The fashion industry is taking a massive shift into a more sustainable approach by introducing vegan materials as substitutes for environmentally hazardous ones. Now come to think of it, we have found substitutes for the animal-cruel materials in the industry, yet what about the other materials that are as toxic to the environment, but are consider cruelty-free? Think of all the plastics and rubbers used in the industry? Where do they end up once disposed? Look at your garments, your shoes, your bags, even your swimsuits, there’s definitely some type of rubber in there! Yes! It’s a bigger issue than we thought!
Yulex, the first company ever to introduce natural rubber latex in North America; is aiding the fashion industry to grow into a cruelty- free, toxic free, and greener one. The Yulex team has expertise in all areas of natural rubber production, including agriculture, materials science, processing, product prototyping, regulatory issues & development of transparent supply chains for customers. After several years of working with partners, the Guayule natural rubber was grown and processed in Arizona, introducing the first ever natural rubber products that were first introduced to the surfing industry for wetsuits. Today, Yulex has partnered with several fashion designers, including: Stella McCartney, Hunter, H&M, Kiwi Woman, Billabong…etc.
How are they used in fashion you ask? Rubbers used specifically in the swimwear fashion industry is being replaced with natural rubber that is functional without compromise. For instance, Billabong has introduced a new line of wetsuits that are not just long-lasting, but ensures that once disposed they will not harm our beloved mother nature and eco system. “We’re using 100% recycled materials,” says Scott Boot, longtime Global Director at Billabong Wetsuits. “We’re infusing the liner of the suit with graphene, with some really nice improved foams on the inside. All of this comes together, and it’s a much cleaner product than we’ve ever had — without any sort of performance decrease.” These wetsuits eventually biodegrade and thus complies with a circular approach rather than a linear one.
Similarly, Kiwi Woman have introduced the first plant-based luxury swimsuits, by making use of Yulex natural rubbers. The sleek and elegant swimsuits feel exactly like any other wetsuits we find in the market, but with consciousness and sustainability integrated in their design process. It is quite important to always ask ourselves as consumers about where and how a product is produced! Yulex, therefore is ensuring that the development chain of products they produce is sustainable from production to end. Functionality and comfort are no doubt important aspects when it comes to swimwear designs, but that should not cost us our earth!
Not just that, but the shoes industry are also benefitting from the natural rubber substitute. Hunter has collaborated with Stella McCartney, and partnered with Yulex to introduce an innovative new design development to the classic Hunter boots, to make them vegan and toxic free. The boots are fitted with stretch inserts made from plant-based alternative to neoprene, introduced by Yulex. They are made without petrochemicals and are sourced from certified forests, this material generates 80% less climate-altering carbon dioxide than traditional neoprene, but delivers near-identical performance in terms of strength and elasticity. They are 100% vegan, 100% sustainable and 100% toxic free.
It is amazing witnessing the introduction of innovative materials that challenges the fashion industry today, proving that we, in fact can help sustain our earth to make sure our beloved planet stays healthy and clean! Such great news that sustainability and fashion can work hand in hand! Who said style cannot be green?