Charity Magazine

Innovations in Regenerative Clothing

By Softstar @Soft_Star_Shoes
Innovations in Regenerative Clothing

Recent sustainability innovations in the apparel industry have been focused on building regenerative supply chains. Regeneration focuses on re-building, re-growing, and re-storing natural resources while consuming. If that sounds like an oxymoron, you are not alone. It may seem like another green-washing marketing phrase. But digging deeper, it can be a helpful framework to gain a broader perspective about sustainability.

Invasive Species Leather for Regenerative Clothing

Softstar Shoes recently met with a new company that sells regenerative leather. Inversa provides snake and fish leather that is harvested from harmful invasive species. Removing the invaders restores vulnerable ecosystems and protects the habitats of endangered species.

As an example, Inversa shares that "removing a lionfish from a reef system and regularly conducting removal efforts in the area can result in a 50-70% recovery in native flora and fauna." Inversa supports harvesting lionfish for the purpose of reviving coral reefs in the Gulf of Mexico. For each Lionfish harvested, they estimate they are protecting up to 70,000 native species in the reef because when Lionfish appear in a coral reef, they kill 80% of native baby fish within five weeks.

Innovations in Regenerative Clothing

The company is also working to reduce Burmese python predation in the Florida Everglades, and Dragonfin fish in the USA's Mississippi River and Great Lakes.

Sustainable vs Regenerative

Most regenerative clothing is centered around agricultural production of textiles. Sustainable production focuses on creating organic fibers free from chemical and pesticide use, ensuring the ecosystem is not harmed. Regenerative production goes a step further to ensure the ecosystem is left in a re-invigorated state.

An authentic regenerative approach thoughtfully assesses all aspects of planting and harvesting fibers as distinct opportunities to encourage the development of both natural and social habitats in more wholesome directions. Companies consider enhancing soil for more biodiversity, restoring waterways for native species, building pollinator habitats, and creating clean work for local communities.

Innovations in Regenerative Clothing

These impactful concepts create a helpful framework when going deeper than the surface layer of the onion. Other similar philosophies include circular economic design and restorative business models. These are all helpful when evaluating potential new materials and vendors.

Is Softstar going to make shoes with invasive species leather?

We value protecting the biodiversity of native habitats while not allowing the euthanized invasive species to go to waste. Our analysis of using Inversa's invasive dragonfin leather either as an entire shoe or motif turned out to not be viable for us in terms of cost and footwear durability. That could change in the future as Softstar considers potential new materials on a regular basis. Invasive species leather is a category of interest for us since the material aligns with our commitment to restorative business models.

As Softstar is a B-Corp dedicated to leaving the earth better than we found it, it is inspiring to see this conceptual model gaining traction and becoming mainstream.

Innovations in Regenerative Clothing

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