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#HCAwarenessWeek: How These Fashion Designers are Using Art and Innovation to Make the World a Better Place

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at WVU chapter.

What happens when technology wizards and creative designers collaborate? Innovation is when something new, and typically quite useful, is introduced to the world, and when brilliant thinkers come together, that is exactly what is born.

In the fashion industry, engineers and creative thinkers have been joining forces to tackle the ethical and ecological issues that come with designing and producing garments.

Orange Fiber is an Italian textile-production company that has been making luxury textiles from citrus by-product since 2014, according to Francesca Marchese of BBC.

Co-founders Adriana Santonocito and Enrica Arena created Orange Fiber in hopes of reducing waste while paying tribute to both the rich fashion and culinary culture of their home.

“Our efforts are inspired by beauty, quality and the opportunity to provide an innovative and sustainable textile to Italian production practices and the entire fashion industry,” according to their mission.

Orange Fiber states that more than 700,000 tons of citrus waste is produced in Italy every year, and the textiles company was the first to do something about it. Not only is this team of innovators cutting down on food waste, but they are providing luxury fashion labels with a sustainable and organic fiber to create designs with.

Recently, Orange Fiber partnered with H&M, a company famously scrutinized for its’ fast fashion practices, and created the Conscious Exclusive collection.  

H&M shirt made with Orange Fiber textiles. Photo courtesy of @hm on Instagram


In an article from Fast Company, Adele Peters talks about a team of interior design students at the Royal College of Art in London who created a jacket designed to morph into a tent.

These jackets were created for refugees to provide them with a sturdy portable shelter during their travels.

The jacket, made out of a cheap, paper-like textile called Tyvek, is lightweight, durable and completely recyclable once it has fulfilled its purpose, according to Peters.

“It’s also white—the international symbol of peace—so it could help make it immediately obvious that someone is a refugee,” Peters said. “This, they hope, is proof of the value that designers can bring in a humanitarian crisis.”

Denim Unspun is adding a whole new meaning to “your perfect denim jeans.”  

This company, comprised of designers, engineers and scientists, found a way to cut down on product waste by using made-to-order technology. Rather than creating an inventory and making the consumer choose from a range of set sizes, customers pick from the three styles of denim, and then, their exact measurements are recorded using 3D imaging technology.

This innovation not only cuts down on production and waste but is also cutting down on the need for consumers to label themselves small, medium or large. The jeans are you sized.

Extra features on the website include the option to see exactly what each flavor of denim is made out of. The brand does what it can to create a sustainable array of textiles, using ingredients including organic cotton, coffee grounds and one recycled plastic bottle per pant.


Two pairs of Denim Unspun jeans. Photo courtesy of @denimunspun on Instagram.

Innovation is molding what fashion looks like. The minds collaborating and creating these inventions are proof of the endless possibilities that strategic and creative thinking can bring about.  

Olivia Gianettino is a freshman honors journalism student at West Virginia University. Besides writing, she loves playing the banjo, making crafts and doing yoga. She is a year-round Halloween enthusiast and sports a pair of yellow Crocs everywhere she goes.
Her Campus at West Virginia University