The Natural vs. Synthetic Debate

This week’s article, “Material Diversity” by Fletcher, was an enlightening article. However, I did not have an epiphany.  I did think this was a great article to wrap up our readings in this course.

Material diversity is all about seeking out alternatives for the materials we currently consume.  As of now, 80% of the fibers we consume are either cotton or polyester.  This leaves little room for alternatives.  As the designers and leaders in the fashion industry, we need to lead the way in seeking alternatives for fibers.  We learned a lot about alternatives that are available for natural and synthetics.  If we are to use natural fibers, we need to look at the organic options and look at organic and non-toxic treatments.  There are also fibers available that are synthetic that come from a natural source such as corn.  These facts are so important to know in the industry because we need to be actively seeking alternatives in order to diversify our fiber usage.

We also analyzed the debate of natural vs. synthetic.  Although it is commonly thought that natural is always better, this is not necessarily the case with fibers.  Even though using natural fibers can be better, the processes that the natural fiber may go through with treatment, finishes, and water usage can then release toxic chemicals into the water that the people living in the area use for their livelihood.  This is the case in many areas surrounding textile mills such as the mills we learned about in China.  These poor practices not only affect us in the industry, but they also affect us as human beings.

The L.O.L.A. show this week also shared some interesting views. I found the fungi packaging particularly interesting.  It was fascinating how it could be dried, expanded, and formed to create packaging or even insulation.  Ecovative is definitely a company that we should be looking out for in the future!

I would like to learn more about fiber options and their properties in order to have a stronger grasp on how to diversify fiber sources in the future.  I cannot believe this is my last short blog, YAY!

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