If you are looking for alternative textiles, you will surely find them. Conduct a simple Google search and you will be directed to visually pleasing websites with information that will warm your heart. Orange fiber, pineapple fiber (pinatex) , mushrooms, apples - the options are endless. They typically revolve around fruit byproducts. They are suitable for vegans and people who wish to find sustainable and ethical textile alternatives. Some of them are even good for your skin and general health. It all sounds amazing, however, it comes with a catch – they are not for you. What does it mean?
If you try to contact several producers of alternative textiles you may hit a proverbial wall. Marketing and advertising departments do a great job on social media but people responsible for sales and customer service are hard to find. It takes ages to receive a reply. It is understandable that they must receive hundreds of emails from potential clients and they do their best to provide answers to all inquiring customers. Once your long awaited answer arrives, it is usually full of general information, already available on their websites. The most disappointing part is that the products are not available or in most cases not available to you. The reasonable explanation is that the production is limited and some companies are at their star-up level. The question is: why are they available to big, powerful, wealthy brands? Why are small handcrafters excluded and denied possibility to create with the materials? Why do you need to provide information in what way you will use the materials? How is that relevant in any way? Are these textiles exclusively for the privileged ones?
We all wish to create a better world, we want to be respectful to people, animals and nature. We try our best at zero waste lifestyle, we value sustainability and create movements to spread eco awareness. Will we ever reach a point where alternative textiles are not just our wish list? For now, we focus on upcycling, recycling and wishful thinking.