Fashioning the Future: sustainable style

Published on
August 27, 2018

The “solar backpack” jacket and a jacket made of pineapple leather, also known as piñatex. These are examples of the tangible results from the search for circular clothing that you can see at the exposition “Fashioning the Future: Innovating textile value chains”, which will be on display at various campus locations starting on 4 September.

And this is just a small part of the entire expo, which will showcase new materials and textile innovations that have the power to radically change our current fashion industry. The exposition with the same objective, State of Fashion (STof) at the Arnhem Melkfabriek, drew 27,500 visitors. Part of this exposition, supplemented by specific “WUR” items will be exhibited on campus from 4 September to 12 October and will then relocate to Eindhoven for Dutch Design Week (20-28 October).

Research by students

“Since we are unable to exhibit the entire State of Fashion collection in Arnhem, we have had to significantly pare it down. In Wageningen, the emphasis lies on the results of the ACT projects that Wageningen students carried out in collaboration with the ArtEZ University of Arts, designers, and WUR researchers”, says Dieuwertje de Wagenaar. She is closely involved with the expo on campus together with WUR lecturer Kim Poldner. During the 2017-2018 academic year, students in the Academic Consultancy Training (ACT) course worked on assignments formulated by ArtEZ. These included exploring the use of natural pigments from plants, algae, and bacteria to manufacture paint; ink reuse; the use of biodegradable waste for making clothing; and biomimicry applications in fashion.

The abstract and the tangible

According to Wagenaar, ACT research into sustainable textiles, new materials, and new concepts is very specific to and interesting for Wageningen. For example, students worked on developing “living leathers” made from materials such as mushrooms. “It is unfortunate that this type of research is often entirely new. The tangible results are small-scale samples that can be seen at the exposition. Further development is still required before these materials can be found in shops. That is why we are also showcasing more concrete examples that can already be worn, like the pineapple leather jacket.”

On campus

At Impulse, there will be two “sustainable outfits” on display as well as many videos and samples from the research projects. One example is the project “Textile as Living Skin” on the use of algae, mycelium, and kombucha as alternative materials and their impact on the wearers. The following items will be scattered across campus:

  • The Spot in Orion will focus on the ethical issues of the fashion industry. An enormous manifesto for a sustainable revolution will be displayed here. Consumers will be challenged to think about where they buy their clothes and who makes them with the phrase: "Who made my clothes?"
  • Orion will have various videos of ACT projects on display. Have you been waiting for the day that you could wear a sustainable G-Star dress? Try out this uniquely designed dress at a Orion photo shoot.
  • The bridge between Orion and Forum will display large flags with the principles of the State of Fashion Manifesto, such as #no waste, #reuse, #fairness, #care, #tech, and #essential.
  • A tiny house between Forum and Orion will showcase clothing by designers Viktor and Rolf. They used leftover textiles to design a new collection for Zalando.

Exhibit in Wageningen town hall

Items from the Fashioning the Future expo won’t just be displayed on campus. You can also see them at Wageningen town hall: Mycotex, fabric made of mycelium; garments from the Viktor and Rolf collection for Zalando; and videos from the ACT projects.

Opening in Impulse

All the mini exhibits on campus and in the town hall refer back to the primary exposition at Impulse, “Fashioning the Future: Innovating textile value chains”.
This will officially be opened to the public by Louise Fresco and the mayor of Wageningen Geert van Rumund on Tuesday 4 September at 12:45. Kim Poldner and research partners from ArtEZ and SToF will also discuss the value which WUR has to offer the clothing industry and there will be a meet and greet with the designers, scientists, and students who worked on these innovations.

Are you interested in WUR’s contribution to the sustainable clothing industry?
If so, visit the opening of the exposition at Impulse. Everyone is welcome to come.
Or you can check out (one of) the items from the Fashioning the Future expo that are displayed on campus until 12 October.