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Next-gen materials gain pace, but systems change is too slow


The fashion industry is making progress on preferred materials, but greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, according to the latest report from Textile Exchange. Unless brands curb growth and invest in better supplier relationships, climate goals will remain out of reach. 

After a bleak report six months ago about the industry’s lack of progress towards reducing its impact, the latest update from non-profit Textile Exchange shows some improvement in its use of preferred materials. However, systemic change remains elusive.

Alternative materials — and better ways of producing them — have been a hot topic for fashion brands this year. The number of pilots and partnerships continues to rise, from plant-based leather alternatives like Von Holzhausen’s Liquidplant and Stella McCartney’s mycelium bag with Bolt Threads, to Ganni’s various investments in banana waste, cotton waste and yarn made from captured carbon emissions. Most recently, fast fashion giant Zara teamed up with Circ to launch a recycled fibre collection from polyester-cotton waste. 

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