Sustainable Fashion: Gen Alpha Trendy Fabrics & Textiles

Sustainable Fashion: Gen Alpha Trendy Fabrics & Textiles

The rising concern for the earth’s environment is leading us towards a turning point in the green fashion (or sustainable fashion) industry. Young generations often blend with fashion trends and drive sustainability transformation, and the current generation of youngsters isn’t different. There is something about teenagers’ and young adults’ sense of fashion and attractiveness nowadays. Often, we can see what may seem like too little fabric to wear or look seductively cool, like the female band “Seduction” in the 1980s.

Young generation fashion sense for attractiveness.
Photo by Kenzie Kraft on Unsplash.com

We can also witness interesting fabric designs worn by the current society. Layer upon layer, dancing way back to the 1970s of Abba’s time, bringing back classy looks with a modern spin. Though both technology and society’s fashion tastes are changing, something is interesting about Generation Alpha (Gen Alpha). After all, fashion trends may not be influenced only by public figures, media, or price tags that decide who wears what. The widespread knowledge of climate change and critical thinking of this upcoming generation leaves us with an important question: how much natural cotton or natural silk can we also avoid due to sustainability concerns?

Generation Alpha is living at a time where fashion also means “going green” and “staying sustainable”.

Generation Alpha Revolutionizing Sustainable Fashion

Generation Alpha is a group of people born between the year 2010 to the present date. The term “Alpha” relates to the first generation to be completely immersed in digital technology. Therefore, they are also termed as iGeneration for being the youngest tech savvy society. They are distinguished for their out-of-the-box approach to everything and unique consumer habits.

Gen Aplhas' sense for fashion and technology.
Photo from Canva.com

At least 2 billion people from Gen Alpha will involve themselves in present and future fashion consumption.

While this generation will continue to grow in numbers, the efforts in SDG 12 will continue to increase and aim to fulfil their goals by 2030. Gen Alpha is becoming more sensitive and attentive towards these goals and sustainability in general as global efforts promote sustainable consumption and production. This is exactly why Gen Alpha fashion trends can have a significant impact on sustainable goals as well as the fashion industry in general. 

Sustainability Meets the Manufacturing Industry

In the manufacturing sector, extensive research has begun. The fashion industry is undergoing a major transformation, fueled by a growing awareness of sustainability and a push for responsible consumption. We are led to make sustainable choices in the fashion market as well as to adopt circular economy approaches. The modern concept of sustainable fashion with a focus on ethical production and eco-friendly materials is more recent, with generations like Millennials and Gen Z becoming increasingly vocal about sustainable textiles and garments, pushing the fashion industry towards more eco-friendly practices. Specifically, in advanced cities advocating circular economy solutions and cities that embrace eco-friendly shopping practices, these habits are revolutionizing the fashion sector.

Generation Alphas' use of technology to access eco-friendly options.
Photo from freepik.com

 

Gen Alpha has improved access to sustainable textiles and garments every day.

Research isn’t the only thing changing the textile, garment, and fabric industry. Numerous sustainability compliances and policies are tightening the sector for more circular, ethical, and sustainable practices. For example, the European Clothing Action Plan, EU Ecolabel, REACH Regulation, and the EU strategy for sustainable and circular textiles. The existence of these regulations will affect the fashion economy and Gen Alpha’s inclination towards sustainable solutions.

A graphic from EU scientific database representing the impact of gen Alpha on fashion sector and trends.
Photo from EU Scientific database

 

As illustrated, Gen Alpha is set to significantly impact the fight against climate change by tackling a minimum of 10% of the carbon emissions generated by the fashion sector. The fashion industry is the second biggest polluter globally, exceeding the emissions from both international air travel and maritime shipping combined. So, what types of textiles and fabrics are the future of the fashion industry?

 

Top 4 Trending Eco-Fabrics Made Circular

The key terms to remember in the circular economy model are reduce, reuse, recycle, and redesign. We can effectively manage resources to minimize pollutants, prevent waste, and rethink production processes to ensure sustainability and solve global environmental problems.

A finished fashion product contains 98% fibres, from which 73% are transported to landfills.

Let us have a look at some great examples of the types of fibres and textile properties which are easily bio-degradable:

When Fashion Becomes Resilient, Biodegradable, & Iconic

Researchers have discovered that dried leaves can act as effective chemical compounds to bond with other multifunctional materials, producing bio-products. Scientific evidence shows that these leaves possess remarkably strong properties. See for yourself:

  • Try sitting on a bespoke furniture product made with dead leaves from autumn trees and matured plants.
  • Or show off your new watch made from cactus and pineapple leaves by Treehut.
  • Finally, a global Australian fashion manufacturer uses leaves from Thailand to create stunning fashion accessories.

You can explore more examples of biotech innovation creating bio-fabrics made from banana plant stems, fruit peels, and other deforestation-free resources. As you can see, there is a growing number of start-ups and businesses driven by the demand for vegan leather and bio-fabrics.

Showcasing vegan leather from cactus.
Photo from Canva.com

Gen Alpha co-exists in a world where sustainability is embedded in e-commerce. Personalized vegan materials are a must-have for their shopping experience. Their expectations have high standards with an interactive shopping experience provided by traceability information about the textile and fabrics. With these conveniences, together with Gen Alpha, all of us have more retail options. In addition, we are more prone to having a refined taste when selecting unique, sustainable materials to self-express ourselves.

Dress Smarter, Not Harder: Sustainable Fashion Revolution

Yes, we can enjoy smart textiles that are both durable and affordable!

Since 2012, countries like China and New Zealand have been exploring the use of rice straw as a sustainable material for making textiles because of its antibacterial and fire-resistant qualities. Companies found that rice straws can be easily processed to a fine fibre texture, suited to be weaved into elaborated fabrics. From time to time, advanced technology has made breakthrough innovations to utilize other types of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs). Microorganisms and bacteria can extract CNCs, an affordable process resulting in the production of smart textiles. Finally, Oryzite came up with a brilliant way to recycle rice husk to produce apparel accessories like buttons. This shows the fast-growing movement towards smart textiles made from cellulose.

Stay Cozy in Faux Fur With 100% Recycled Fibres

One of the world’s leading faux fur manufacturers and suppliers has attained a positive reputation for introducing an alternative material to natural fur, which is often sold in luxury fashion retailers. High fashion taste consumers now find faux fur to be comparable to genuine fur materials, thanks to its complex production process and snug look. With the result of special finishing touches required to manufacture high-quality faux furs, faux fur often cannot matt easily. For example, here is a German company that has a long history of producing top-quality faux fur and venturing into circular recycling.

Gen Alpha Embraces Sustainable Fashion with Bio-Based Fibres

The majority of widely consumed fabric and textile materials cause microplastic pollution in our current situation. For this reason, advanced technology has developed Polyhydroxyalkanoates polymer fibres (PHAs) since 2021. PHAs can serve as a great biosynthetic alternative to fossil-based fibre. We can consider ignoring conventional synthetic fibres and opting for PHA materials instead. Why not? Given that PHAs have benefits to mitigate and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, PHAs can be used to produce bio-based fibre from biomass and carbon capture processes. Surprisingly, in March 2024, a global clothing company decided to delve into PHAs. Trendy global retails are undeniably to eventually retail bio-based textiles and apparel. Gen Alpha’s eco-centric values resonate with this trend.

Gen Alpha Revolutionizes Textile Shopping with Sustainable Choices

To put it another way, Gen Alpha and the present society together will not just embrace “sustainability” as a core value. Subsequently, a sustainability-conscious fashion ecosystem will push all consumers to leave behind organic materials, eradicate a pile of polyesters, or avoid natural materials. To conclude, by choosing trendy sustainable alternatives, we can all consume fewer natural resources and avoid harming the planet’s ecosystem.

We will definitely keep an eye on more trending materials! So stay tuned and share our article with other fashionistas.

 

 

Hi, I am Ariel Toh. Trained in sustainability research from academic institutes, I take meticulous detail to article write-ups. By working with like-minded professionals and companies, I believe we can harness "more sustainability" in the world. I share articles here which suit a wide-profile of audiences seeking valuable information.

 

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Article also published in our founder's blog: My Shade of Green