Making Natural Fibers in Fashion with FarFarm
Published on: May 17, 2018
Sustainability and agroforestry are not limited to forests, fields and food. That’s why we are working together with FarFarm to create sustainable, natural fibers for clothing with Textile Agroforestry.
Felipe and Beto (FarFarm) discussed opportunities in agroforestry. Thinking beyond vegetables and fruit, Beto came upon the fashion industry. The majority of fabrics are petroleum-based (meaning they come from oil) or monoculture. Growing natural fibers in an agroforestry system is FarFarm’s vision. reNature & Felipe are the company’s consultants, partners and specialists in agroforestry.
FarFarm’s first fibrous Steps
The Amazon’s biodiversity is extremely vast, our Textile Agroforestry aims to include nettle, pineapple, tucum, kapok, buriti and hemp in the future. The pilot material was a hand-made rug made of banana, jute and cotton fibers. The first plantation is scheduled for September 2018. However, a forest does not grow overnight. FarFarm’s fiber forest will take about three years to grow. The profits of the fibers currently sold are therefore reinvested into agroforestry before FarFarm can provide the raw materials itself.
Socially and environmentally developing the Amazon
The Amazon has a history of exploitation, materials such as rubber, gold and the currently famous açaí berries are part of this unfortunate trend. We want to develop this region socially and environmentally. We are educating local families to work in agroforestry and giving them the option to sell fibers for us. FarFarm’s idea is not to be the owner of the land, but to educate the local population to have the opportunity to become vendors.
Besides selling fibers they can also sell their fruits and vegetables on the market or consume them themselves, all while regenerating their land. We will be planting our textile forests on degraded land, including endangered plants.
Fitting Sustainability into the Fashion World
Fashion is a form of self-expression; people will always look at design and price. Clothing being sustainable is often just a secondary bonus. We try to provide the environmental benefits while also offering performance and durability. We are trying to find the best solution: sometimes recycled plastic and recycled cotton are blended together. Recycled cotton itself is not a strong fiber; recycled PET gives it structure. However, we are not adding spandex for example because spandex is not recyclable, and such clothes end up in landfills.
FarFarm sells wholesale to designers in the US and Brazil; to brands that care about the sustainable cause and want to use fibers that help regenerate nature. They are keeping the supply chain physically as close as possible. Their goal is to offset their carbon emissions through agroforestry, sequestering more carbon than they produce. FarFarm is looking to become a “B2B2C company”. The aim is to provide performance, quality and sustainability for designers, but ultimately, they want to become a recognizable brand for consumers.
Interested in samples or buying FarFarm fabrics? Visit the farfarm.co website.
- Location: Amazon, Brazil
- Size: 10 ha
- Challenge: Developing agroforestry field for fibre production
- Period: 2018 – 2020
- Assigned by: FarFarm
- Project Manager: Felipe Villela
- Coordinator: Geoffroy Damant