The impact and destruction generated by the fashion industry are already known. The second most polluting industry is responsible for ten percent of all CO2 emissions, and It produces 2.1 billion tonnes of waste annually.
Even knowing these numbers and adverse scenario, the consumption of fashion is expected to increase. From 62 million tonnes in 2015 to 102 million tonnes in 2030. And the environmental damage is rising as the industry grows. In 2014, Greenpeace published Dirt Laundry, showing that up to 70% of China's rivers are polluted. It is not only the production of fibers that pollutes our waters, but synthetic textile dyes are also the cause of this pollution.
How to change this scenario?
Designers and visionaries believe that the answer to this problem is nature itself.
With the interaction of design, biology, and technology it is possible to develop responsible materials that do not cause damage to the environment.
Studio Nienke Hoogvliet
Since childhood, Nienke Hoogvliet has a connection with the sea. Growing up near the sea, in The Hague (the Netherlands) place where she experienced the fondest memories of her life.
Already as an adult, she was aware of the vast quantity of garbage thrown on the beaches. "if this much trash gets washed ashore, how much is floating where we don't see it? ". Since then this question was incorporated into her work as a designer and researcher of materials.
She felt responsible for working on projects that would increase people's awareness of the damage that pollution is causing.
Micro-algae and seaweed can convert CO2 into oxygen, thus providing a large quantity of the earth's oxygen. And that cultivation does not require much farmland and never needs insecticides and pesticides, unlike the production of cotton, for example.
Focusing on the potential of seaweed as a textile material, Hoogvliet created a natural seaweed yarn, the basis for its first project called: Sea Me a handmade carpet knotted by hand in an old fishing net.
Her interest has not stopped only in material use but in the colours that seaweed can produce.
Taking advantage of everything that seaweed can provide us with, the Dutch designer went on to research the pigments that kelp can produce. Depending on the type it offers a color range from greens and browns to pinks and purples.
Dutch Water Authorities have recognised the potential of wastewater to good use. Kaumera, the name given to a material extracted from sludge granules in the Nereda® water purification process was the basis for projects that could give new life for this discarded source.
Nienke Hoogvliet was invited to use this material in her project, the application of Kaumera in the textile industry. With a dye process, she uses the pigments, Anammox and Vivianite, also derived from wastewater, and developed soft and organic colours in the fabric.
She created a tie-dye-nouveau dyed pigment kimono with this wastewater base.