Thursday, December 17, 2009

Material Sustainability

Everyone is talking about green fabrics but what is the real story of material sustainability and eco-sensitive fabrics. As we explore this subject in detail we find our concept of sustainable design shifting and evolving.

Interior designers have an amazing choice of fabrics to choose from. They can range from cottons, silks, linens, flax, hemp, wool, polyester, and rayon blends. The list is enormous! What is best? Are recycled fibers always best? Are natural fibers always better than synthetics? Synthetics, especially polyesters, appear to be getting a bad rap. A look at how each is produced may change your opinion.

I met Jennifer Castoldi, founder, CEO, and Chief Creative Director of Trendease International, at a textile trade fair in Brussels this year. She gave a really enlightening lecture on material sustainability and changed my preconceptions on what green is all about.

Take a look at her video on the subject.

LCA, or life cycle assessment, is a cradle to grave approach to understanding the environmental impact of the products we use. A product might be natural but it may have a larger environmental footprint than certain synthetics.

The textile industry worldwide is constantly evolving. The environmental impact of both natural and man-made materials will improve as the mills further develop better finishing processes and dyeing techniques.

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