Carbon Dresses - Are they in Style? -

A-line? Bodycon? Cocktail? Which is your favourite style for a dress? I personally prefer the new trend of Carbon dresses. Wait what? Never heard of them?  

What is it? 

These dresses are made with captured carbon emissions from industrial, agricultural, and domestic waste disposal processes. LanzaTech is one of the first companies that focus on making bioethanol, a chemical needed to make polyester fibres that are used to stitch dresses by using up carbon dioxide and other emissions through a fermentation process. The yarn and fabric made in this manner prevent the need to extract more fossil fuel from the ground and stop any depletion of resources. The plan behind the process is like this to reduce fashion waste excretion and reuse the exhalations produced by those clothes to make new recycled ones—the three Rs.  

Is it Implemented?  

With around 2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere every year, the brand Lululemon Athletic Inc. turned to LanzaTech to help lower the carbon footprint by removing a whole new line of clothing and apparel with this newly developed technology. The results of this process have shown that the fresh and natural fibres made have the same properties as the virgin fibres. One of the upcoming eco-friendly brands, Lululemon, has been devoted to making the world a better place for future generations. From pay equity to positive mental well-being to “making waste obsolete”. The chain’s chairman said that the company aims to move towards a circular ecosystem by 2030, especially with this new partnership being made for sustainable innovations. Then what’s the problem? Why isn’t this technology implemented everywhere yet? 

Reports have shown that the final polyester made is not 100% captured by carbon. As a matter of fact, it is only made up of 20% of the “purified” ethanol compared to 80% of other non-biodegradable materials. Concerns have now risen regarding whether this is another façade and improved form of Greenwashing in the name of “sustainability”.  

What’s the catch? 

Zara, one of the most promising Fast Fashion brands, for instance, released a limited edition “sustainable line” in 2021, wherein this technique of LanzaTech was implemented. One of the drawbacks of using such a method is the enormous amount of money that goes into making such kinds of clothes. No matter how “green” this solution is, it is extremely expensive and energy-intensive, which negates the whole point of the process, to begin with. Surprisingly, Zara’s profits hit billions after releasing this refreshing line, which seems astonishing given the amount of money the company would have had to spend to make this line in the first place. It is definitely challenging to believe that all this money being credited to the brand is solely from recycled carbon emissions. Greenwashing? I think so! 

After all of this, shopping at places like Greenmarket seems like the right way forward. Let’s try the “Green” style for a dress or t-shirt this time. Let me know what your favourite clothing brand on Greenmarket is in the comments!

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