LEONOEL merges design and environmental science and aims at achieving the smallest environmental footprint through the entire life cycle of a garment.
In 2017, we started a comprehensive research on the fashion industry relative to waste management and social and environmental sustainability.
This analysis started by conducting full life cycle assessment of basic clothes made out of the eight below material:
1- 100% Cotton
2- 100% Organic Cotton
3- 100% Hemp
4-100% Organic Hemp
5- 60%Organic Cotton+40%Organic Hemp Mixed
95%Modal + 5%Spandex
7- 100% Virgin Polyester
8- 100% Regenerated Nylon/plastic into Polyester (Made of plastic bottles, Ocean Plastic, etc.)
In this study we picked the world’s top 20 sustainable fashion brands and investigated each by analyzing very distinct parameters that went into the process of making various garments from seed to disposal.
The case study contained clothes made of various fabric content, farming practices and disposal methodologies.
The study paid special focus around crop production/fabric generation, ecological Footprint, water requirement analysis and cycle of recovery.
The production of any crop, including textile crops, results in some environmental degradation that can deplete biodiversity.
Based on this research, we concluded that the overall worst performer in the production process is polyester; it emits the greatest CO2 emissions in the production process with the input of oil in its manufacturing process as one third of the total impact of the product.
The best overall performer was organic hemp. In terms of water consumption, cotton required 3 times as much water as organic hemp.
In our analysis of CO2 emissions, we calculated the amount of energy needed to produce a certain amount of fiber. This calculation on its own was based on many different factors such as context, factory conditions and use of renewable resources vs. raw resources.
The biggest issue with clothes and products made with virgin polyester or regenerated polyester/plastic is microfibers
Out of the 5.5 trillion particles of plastic waste on our planet, 95% were smaller than a grain of rice. Every time you wash your polyester/ repurposed plastic clothes, shoes and other wearables, they shed tiny plastic bits that wash off of the items in the washing machine. All synthetic fibers come off in the wash and pass through to sewage treatment plants, which often don’t have filters fine enough to catch them. Treated wastewater is then often dumped into rivers or the sea, carrying a great level of microfibers.
So unfortunately, converting plastic bottles and ocean plastic to products and clothes is still a huge environmental sustainability problem as the clothes will still shed microfibers into our water system. As much as 1 million fibers could be released from washing a single polyester fleece.
Washing synthetic clothing in a microfiber protection bag, significantly improves against micro-plastic pollution from washing.
Our Collection of clothes
Based on the research briefly outlined above, we should collectively place an effort on stopping the use of virgin polyester wearables all together.
As we anticipate our friends in the biotech industry to reach new advancements in fiber generation and disposal methodologies, the process will take some time.
we believe that based on our current consumer demand and state of technology, sustainably grown, undyed or clean-dye natural fibers should completely replace raw synthetic fibers.
We understand that in creating clothes for daily use, synthetic fibers are necessary for high durability in athletic wear. This initiated our conversation with ECONYL® and another confidential partner, to incorporate regenerated nylon increasing these pieces. Using regenerated polyester and nylon when necessary would reduce the global warming impact of nylon by up to 80% compared with material derived from oil. But just like all other polyesters, the garments would still shed microfibers in each wash.
Thus we will keep items created with recycled synthetic fibers to only 5% of everything we carry and will send the customer a free microfiber protection bag with each purchase.
We strongly believe plastic should be cut out as much as possible as it is a huge problem in its full life cycle. Although we are excited about LEONOEL’s Reclaimed collection, we are still working on improving the impact of this collection on our planet and anticipate launching in 2020.
Our Compostable and Biodegradable Collection of Clothes
We follow the highest standards of social and environmental responsibility in putting these pieces together.
The compostable collection consists of pieces that are made of organic cotton, hemp and organic linen. Most of the pieces are undyed with the exception of a few which are vegetable dyed. We have used no toxic chemical in fixing the vegetable dyes or controlling the properties of the fabric such as shrinkage.
We use cotton thread and natural buttons made of shells, wood and coconut shells.
We count on global certifications in assessing the manufacturers we work with around the globe. Our supply chain consists of factories that have obtained GOTS certification and rely on Global Organic Textile Standards and OCS Certifications in becoming part of the solution. By relying on teams that are already certified we know there is no ambiguity behind the fibers.
Most of the collection is made of undyed fibers. We believe organic cotton is soft and naturally beautiful. Dying this fiber diminishes its natural aesthetic.
We mix organic cotton, with hemp which is a magical crop in reducing water consumption and leave the final product undyed. Variation is created in the fabric, by inserting innovative weave configurations which create various textures and thicknesses.
We tested the Compostable Collection of clothes and ensure its degradation within 2-6 months of its disposal in a biological cycle of recovery.
This means at the end of each garment’s life cycle, you may place it in a household compost and use the soil for organic vegetable gardening and all other organic garden practices.
The Biodegradable Collection was created with fibers such as organic cotton and modal. The main difference between the compostable and the biodegradable collection is in the dye process. Although both collections are made of 100% natural and organic fibers, the biodegradable collection utilizes non toxic OEKO-TEX® certified
dyes in the manufacturing process. Because dyes have been used in the making of this collation, the pieces offer patterns and a variety of colors created with non toxic dyes.
The biodegradable collection also degrades within 2-6 months of its disposal in a biological cycle of recovery. If you are composting these pieces at home in a house-hold compost, we recommend using the soil for fertilizer for lawns and farms or taking the pieces to a compost facility at the end of their life cycle.