The Future Fabrics Expo by The Sustainable Angle took place the last week of June during London Climate Action Week. Designers, scientists, buyers, activists, regulators, founders, investors, students, innovators, business leaders, and all interested in the world of biomaterials filled Magazine London to discover new possibilities.
Displaying over 10,000 materials and solutions, The Future Fabrics Expo was all about exciting new solutions. Mycelium leather, bacteria dye, football jerseys made from recovered ocean plastic, and more decked the halls. The ideas at expo proved that we are only scratching the surface of what is possible when design, science, and technology come together to create solutions.
Purpose Driven Pioneers
The Seminar Series that took place on all three days brought together industry leaders and thinkers to discuss the past, present, and future of materials. This included Luke Haverhals of Natural Fiber Welding who emphasized the necessity of including “concept of scale and unit economics” in your company from day one. His company has raised over $175 million dollars and has partnerships with many companies including BMW, proving scalable, profitable, and nature-centered opportunities exist.
Additionally, Gen Z panelists emphasized the desire for transparency and authenticity from companies. Consumers are getting smarter at sniffing out greenwashing and know when a company is just talking about action as a marketing tactic, instead of taking the action the world desperately needs. Activist Saad Amer, on the topic of fast fashion stated, “We have to shift the culture of allowing that to be acceptable.”
Students’ Strides Forward
MA Biodesign student, Xue Chen who won The Mills Fabrica x Central Saint Martins Innovation Award had her work featured on one of the innovation tables at the expo. Collaboration was in the air at the expo and one of Chen’s partners for her Bio Invasive Textile Library, who provided waste for her to repurpose for her work, Nettle Circle, also exhibited.
Chen has been working on her technology for six years and on the topic of the future of materials she stated, “technology can’t just be beautiful, it must take responsibility for the ecosystem.”
Amanda Johnston, Curator and Educational Consultant at The Sustainable Angle, provided some advice for students entering the workforce hoping to create tangible change in their industry. Johnston stated, “Don’t underestimate the power of both individual and collective influence on creating change – whatever your role, form a sustainability group, exchange information and use it to inform and drive decision making in your work. Exercise your power as a consumer to vote with your wallet for responsibly produced products too!”
Luxury’s Long Term Investments
LVMH, a partner for the expo, showcased where they are investing in not only good environmental practice, but good business practice as well. Stella McCartney, a luxury leader in sustainable fashion, showcased a dress made with plastic free, non toxic, and biodegradable Radiant Matter BioSequins.
By Victoria Smith, MA Fashion and Creative Entrepreneurship student