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  • Foto van schrijverMaggie= Margaret Belder

Material District

As a clothing and accessory designer I have always been very much interested in new developments and innovations. That is the main reason why I wanted to visit the Material District in the Werkspoor Kathedraal in Utrecht last week.

Although the focus is definitely not on clothing textiles, but mainly on interior and architectural design and construction, many innovations and the way of use of materials can be an inspiration for fashion designers as well.

The show of a new approach of using natural raw products and re-using, recycling and upcycling them shines a different light on design. As a designer we must start the process from a different angle and be constantly aware of what the impact the new product and the use of materials will have on nature and the life within. What inspires me as well are the beautiful structures created with the application of re-used materials.

Located in the stunning light interior of the old factory of the Werkspoor the Material District vibrantly and warmly presents new ideas on design and products.

I have seen high-performance clean air plant-based composites and products made from bacterial cellulose that can replace the use of woods and plastics. And also pigments for colouring and dying made from organic waste from landfill or pigments made from seaweed and fungi. And ceramics made from waste eggshells. There were recycled textiles made from denim waste for interior acoustic panels. I have seen ways of improving city greening by integration of the natural growth of air algae on façade tiles to absorb air pollutant and aim for better water management. And also, the natural growing of biological material for panel tiles by the use of microbes. For more fashion-like textiles there is camel hair as thermoregulator and kapok as a natural alternative to down or synthetics without abandoning functionality.

Next to all this I would like to highlight the innovations and brands that opened my eyes and are an inspiration for my way of designing clothing and accessories.

Global Green’s LaVeg is a premium biomaterial made from natural rubber and cotton and is entirely vegan, biodegradable, plastic-free and recyclable. It can be used for waterproof items and has the look of leather. BeLEAF is their revolutionary biomaterial made from natural leaves and offers an environmental-friendly alternative to traditional materials.

Christine Rochlitz is a Berlin based designer of vegan materials made form cabbage (Cabbtex), tangerine peels (Citrustex) and strawberry waste (Berriestex) that can be used as leather.

Bananatex is a durable, technical fabric made purely from naturally grown self-sufficient banana plants. The fabric is incredibly strong and durable, while remaining soft lightweight and supple.

Hollands Wol Collectief showcased the Design Felt made from 100% Dutch wool. With this wool the Collective aims for bringing back the local wool supply chain in the Netherlands.

Barkskin from Caba Company is an organic sturdy material made from bark, that is hand-made and therefore has unique characteristics.

The Knitware Stable is a farm with a knitting studio that believes in sustainable process and produce of wool.

Amphibio Ltd has developed Amphitex, a recyclable alternative to traditional waterproof and breathable textiles by applying nano stuctures found in nature.

Officina +39 creates with Recycrom a full range of pigment powders made from textile fibres from used clothing and manufacturing.

Metafas makes printed wearable flexible electronics that can be used for packaging, but also for clothing.

Enschede Textielstad showcased their precious fabric woven with yarn made from discarded tampons.

Samira Boon presents with Archi folds a paper like folding by digital weaving techniques and turns the fabrics into interesting structures.

GoodCatch fabric is a self-adhering fastening fabric that is soft, silent an strong. It has no chemical adhesive because it is based on friction.

Orange fiber is a silk-like yarn, made from repurposed citrus juice byproducts and can be woven into a silky lightweight fabric.

Flocus makes fleece from the sustainable fibre kapok, leaving nearly no carbon print.

There is too much to mention all. I am inspired and intrigued and I am finding my own way to be more sustainable by making more circular and less wasteful designs. For now I hope to inspire my clients in becoming a more sustainable brand or company by using fabrics and production methods that are better for our planet, the consumers, but especially the workers that make their products become true.

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