instituto e has teamed up with the Italian Ministry of the Environment, Land and Sea to calculate carbon and water footprints in the life cycle of different products. Follow the blog to read the latest reports from our journey.
These days you read more and more about carbon footprints and water footprints and sustainable production. So I was curious to find projects that not only think about footprints and sustainability, but also incorporate some form of social inclusiveness and work with local communities.
That’s when I came across instituto-e’s e-fabrics project, which combines all these elements and uses weird and wonderful materials like fish skin (yes, really, they do, keep reading!) but also old pairs of jeans and plastic bottles to create sustainable fabrics.
What makes the project really cool is that they don’t just focus on the sustainability of the raw material, but they make sure every step of the production process incorporates principles of sustainability. For example they work with local communities throughout Brazil to source the raw materials and they make sure the environmental impact in minimized. The production process creates thousands of jobs, and then – this is the coolest part – the materials, like fish leather, organic cotton, eco-jute are used by top designers around the world!
So not only are they producing sustainable, environmentally friendly materials, they’re also making sustainability cool!
So for example for the fish skin, they explain that in the food industry fish skins are usually thrown out, when it is in fact very suitable for use as a leather substitute. It looks soft and thin, but apparently it is more resistant and sturdy than bovine leather. The fish skin used in the e-fabrics project comes from Marajó Island off the north-eastern coast of Brazil where they work with indigenous tribes who do the fishing and skinning.
The production process then takes place is three other regions of Brazil and provides jobs to hundreds of workers. When the fish leather is ready to be used it’s sold to brands like the Brazilian Osklen, but also more recently by the Japanese brand Kenzo. Osklen has made shoes but also clothes out of it and I think it looks awesome – it doesn’t look like leather, but it also definitely doesn’t look like fish skin – I guess it’s a real e-fabric!
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