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Sustainable and Stigma-Free Fashion

Posted by Emma Baron on

Song of the Week - Uptown Top Ranking by Donna and Althea

Since we're talking about sustainable clothing this week, and you're probably in the process of giving your winter/summer closet the Konmari method as part of your spring cleaning... This song is dedicated to staying true to your own style and knowing that you look damn good doing it. Turn it up.
The Long Form - The topic this week

Buying clothing is difficult enough with the vast differences in sizes between brands, the pressure to be a certain body type, and finding your own style. The addition of a sea of sustainability promises that we have to decode and fact-check makes us ready to just join a cannabis-friendly nudist colony and be done with it.


We have more choices than ever before, but it feels overwhelming. The world of fashion is our oyster with almost unlimited access to brands across the globe at our fingertips. The exciting thing about the tech explosion of the last decade is that in addition to greater access and information, there is faster idea generation and experimentation. We’re going to wade through the latest ideas and fashions in sustainable clothing with you, and we’d love to hear your thoughts!


Playing with concepts and producing new materials is becoming more feasible and fruitful as we prioritize greener solutions. We’re excited about the raw waste materials that are being repurposed, along with the changes in hemp laws that we hope will further de-stigmatize cannabis. We’re excited about fairness and freedom of personal style - from materials to motifs.


My mum taught me to buy cotton clothing - for comfort, function, and durability. I still have a hard time buying synthetic fabrics like polyester and rayon, but on our quest to learn more about eco-friendly fabrics, I’m going to set those feels aside and find us the best information.


After all, there have been many evolutions in synthetic materials since your (dad’s) 70s Disco suit. Instead of using petroleum, we can now make that polyester out of recycled single use ocean plastics, like drink bottles and fishing nets. Polyester requires less water than cotton to manufacture a garment.


Here’s the catch… it turns out polyester garments are also a contributor to our micro-plastics problem. When you wash your clothing, small plastic fibres break off and enter the water system. Also, the garments themselves are not recyclable, which means that suit is still somewhere near the bottom of your home town’s garbage dump.


Looking a little further in to technology in fashion, the business of alternative materials is booming. Realistically, it’s easier to make better materials widely available than to shift the consumption behavior of 7 billion people. Super cool new raw and waste materials like mushrooms; pineapple leaves; our namesake, Milkweed; and your friend, hemp are changing the name of the game.

Mycotex is the brain child of Aniela Hoitink. Made from mycelium (the root base of mushrooms) cultivated in petri dishes, this fabric is like a soft leather made from overlapping disks that are grown in a lab, instead of on acres of farmland. A mycelium t-shirt takes about 12L of water, versus 2500L of water to make one from cotton.


Piñatex is made from leftovers of all the piña coladas of your youth…which has maybe turned out to be a good thing? It took Dr. Carmen Hijosa seven years to develop and perfect this new textile solution made from pineapple leaf fibre, an agricultural waste product. Part of her motivation is fairness for farmers:

“Design is a connecting tool between people, economics and the environment - and out of this communion, understanding and respect new ideas and products with integrity can come about.”


Our namesake plant buddy, Milkweed, has a bit more history as an alternative insulator for outerware and life vests. The photo above is part of a WW2 public effort to find replacements for traditional fibers that became difficult to source during war. Obviously a tedious effort, the use of Milkweed in garment insulation hasn’t caught on in a big way, but we still encourage you to plant more for the Monarch butterflies!


Last, but certainly not least, our friend, Hemp. While it can be stiff at first, it softens into a lovely, comfortable fabric. The most cotton-like of alternative materials, we are very very excited to see more hemp clothing in our near future. Canadian designer Laura Siegel likes to weave hemp into her fabric blends, and we appreciate the slow introduction for long-term consumer education and commercial success.

 Other designers are working on the stigma part of the equation, like Sundae School’s subtle cannabis-influenced clothing crossed with traditional Korean garments, increasing visibility for Asian cannabis consumers. We're looking forward to the future of many choices in sustainability and sativa motifs.

The Social Calendar
Now stop looking at your computer and go outside!

Happy forest bathing,

Emma & Carol
Milkweed website

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