Design of the times

Top eco clothiers share what they like about the latest crop of earth-friendly fabrics

By Zoe Cormier

Though not as inexpensive or readily available as other textiles, soy is soft, durable, and stretchy—it’s frequently described as “vegetable cashmere.” Soy thread is typically made with by-products of tofu and soymilk manufacturing, so it cuts down on waste. Proteins from the liquid leftovers are chemically processed into the fibers used for this plush fabric.
Designer’s Take
“Soy has a density to it that I like
to use for casual-but-elegant pants. And certain weaves create a very wooly feeling.”
—Linda Loudermilk, Designer of Linda Loudermilk

This relative newcomer is made from corn. Cellulose fibers are extracted from the plant and spun into fabric. Some are concerned about using corn for fashion rather than food, but the manufacturing process has a low environmental impact, and Ingeo garments are compostable and recyclable. Ingeo mimics the feel of nylon and polyester, but without the fossil fuels.
Designer’s Take
“It holds lines well, and you can make the textures krinkly and crunchy, almost like silk taffeta.”
—Nina Valenti, Founder of NaturevsFuture

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