Back in July of 2009, Tawainese company Singtex Industrial Company announced its project to create a new material for clothing made out of recycled coffee grounds – yes, you’ve actually read that correctly. Recycled coffee grounds are transformed by a patented process into a fabric called S.Café®. Jason Chen, the company’s general manager, came up with the idea for the project while sipping coffee Starbucks – naturally!
The process of making fabric out of coffee grounds is very similar to that used to turn bamboo into a viscose-like material. The result is a soft, light, flexible and breathable material perfect for sportswear or outerwear. It’s imbued with ‘activated’ carbon, derived from coconut, which makes it UV-resistant and water resistant as well as works to keep the wearer cool while binding sweat to eliminate unpleasant odours. Apparently, it only takes the grounds from one cup of coffee to make enough material for several T-shirts.
Now a similar process is being developed using tea. Grown in giant vats of green tea, the outcome is a lightweight, leather-like fabric. Scientists from Imperial College, London have been collaborating with Central Saint Martins designers to create this new sustainable fabric . It is still in early development and those involved say it will still be a while before it hits the shops.
It just shows how much can be done towards a more sustainable and ultimately inventive fashion future. It just takes a bit of technology combined with one crazy idea and a lot of innovation.