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Functional clothing can also be sustainable

German labels such as Vaude, bleed, Langer Chen and Nat-2, will be exhibiting at Greenshowroom and the Ethical Fashion Show Berlin.

8th December 2017

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Frankfurt

Sustainable, Sports/​Outdoor

From 16-18 January 2018 at the Kraftwerk Berlin, Greenshowroom and the Ethical Fashion Show Berlin, as well as the new Messe Frankfurt conference, FashionSustain, and its motto Run for Circularity, will show that clothing made of functional materials and accessories with outdoor appeal can be both fashionable and sustainable.

“Over the past 10 to 15 years, the outdoor and fashion sectors have grown much closer together, and have also inspired each other to a certain extent. This can be seen in the overlapping product ranges of both industries and, of course, in our everyday cityscape. In recent years, this has definitely been a segment exhibiting strong growth,” said Antje von Dewitz, Managing Director of Vaude Sport. “People outside mountaineering have also realised that the functionality and comfort of outdoor clothing can also provide added value in everyday life. We're also seeing an increasing convergence of our professional and private lives.”

Vaude will exhibit its innovations next month. © Vaude

In addition to the performance aspects of the clothing, environmentally friendly and fair production is playing an increasingly important role. Innovative materials that are consistently produced sustainably on the one hand but are also suitable for functional urban outdoor fashion on the other hand are currently attracting a great deal of attention.

Green pioneer

German labels such as Vaude, bleed, Langer Chen and Nat-2, which will be exhibiting at Greenshowroom and the Ethical Fashion Show Berlin, undertake constant research in this field. They produce PFC-free products and work with self-developed membrane alternatives that do not use PTFE. In some cases, they are pioneers in the realisation of future-oriented concepts for a circular economy and recycling. At the Ethical Fashion Show Berlin, for example, Vaude will be presenting a new collection for the first time that is around 90% bio based, recycled or made of purely natural materials.

“For years, we have been developing sustainable and natural functional fabrics and improving them continuously,” said Philipp Langer, Managing Director of Langer Chen.” For our latest collection we have developed an all-natural jacket – an outdoor parka made entirely of natural fibres. It consists of our new high density organic cotton poplin and pure wool padding. Our goal is to reduce the use of synthetic fibres even more in the future and minimise the impact of microplastics on the oceans.”

bleed has announced that it will present a collection consisting of new editions of their best-sellers and new styles for the 10th anniversary of the 2018/19 season. Further styles and accessories include climate-compensated, recycled, single-origin and environmentally friendly functional jackets for all kinds of winter weather, warm knitwear made of organic cotton and functional base layers made of Tencel.

Sustainable production

The rise of today's successful outdoor and sportswear brands in the late 1970s and early 1980s is primarily associated with the term “performance”. For a long time, measurable product properties such as water column and breathability were the deciding factors for a purchase. In most cases, however, these properties have been achieved with the help of processes that are controversial from an environmental perspective.

Langer Chen will be exhibiting at Greenshowroom and the Ethical Fashion Show Berlin. © Langer Chen

Many outdoor products are made of petroleum-based synthetic fibres, such as polyester, polyamide or acrylic. In turn, the best results in terms of waterproofing and breathability could only be achieved with controversial membrane technologies and equipment, such as the use of PFCs.

Ever since Greenpeace entered the arena with its Detox campaign, microplastics in the oceans has been a topic that has been discussed in the media and given that bioaccumulative PFCs in polar bears – i.e. accumulating via the food chain – have now been proven, many outdoor brands have committed themselves to turning away from their performance dogma.

Sustainable urban outdoor labels

A selection of sustainable urban outdoor labels will be presented to trade visitors at the Kraftwerk Berlin from 16-18 January 2018 as part of the upcoming Berlin Fashion Week. The selection of materials, production methods and brand philosophies of the brands shown there are in line with the high environmental and social standards that Ethical Fashion Show Berlin and Greenshowroom deem obligatory for participation. The highlight of both fairs is the catwalk show on the evening of 17 January.

The publicly accessible and high-calibre conference FashionSustain Berlin, which runs in parallel to the fairs at the Kraftwerk and will be attended by international decision-makers from the fashion and sportswear industry, will also focus on sustainability in the outdoor sector. Under the motto Run for Circularity, brands, developers, innovators, manufacturers and researchers will present and discuss how sustainable fashion techniques are changing the fields of athletic, outdoor, sports and functional clothing.

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