Colour and fibre developed from the leftover parts of sunflowers.
+ Creator | Jessica Redgrave
+ Country | UK, Ireland and the Faroe Islands
+ Colour | Sunflower yellow, plant waste extract
+ Challenge | How can we reimagine fashion, placing the health of the planet and its inhabitants at the centre?
Hydrophobic coating made from sunflowers
“For fashion to have a future, there needs to be an imminent shift to regenerative practices that protect biodiversity and support agricultural food systems… Sunflowers could provide a solution.” Jessica Redgrave
Future Colour | Jessica Redgrave
Jess Redgrave is a multidisciplinary designer working at the intersection of fashion and science, pushing the boundaries of regenerative design and traditional biological practices. After working as a designer and encountering the massive environmental damage and waste caused by the fashion industry, Jess enrolled in Material Futures course at Central St Martins in London where she focused on fashion that’s actively good for the planet and biodiversity.
Climafibre is the name of the research project developed by Jess in response to the crisis she witnessed in the agriculture and fashion industries. This is a multi-disciplinary research project and collaboration in which Jess is developing a fibre for textiles, natural dyes and a hydropic coating made entirely from sunflowers.
Luminary X Jess
Fibre Production | Environmental Impact
It's no secret that the fashion industry has a disastrous environmental impact. Contamination from synthetic fibres, dyes and finishes continuously pollutes ecosystems and decimates biodiversity. Consumerism has fuelled the desire for fast fashion, which is reliant on the overconsumption of finite resources and intensive farming. An increasing amount of fertilisers and pesticides are needed to meet these demands, degrading the soil which inhibits regeneration, resulting in a loss of arable land.
“What is fashion’s place in a world that is rapidly running out of natural resources? Climafibre envisions a local future production network which integrates food and fibre systems in order to promote healthy, regenerative living.” Jessica Redgrave
Climafibre | Sunflowers
The common sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is derived from the Greek Helios 'sun' and anthos 'flower', while the epithet annuus means 'annual' in Latin. It is a large flower grown as a crop for its edible oily seeds. From aiding climate mitigation to boosting biodiversity, sunflowers can be grown without fertilisers and their roots promote healthy soils. If that wasn’t enough Sunflowers can withstand drought, and their natural resilience has made them a model for scientists studying climate change adaptation. Naturally, they formed the starting point for Jess’ project ‘Climafibre’.
Using enzymes derived from bacteria and fungi, Climafibre has worked closely with scientists to develop a unique process to isolate cellulose fibres from sunflower stems. These fibres are then combed and spun into a yarn, and woven into a fabric. The hydrophobic coating is made from a by-product of the sunflower oil industry and provides water-resistant protection for natural fibres without the use of harmful chemicals. This coating allows the fabric to maintain its breathable qualities with minimal alteration to its aesthetics or hand feel.
Sunflowers produce a beautiful range of pigments including deep gold, purples and pinks! Climafibre's floral colour palette has been developed from pigments extracted from the petals, seeds and leaves of cultivated Sunflower plants. These pure pigments can be used as a natural alternative for textile dyes and printing, free from fossil fuels.
Pigments under a microscope
Climafibre rain jacket
Future Colour | Find out More
Website | www.jessredgrave.com
Instagram | @jess_redgrave