Alternative fabrics hit the action-sports market

Surf’s up, dude — and so is action-sports apparel makers’ interest in alternative fabrics. (OK, that was a stretch.) Clothes made from organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, and even recycled plastic bottles are hitting the action-sports apparel market. Sustainability will “definitely be the next big wave,” says the oh-so-punny Don Brown of Sole Technology, parent company of Etnies. Not so active but still want to get gussied up in sustainable style? Scientists at the University of Nebraska plan to develop apparel from chicken feathers and rice straw. But you won’t look like you just had a roll in the hay: the feather-based fabric will resemble wool, while the straw-based fabric will have the look and feel of linen or cotton. The researchers envision markets for feathers and straw in everything from carpets to automobiles to building materials. And you never know when tar-and-feathering might come back in vogue.