Bio bling-bling made of wood

Sequins are the latest trend as the small plastic disks can make garments look really flashy. Designer Elissa Brunato demonstrates how this can also be done sustainably.

Shirts with reversible sequins which change their motif as you stroke your hand over them are the very latest trend. You can find the shiny plastic disks decorating many tops at the moment. Sequins have perennially been used in haute couture and have adorned many a stylish wedding dress, ball gown or little black dress over the years.

The shiny disks are normally produced industrially using mineral oil-based plastic or synthetic resin, meaning that they are not sustainable. Furthermore, clothes that have had sequins added are practically impossible to recycle. The sewn plastic parts finish up in waste along with the backing fabric. Then the mini plastic disks end up in the environment via different waste disposal channels and so become an environmental problem.

The “Bio Iridescent Sequin” is the result of a materials research and design project by designer Elissa Brunato which takes a sustainable approach to sequins. In cooperation with the material scientists Hjalmar Granberg and Tiffany Abitbol from the RISE Research Institutes of Sweden the designer has made shiny colourful sequins from wood which are compostable and produced using a waste-free production process.


Crystals are formed from wood-based cellulose that can be dried in coloured and iridescent layers by means of an extraction process. Sequins created using this process are light, have a similar texture to plastic and are 100% compostable. No chemicals need to be added during the production process. The organic material shines thanks to its natural characteristics and, unlike most dyes, does not fade in sunlight or over time.


The wooden sequins provide a sustainable alternative to the traditional glittery dyes that are currently used in the fashion and textile industries, proving that stylish accessories and textile finishing are absolutely compatible with sustainability. Elissa Brunato describes it in the following manner, “The Bio Iridescent Sequin colour means rethinking the use of dyes and finishing in the fashion and textile industries. It involves using renewable raw materials that are available naturally on the planet. This is what makes this project so trend-setting and innovative, as it has the potential to replace existing methods.”


Sustainability at PromoTex Expo

Sustainability and new business models for the textile industry are also key themes in Forum 13 where the PromoTex Expo lecture programme takes place. You can also find sustainable concepts and potential solutions by new and established companies in the special “Textile Campus” area.


You can also find the corresponding technology and machines for textile finishing at viscom – Europe’s trade fair for visual communication which takes place in parallel in Hall 13. Alongside best-practice examples, you will also discover textile workflows. A visit to the neighbouring hall is always worthwhile and already included in your PromoTex Expo ticket.

Images: Elissa Brunato