the truth about sequins: shiny but not sustainable?

you know we all love the glittery sparkly sequins on our clothes. our party clothes are incomplete without it but there is a darker side to getting the perfect party shine.

what are sequins and why are they bad for the environment?

in 2019, Oxfam estimated that at least 1.7 million sequined clothes ended up in landfills after the Christmas season. if that’s not all, most of these clothes are worn an average of just five times. sequins are nothing but tiny plastic pieces. so more plastic. more wastage. more pollution. they have toxic additives that are harmful to our health.

these pieces fall off easily and end up in our waterways when we wash them in the washing machine. this then further ends up disrupting marine life. fish will confuse it for food and swallow it. it doesn’t just stay in the rivers but becomes part of our food chain. you might not want to believe it but whether we are eating fish or drinking water, we are consuming plastic that is toxic for us.

so now that we know the crazy destruction these tiny things can cause, we should avoid it at any cost. after all, a few hours of glitter and shine should not be worth all this trouble.

but the heart wants what it wants and we haven’t stopped looking.

do we have any sustainable alternatives?

well, experts have their innovation hat on as they look for viable options to get the same shine and feel. but finding a sustainable non-plastic alternative to sequins is difficult. Organizations like the Future Fashion Factory are working on it as we speak. Designer Elisa Brunato has been able to develop a compostable sequin made of 100% plant-based cellulose.

This tree-based cellulose can be extracted from any tree and has a natural polymer structure that reflects light. once developed, these sequins can be sewn into clothes but the good part of them is that they will eventually biodegrade.  

we still have a long way to go and till the time we get a biodegradable alternative to these sequins, the best we can do is look for some other way to add some bling to our clothes.

have a happy weekend. enjoy and live aastey.