Designers are always on the lookout for new clothing materials, sourcing products from the sea, food scraps, and cutting room floors. After all, in this zeitgeist of low waste, corporate accountability, and sustainable practices, it seems like the lens is constantly being aimed at ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle — especially in the textile industry, which has been labeled one of the top polluting industries on the planet. But even with all of that background, it’s pretty shocking to discover a t-shirt made from milk.
The Limitless Milk Shirt not only breaks the mold for being the first shirt made from milk, but the Los Angeles-based company behind it, Mi Terro, has also picked up the no-waste torch by using milk that would otherwise have been tossed, typically gathered directly from the farm.
The upcycled milk is converted to yarn via a special fermentation process that drains it of all fat and water. The remaining powdered milk is dissolved, dried, and purified to isolate the casein protein, which is turn stretched and spun into yarn. The milk yarn is then mixed with Micromodal, another environmentally-friendly fiber made from beechwood. Note that processing beechwood leaves behind no by-products and uses about 20 percent less water than cotton manufacturing.
The combined processes result in a material that is flexible for comfort and breathable, making it a great option for t-shirts. The team soon realized that these qualities made it a good option for other clothing, too, which is why they’ve since added underwear to their wardrobe of products. And since milk is naturally antimicrobial, the shirts are also anti-bacterial and repel smells common when working out or sweating on a hot day. Claiming to be three times softer than cotton, wearers describe the Limitless Milk Shirt as silk-like, soft, and stretchy.
With the goal of complete comfort in mind, the Milk Shirt is manufactured with premium threads and seamless design to avoid any rubbing or skin irritation and encourage a long-lasting product.
Even by using milk that otherwise would have been thrown out, the Limitless Milk Shirt and add-on underwear cost some money to produce, but luckily the company’s Kickstarter campaign was fully funded in the first few hours. The campaign officially comes to a close on September 15th, but at the time of writing, over $25,000 had been pledged towards the meager $3,000 goal.
Mi Terro Global, the company behind the milk fabric clothing, aims to offer sustainability in every step of their manufacturing process. To this end, their items are shipped in reused or sustainable materials to minimize waste and avoid the use of harmful plastics. Durability of the Milk Shirt is another main focus in order to avoid the fast fashion waste that’s so prevalent these days. And who doesn’t want a shirt that lasts a really long time?
Water consumption is another concern for Mi Terro, as it should be throughout the entire textile industry. However, consumers also play a part in water use during washings. To counter it, the company encourages consumers to wash their Milk Shirts half as often to save water and keep chemicals present in detergent from being sent into the water system. Besides, the anti-microbial components in the tees mean they don’t need to be washed nearly as often as normal ones. Best of all, Mi Terro is partnering with Eden Reforestation Projects to plant 10 trees for every shirt sold.