The dark side of sparkles
The reality of an unethical embellishment. 1.7m sequined items are thrown away after the festive season but won’t biodegrade. Sequins are industrially made embellishments produced from petroleum-based plastic, synthetic resins
The reality of an unethical embellishment.
1.7m sequined items are thrown away after the festive season but won’t biodegrade.
Sequins are industrially made embellishments produced from petroleum-based plastic, synthetic resins and the shimmer effect is created through chemical or metallic top layers.
The majority of the sequins used by the fashion industry are PVC and contain many toxic substances such as phthalates. These chemicals, reach the environment through all life cycle of our sparkly clothes: from production, consumers use and care and, ultimately, when items are thrown away.
Due to the size and shape, sequins can easily pass through filtration systems of domestic wastewater and end up in seas.
“Conventional sequins can persist in the environment for thousands of years, even if only worn for a few hours.”
The limitation of sustainable materials for embroidery provide a great space for innovations.
Bio Iridescent Sequin researches in bio-technologies a way to tackle the environmental impact of plastic based sequins and developed sequins made from 100% plant-based cellulose, a lightweight material as strong as plastic yet compostable and non-toxic.
Inspired by nature and to imitate the visual aesthetic of colorful details such as beetle wings, shimmering surfaces are created in the lab through microscopically small nanostructures.
Sparkling environmentally friendly alternatives have been also developed by Bioglitter, producing glitters and sequins made with 92 percent plastic-free materials and biodegradable sequins from the Sustainable Sequin Company.
When shopping for the right party dress think its environmental impact and sparkle responsibly!
words and visual by Giulia Mummolo
Nylon (Bailey Calfee)
(via Eco Age)
(via American Chemical Society)
Bio Iridescent Sequins (Elisa Brunato)