According to the survey “The raise of vegan fashion 2021”, the growing pressure from conscious shoppers on clothing brands is changing the face of the fashion industry: 95% of British fashion enthusiasts seek vegan options, while 90% of Gen X consumers are prepared to spend more for sustainable items. It’s no surprise they get a response from luxury brands: Gucci has launched a vegan leather alternative Demetra, and other luxury fashion giants like Hermès and Stella McCartney have introduced mycelium - mushroom-based - leather clothing.
However, although there is already a range of alternative leather options - from banana and mango skins - to leather made of food waste - silk is still widely used in luxury clothing, and the demand for it is continuously growing.
Will sustainable alternatives push silk out?
Approximately 6,000 silkworms are killed to produce 1 kg of silk by boiling them alive in their cocoons. It is also estimated that one silk shirt requires 376 liters of water, leaving a severe water footprint on the environment.
Fortunately, there are silk alternatives like Naia cellulosic fiber that provide the same luxurious feel without harming living organisms. Besides being vegan - sourced from pine and eucalyptus wood pulp - the manufacturing process is sustainable, recycling the solvents for reuse and leaving low carbon and water footprint. Another sustainable alternative is viscose.Ph. Gretes, founded by Grėtė Švėgždaitė in Lithuania, is a boutique-style international brand. It focuses on creating handmade, fashionable, and high-quality sleepwear and loungewear, using sustainable Naia.