What will Fashion Week 2050 be like? Hopefully it will have less plastic. Sixty percent of clothing made today have plastic microfibers. Clothing accounts for a third of microplastic pollution.

Popular fabrics polyester, nylon and acrylic are all made partly with plastic. And like a lot of other plastics, these fibers end up in oceans. Some end up there just from normal daily wear. But the majority is from the washing machine and laundry.

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The fashion industry is known to be incredibly polluting. But plastic has become a top concern. 8 million tons of microplastics are washed into the oceans annually. And research found for an average washing machine load, up to 700,000 fibers are released into our water supply from clothes in the washer. So to prevent plastic from entering water, we must remove it from our clothing.

Scientists are looking to nature to figure out how to make fabrics in a more sustainable way. Mushrooms, eucalyptus and pineapple are just some of the natural places our clothing could come from in the future. And all of these are plastic free.

Pineapple fabric, made by the company Piñatex, is a leather substitute made from pineapple leaves. Because leaves are discarded, acquisition doesn’t require additional farming. Look for shoes and handbags made with this material.

Mushroom threads are vegan and eco friendly. Another synthetic leather option, this one from mushrooms, is by a brand called Bolt Threads. It’s already being used in brands like Stella McCartney and Patagonia. Another use for mushrooms is called MycoTEX. This type of thread grows into the garment shape as needed, which reduces waste byproducts.

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A vegan yarn is being produced using eucalyptus. Wool and the Gang, the company that produces the biodegradable yarn says it is effective too, “its more absorbent than cotton, softer than silk and cooler than linen.”

The clothing of the future must be better for the planet. Estimates say a garbage truck full of unwanted clothes are dumped into the landfill every 1.3 minutes, according to author Elizabeth Cline. Consumers in the United States used to “fast fashion” dispose of approximately 72 pounds of clothes each year.

Read more about fashion in One Green Planet. Check out these articles:

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