Going green in sweatpants: fashion designer produces sustainable sportswear

Natalia Zawada: working to turn gym fashionwear green. Starseeds. The lightness of being/Facebook

A Polish designer has created a sustainable sportswear brand that uses materials such as waste coffee grounds to offer a greener alternative to the synthetic clothes usually worn to the gym.

Fashion is the second-most polluting industry on Earth after oil. To keep up with the latest trends, factories churn out clothing but the whole process can use vast quantities of water and involve chemicals that can damage the environment. In many cases, the clothing does not stay in people’s wardrobes for long: after being worn a few times, it is often discarded.

Amid rising awareness of the environmental impact of “fast fashion” more clothing companies are working to incorporate sustainable practices into their manufacturing process.

Natalia Zawada has done so with her sportswear brand Starseeds, which uses a careful selection of fibres to limit its environmental footprint.

Among the environmentally friendly products the company uses to produce its clothing are coffee grounds.Starseeds. The lightness of being/Facebook

Originally from Toruń, Zawada studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. In her mid-20s, she moved to London, where her brand is based.

Starseeds offers sportswear for women and men, along with unisex items like roomy jumpers and trousers. The colours come from natural dyes, which are gentler on the planet and help preserve the fabrics’ natural characteristics.

Many of the items are made from natural materials, including organic cotton, linen and bamboo. Soft and absorbent, the latter could have been “created with yoga wear in mind”, the company states on its website. The company also uses hemp, which is strong, breathable and – significantly, from an environmental perspective – requires little water to grow.

Many of Starseeds items are made from natural materials, including organic cotton, linen and bamboo.Starseeds. The lightness of being/Facebook

When it comes to man-made fibres, the company uses recycled polyester. By giving the material a new life, Starseeds reduces the amount sent to landfill.

The company also uses a material produced from an unlikely source: coffee. This fabric, which is called S.CAFÉ®, is made from recycled polyester and waste coffee grounds.

The fashion is one of the world’s most polluting industries and many of its products are thrown away after being worn just a few times.Starseeds. The lightness of being/Facebook

In addition to keeping resources out of landfill, this fabric is a good choice for workouts, according to the company.

“The fabric draws moisture away from the body and dries quickly, while the coffee inside absorbs and locks in odour, making it perfect for sweaty sessions in the studio,” it states on its website, adding that the coffee content can also offer natural UV protection by reflecting sunlight.