HOW DO COMPANIES COMMUNICATE THEIR ‘SUSTAINABLE’ MATERIAL INNOVATIONS ON COMPANY WEBSITES?
HENNINGER, C., YAN, S., WOOD, J., BRYDGES, T., LE NORMAND, A., QUIJANO, L.
International Journal for Sustainable Fashion and Textiles
The fashion industry has long been criticised for its unsustainable practices in terms of production processes and the materials used to create garments and accessories. As such, sustainability in fashion is not new per se, but what is classified as ‘sustainable’ is changing as technology and new innovations are continuously emerging.
This article focuses on material innovations centring on future materials that have been created to replace existing materials including, but not limited to animal skins, plastics, and other materials classified as ‘vegan.’ These existing materials have previously raised concerns regarding sustainability practices. Thus, a key question that currently lacks in the research and is addressed within this article is: (1) whether these material innovations are ‘sustainable’, (2) to what extent are they sustainable, and (3) what might make them a ‘better’ alternative.
This article provides a critical account of such innovations by performing a comparative secondary analysis of 21 ‘innovative’ materials that are currently used or could be used by luxury fashion brands and fall within the self-proclaimed categories of either vegan, plant-based, plastic-free, or sustainable. As these future materials are often seen as replacements for leather and synthetic materials derived from fossil fuels, this analysis provides insights into these materials, alongside how and what information is promoted to consumers on a corporate website.
BACTERIAL CELLULOSE GROWN FROM KOMBUCHA: ASSESSMENT OF TEXTILE PERFORMANCE PROPERTIES USING FASHION APPAREL TESTS
WOOD, J., VERRAN, J., REDFERN, J.
Textile Research Journal
Bacterial cellulose (BC) has been suggested as a sustainable alternative textile for apparel. Previous studies have evaluated the production of BC sheets and the suitability of these to form garment shapes. The laboratory measured physical performance characteristics of BC from an apparel perspective remain relatively unexplored.
The aim of this study was to produce reproducible sheets of BC, enabling the evaluation of the performance of the BC in an apparel textile testing context, and comparison to other textile materials. Grown in sterile black tea with glucose, the BC presented as a mesh of non-woven nanofibers, and thus comparison was made with three non-woven fabrics. It has also been suggested that BC could be used as ‘vegetable’ leather; therefore, performance comparisons were conducted with animal skins.
Utilizing British, European and International standard test methods, the selected fabrics were evaluated for their performance in tensile, elongation, moisture vapor permeability and abrasion tests, relevant for an apparel end-use.
Tensile strength testing revealed that BC is weaker than its animal counterparts but does display similar physical characteristics at the point of failure; however, it displayed a higher tensile strength than the non-woven fabrics chosen for comparison.
BC was the least breathable and most moisture-retentive of all the fabrics tested, raising questions regarding its suitability and comfort for apparel applications in its untreated state.
However, BC displayed superior performance when tested for resistance to abrasion, suggesting it could be best utilized in the form of encapsulated patches in items subjected to this type of damage.
DEVELOPING TEXTILE SUSTAINABILITY EDUCATION IN THE CURRICULUM: PEDAGOGICAL APPROACHES TO MATERIAL INNOVATION IN FASHION
WOOD, J., VERRAN, J., REDFERN, J.
International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education
The textile industry needs to adopt environmentally sustainable approaches to address ecologically damaging practices. Whilst driven by initiatives such as Textiles 2030, it is current students who will carry this agenda forward. This project investigated pedagogical approaches to develop sustainable textiles for the fashion design curriculum. Pilot studies, using bacterial cellulose (BC) as a material for millinery, revealed members of the public were prepared to experiment with this novel material, and BC was compatible with traditional hat-making techniques. A further study challenged secondary school students, based on an experiential learning model, to grow their own BC biofilm, exploring this as a sustainable apparel fabric. Initial attitudes of reluctance developed into acceptance once engaged in the practical activity. This study illustrates that with appropriate communication and education strategies, the principles of sustainability in fashion, and the acceptability of novel materials, can be engendered in different audiences.
REPRODUCIBILITY OF BACTERIAL CELLULOSE NANOFIBERS OVER SUB-CULTURED GENERATIONS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF NOVEL TEXTILES
WOOD, J., VAN DER GAST, C., RIVETT, D., VERRAN, J., REDFERN, J.
Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
The textile industry is in crisis and under pressure to minimize the environmental impact on its practices. Bacterial cellulose (BC), a naturally occurring form of cellulose, displays properties superior to those of its cotton plant counterpart, such as enhanced purity, crystallinity, tensile strength, and water retention and is thus suitable for an array of textile applications. It is synthesized from a variety of microorganisms but is produced in most abundance by Komagataeibacter xylinus. K. xylinus is available as a type strain culture and exists in the microbial consortium commonly known as Kombucha. Whilst existing literature studies have described the effectiveness of both K. xylinus isolates and Kombucha in the production of BC, this study investigated the change in microbial communities across several generations of sub-culturing and the impact of these communities on BC yield. Using Kombucha and the single isolate strain K. xylinus as inocula in Hestrin and Schramm liquid growth media, BC pellicles were propagated. The resulting pellicles and residual liquid media were used to further inoculate fresh liquid media, and this process was repeated over three generations. For each generation, the thickness of the pellicles and their appearance under SEM were recorded. 16S rRNA sequencing was conducted on both pellicles and liquid media samples to assess changes in communities. The results indicated that the genus Komagataeibacter was the most abundant species in all samples. Cultures seeded with Kombucha yielded thicker cellulose pellicles than those seeded with K. xylinus, but all the pellicles had similar nanofibrillar structures, with a mix of liquid and pellicle inocula producing the best yield of BC after three generations of sub-culturing. Therefore, Kombucha starter cultures produce BC pellicles which are more reproducible across generations than those created from pure isolates of K. xylinus and could provide a reproducible sustainable model for generating textile materials.
WEARABLES FOR DISABLED AND EXTREME SPORTS
ALLEN, T., SHEPHERD, J., WOOD, J., TYLER, D., DUNCAN, O.
Digital Health Exploring Use and Integration of Wearables - Academic Press (May 2021)
This chapter is concerned with the use of wearable devices for disabled and extreme sports. These sporting disciplines offer unique challenges for sports scientists and engineers. Disabled athletes often rely on and utilize more specialist equipment than able-bodied athletes. Wearable devices could be particularly useful for monitoring athlete-equipment interactions in disability sport, with a view to improving comfort and performance, while increasing accessibility and reducing injury risks. Equipment also tends to be key for so called “extreme” sports, such as skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, bicycle motocross, rock climbing, surfing, and white-water kayaking. These sports are often practiced outdoors in remote and challenging environments, with athletes placing heavy demands on themselves and their equipment. Extreme sports also encompass disability sports, like sit skiing and adaptive mountain biking, and the popularity and diversity of such activities is likely to increase with improvements in technology and training, as well as with the support of organizations like the High Fives Foundation (highfivesfoundation.org) and Disability Snowsport, United Kingdom (disabilitysnowsport.org.uk). Within this chapter in these two sporting contexts, wearable devices are broadly associated with those that can be used to monitor the kinetics and kinematics of an athlete and their equipment. This chapter will first consider image-based alternatives and then focus on wearable sensors, in three main sections covering, (1) sports wearables, (2) disability sport and the use of wearables, and (3) extreme sport and the use of wearables, as well as making recommendations for the future.
WEARABLE ELECTRONIC TEXTILES
WOOD JE, TYLER D
Textile Progress - Taylor & Francis (Dec 2020)
Whilst the bulk of products classified as wearable technologies are watch-like bands that are worn on arms and legs, there is growing interest not only in garments that incorporate sensors and actuators, but also in sensors and actuators that are textile-based. The vision is for information-gathering garments where the electronic components are both inconspicuous and comfortable, and where the data gathered is integrated into a broader information-rich infrastructure. Fundamental to realising this goal is the extensive use of smart materials and conductive textiles, which are here reviewed. Advances in textile-based sensors and actuators are documented, as are also developments in the generation and storage of electrical power. Also addressed are the protocols and available information technologies that are relevant for integrating these products within an Internet of Things (IoT) framework. The procedures and practices for developing apparel products incorporating these technologies are discussed. Some insights into the state-of-the-art are gained from examining commercial products and the reports of interdisciplinary research projects. The conclusion is largely that we are at an early stage of realising the IoT vision, but that prototypes emerging justify an attitude of cautious optimism.
Encyclopedia of Renewable and Sustainable Materials. Elsevier (Jan 2020)
Through millions of years, biological structures have survived due to their ability to adapt to their changing environments. Sportswear is a field that increasingly demands innovation to improve both performance and comfort. To meet these demands, sportswear product developers look to nature for inspiration, exploring how the natural world meets demands such as breathability, flexibility, comfort, and impact protection. This article will review the major developments in biomimetics in relation to sporting goods and apparel and how the natural world has influenced some of sportswear’s most recent innovations.
BENNETT R, MCDONNELL C, TYLER D, WOOD J.
E-Textiles Conference 2019 Proceedings (Dec 2019)
Functional electrical stimulation is commonly used as a rehabilitation therapy to support the movement of individuals who have suffered traumatic spinal cord injury. Recently, there has been a focused interest on the development of textile electrodes, as they pose many benefits over traditional electrodes. This study presents design considerations and the feasibility of a wearable FES garment sleeve using flexible and extensible screen-printed electrodes
BIOINSPIRATION IN FASHION - A REVIEW
Biomimetics (Feb 2019)
This paper provides an overview of the main technologies currently being investigated in the textile industry as alternatives to contemporary fashion fabrics. The present status of the textile industry and its impact on the environment is discussed, and the key drivers for change are highlighted. Historical use of bioinspiration in synthetic textiles is evaluated, with the impact of these developments on the fashion and apparel industries described. The review then discusses the move to nature as a supplier of new fabric sources with several alternatives explored, drawing special attention to the sustainability and performance aspects of these new sources.
FABRICS FOR PERFORMANCE CLOTHING
SABIR T, WOOD JE
Materials and technology for sportswear and performance apparel (July 2017)
SMART MATERIALS FOR SPORTSWEAR
Materials and Technology for Sportswear and Performance Apparel (July 2017)
ARE MICROBES THE FUTURE OF FASHION?
The Microbiologist (June 2017)
Article in Journal of the Society of Applied Microbiology
REVOLUTIONS IN WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY FOR APPAREL
High-Performance Apparel Materials, Development and Applications. Woodhead. (Apr 2017)
This chapter discusses the field of wearable technologies in apparel. It starts by providing an overview and exploration of the meaning of wearable technologies in clothing. It goes on to explore innovations in the field, from the earliest considerations to cutting-edge developments. Sensors, power sources, and applications in sport, health care, and fashion are also discussed, concluding with an overview of the future of the sector.