on The Rocks.
Many people don’t know this, but denim production is one of the most ecologically damaging sectors of the fashion industry; this is a sobering truth for us denim lovers. Therefore, finding better ways to produce and manufacture it has been high on the agenda for years. Luckily there is HSNT! HSNT produces radically different denim and is an entirely circular denim brand. But how do they do this? Not only do their jeans make your butt look mighty fine, but their jeans are also made from 56% recycled denim fibres, 21% Tencel® and 23% Greek cotton. The recycled denim fibres were sourced from HNST’s ‘time to harvest’ collecting campaign, where more than 6000 pairs of old denim were collected in Antwerp, Belgium. So it could be time for you to get HNST!
Another wonderful jeans brand we are keeping a close eye on is NOWA (NO WAste) Jeans! Why are they so great? They, too, make new timeless jeans and jackets by (1. Collecting and sorting leftover denim from the cutting table 2. Disintegrating and shredding them into cotton fibres 3. Spinning by transforming the cotton fibres into a thread 4. Weaving to create their NOWA fabric 5. Design and craft your NOWA Jeans. Sound good? Check them out here.
Fish Nets (Econyl)
Fishing nets are made of nylon, a plastic textile. Instead of throwing them away, which causes further harm to our environment, Econyl decided to transform nylon waste into a new yarn that bears all the exact characteristics of virgin nylon, therefore, decreasing the demand to produce the resource-intensive raw nylon! Econyl’s main application is in the fashion and furniture industry, and here are some fantastic brands ready for you to try:
Plastic sea waste
By now, many of us have seen the harrowing images alerting us to the sheer amount of plastic waste that ends up in our oceans. Seaqual is one of the initiatives looking to clean up our oceans so that this waste doesn’t end up in marine life and ultimately in our bodies (if you eat fish); yikes! Sequal takes on a collaborative community approach to cleaning up our oceans. They then work with the waste management and recycling industries to transform this marine litter into Upcycled Marine Plastic so that leading brands and manufacturers can create inspiring sustainable products, like ones by WAYZ sneakers.
The skin of apples has many exceptional properties that can be transformed into a new raw material, providing an alternative to animal leather. This material is versatile bio-based and a premium quality leather alternative with a significantly lower environmental impact.
Recycled rubber is sourced from old sneaker soles, car tires and more. This rubber is robust and has outstanding quality. This provides a massive environmentally conscious opportunity for shoe and sneaker producers to change. Every year to produce new rubber, 18 million hectares of RainForest are cut down and replaced by great swathes of palm oil trees and rubber plantations. This massive deforestation of the earth’s lungs and scientists estimate that at current rates, that Rain Forests will vanish altogether in 100 years.
KOMRADS Sneakers use both apple leather and recycled rubber, so check out their unique styles.
Possibly one of the first, most innovative, and popular vegan leather alternatives is Piñatex®. Pinatex uses pineapple leaf fibre which is an agricultural waste product, and transforms it into leather. Their business model is also based on helping current farming communities to have a new commercial opportunity from their pineapple waste with minimal environmental impact!
SKIZO applies Pinatex to their stylish designs, so check them out!
Mushrooms continue to amaze us; they really are magical! Mycelium is a new technology founded in 2018 and uses mushrooms and sawdust to grow and develop two different kinds of bio-based materials, including foam Mycelium and Mycelium Substrate. You can even grow it yourself; find out more here!
All in all, whenever we decide to choose an item to wear against our skin or put in our homes, being aware of that material and its lifecycle could give you a moment to consider if it’s right for you. So here, we aim to highlight the options you already have at your fingertips and provide you with space and moments of pause in your day to be aware and consider; What is it made of? Could one day be turned into treasure? Or How will it return to the earth?