Ditching Disposable Fashion: How To Capture The Shift To Fashion That Lasts
As fast fashion is challenged by increasingly eco-conscious consumers, apparel brands are redesigning garments for longevity. Manufacturing with durable materials and quality construction is one step, and we can add further value with textiles that are color-fast and have stain-resistant and odor-control properties so that they stay fresh and new-looking for longer and need less frequent washing.
With millions of followers, social media influencers shape fashion trends today. But platforms like Instagram and TikTok also give everyone the chance to get involved by showing off their latest buys and showcasing their style.
This trend has helped nurture a throwaway culture, where re-wearing outfits is a fashion faux pas. It has also accelerated demand for near-constant access to new but inexpensive clothing. The fashion cycle is now so fast that popular brands are designing, manufacturing, distributing, marketing, selling and retiring collections in just a matter of weeks.
But this may now be changing.
Putting the brakes on fast fashion
The environmental cost of fashion has become front-page news worldwide. Governments are taking a stronger stance against pollution and waste. And high-profile celebrities are championing ethical fashion on the red carpet and via their social media feeds.
Whether they are ready to change their behavior or not, many mainstream consumers are coming to realize that disposable fashion is wasteful. Indeed, First Insight has found that the majority of Gen Z and Millennial shoppers say they prefer sustainable brands and are more willing than older cohorts to pay more for sustainability.
While predictions are always challenging, investment bank UBS indicates that the market for high-volume/low-cost apparel could decline by between 10% and 30% over the coming five to ten years. So, what does this mean for brands?
Delivering apparel that lasts longer
The shift away from fast fashion will leave consumers needing to buy garments that look new for longer—garments that won’t fade in the sun or through washing and drying—and that resist stains and odors so that you can wash them less often and keep them for longer. In practical terms, this means that brands that produce apparel that is both eco-friendly and long-lasting can capture market share.
Unfortunately, there are still many textile dyes in the market that are not able to keep their vivid colors and deep dark shades through repeated home laundering. Alkaline washing powders and chlorinated tap water contribute to garment fading, especially for popular cotton and cotton-rich fabrics. Mechanical abrasion in the washing machine and the use of a clothes drier makes things worse, leaving clothes looking drab.
Color-fast textiles with stain-resistant and odor-control properties that reduce the need for home washing are already possible thanks to innovations from Huntsman Textile Effects and its partners.
Color that won’t fade
True durability demands the right dyes, pre-treatments and application processes, with formulations that are stable, reproducible and globally available. Leading brands also have exacting Restricted Substance List requirements and frequently want solutions that meet Oeko-Tex® and bluesign® standards, just to name a few.
- Huntsman’s High IQ® Lasting Color eco is a leading color retention scheme for textiles produced with a minimal environmental footprint. Covering the entire shade gamut and color spectrum, it relies on Huntsman’s award-winning AVITERA® SE reactive dyes to reduce water and energy consumption by up to 50% compared to best-available technologies. Excellent washing-off performance further shortens processing time, helping brands enhance the cost-effective production of garments made from world's most widely used textile fibers: cotton and other cellulosic fibers and their blends.
- Huntsman’s Terasil® WW dyes are wash-fast disperse dyes that provide the best wetfastness performance available today for polyester and its blends. Delivering outstanding results even for deep and very deep shades, they ensure that high-performance sportswear and athleisure garments will not bleed or stain during home laundering, or while in storage or transit, when temperatures can reach as high as 75°C.
Fabrics that resist stains
Huntsman Textile Effects and The Chemours Company have worked together for three decades to create more environment-friendly stain-resistant finishes.
- The industry’s first renewably sourced water-repellent finish, Teflon EcoElite™ with Zelan™ R3 technology contains 63% plant-based materials. It offers excellent water repellency and durability on wool, cotton and blends while preserving fabric breathability – meeting or exceeding performance levels possible with traditional fluorinated technologies.
Teflon Eco Dry with Zelan R2 Plus technology is an update to the range that contains 30% renewably sourced plant-based raw materials and delivers a high level of durable water repellency. Fabrics treated with Teflon Eco Dry resist stains and need less frequent washing, retaining their newness for longer.
Garments that smell fresh
Odor-causing bacteria that naturally occur on the skin are difficult to remove from fabric, especially with the lower-temperature wash cycles that are popular today. Worse, unpleasant odors can get locked into untreated synthetics, causing consumers to throw away garments that would otherwise last longer.
Huntsman Textile Effects and Sciessent have partnered to bring revolutionary antimicrobial and odor-control solutions to brands to meet demand for garments that smell fresh for longer and need less frequent washing.
- Sciessent Lava X2® is a next-generation non-bioactive odor-control solution. While other odor-control technologies capture odors and release them during laundering, Lava X2’s triple action technology utilizes zeolite minerals with a large surface area to capture, absorb and degrade odors as they pass through the fabric. It’s anti-odor protection regenerates with each wash.
- Sciessent Agion Active X2® combines Sciessent’s Lava X2 and Agion® technologies to deliver outstanding odor protection. The Agion antimicrobial fights odor-causing bacteria on the garment, releasing its active antimicrobial agents only when needed for long-lasting protection. At the same time, the Lava X2 odor-control solution captures odor generated by sweat on the skin. The result is that garments smell fresher for longer and sustain a high level of performance for more wears.
As consumer attitudes continue to change and sustainability becomes a fashion statement that is hot for every season, brands can harness these innovations to stay ahead of the curve for long-lasting success.
Craig White, Senior Marketing Manager – Global Brands, Huntsman Textile Effects