Beyond Fabric: Other Areas Fashion Brands Can Be More Sustainable

We put a lot of focus on sustainable textiles.  Innovations in plant-based leathers, organic natural fibers and recycled materials are all becoming more popular, but sustainability goes beyond fabric.

While the fabric brands use may be the biggest piece of their supply chain, there are several other small areas where brands can make a better impact. From notions such as buttons to better packaging materials here are a few steps that can be made in the right direction.

Buttons
Buttons are very often made from plastic in fast-fashion brands and likely animal products like horn in some luxury labels, but there are some great sustainable options instead.

Corozo Buttons are a 100% natural wood product, it has the consistency similar to a hard resin. It is made of tightly wound organic fibers which result in excellent durability and are scratch resistant. Its porous nature allows colors to penetrate deep into the surface, making dyeing quite easy. It is also quite elegant grain and unique patterns, meaning no two buttons are exactly alike – unique and chic.

Sustainable Hangtags
Believe it or not, but hangtags typically consist of plastic and not just in the tag tie. They are usually made of cheap paper coated to make them waterproof or more resistant to damage.

Traditional paper is quite damaging to the planet as cutting down new trees has lasting environmental impacts, recycled paper is becoming more popular though. 

Also quite commonly used in textiles, hemp also makes great sustainable paper.  There is an increasing use in hemp paper and hangtags are a great place to utilize this natural fiber.

Shipping Packaging
Recycled cardboard is a great alternative to virgin materials for boxes. Not only does it upcycle previous materials, many manufacturers are making them biodegradable so they will easily break down after use.

Whether used for shipping or storing, there is an increasing number of companies creating bags from compostable materials such as corn. Plastic poly mailers are the most used shipping material so subbing that for a compostable material will save tons of plastics from landfills each year.

Zippers
Most zippers are made from yet again plastic, but there are several more sustainable options making their way to the fashion industry.  The most popular of these is of course recycled plastic, which mimic almost exactly the traditional plastic zippers.

Metal zippers with organic cotton backing are particularly great for handbags and accessories and a new innovation in plant-based molasses zippers made from the byproduct of sugarcane and can be used in replacement of traditional plastic zippers.