Twenty-mile clothing: localized production of apparel and accessories from agriculture-based materials

EPA Grant Number: SU835096
Title: Twenty-mile clothing: localized production of apparel and accessories from agriculture-based materials
Investigators: Cao, Huantian , Frett, John J. , Howard, Christine , Tattersall, Hillary , Piro, Karen
Institution: University of Delaware
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Phase: I
Project Period: August 15, 2011 through August 14, 2012
Project Amount: $15,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2011) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Sustainable and Healthy Communities , P3 Challenge Area - Chemical Safety , P3 Awards , Sustainable and Healthy Communities


Textile and apparel industry causes lots of environmental problems in fiber and dye production, textile manufacturing and dyeing, and global sourcing practices. Very few synthetic textile chemicals are healthy to the environment and human beings, and a large quantity of CO2 emission was related to international trade. To address these problems, we will design and develop apparel and accessories for University of Delaware (UD) students using natural, renewable, and locally grown materials such as wool, mohair, chicken feather, and natural dyes. Most of the materials will be produced in UD College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) and Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies (FASH), and all of the materials will be obtained within 20-mile radius of UD campus.


Our tasks in this project include: (a) growing sheep and shearing wool fibers (b) growing plants and extracting natural dyes from plants; (c) designing and producing a fashionable line of garments and accessories that would attract UD students; (d) evaluating the comfort, consumers’ acceptance, and cost of our design and product; (e) developing educational tools. By using locally grown materials in apparel production, the environmental pollution and carbon emissions will be reduced and health of industry employees and nearby community residents will be improved. This will also demonstrate a viable income source for local farmers. This project will be presented to CANR and FASH students. At the university and community levels, we will write an article for UDRESS, a UD student magazine, and display our design in UD Sustainability Day and Bookstore. We will also present this project at UD Extension programs such as “Women in Agriculture” and “4-H Youth Development”.

Expected Results:

The expected results of this project will include a line of apparel and accessories for UD students and a few textile swatches dyed with different colors. We will evaluate fiber and dye yields, and comfort, acceptance, and cost of our projects. Textile comfort will be evaluated in accordance with ASTM standard F1868, product comfort will be evaluated using human subject wearing test, and consumer acceptance will be evaluated using a survey.

Supplemental Keywords:

environmentally benign substitute, waste to value, toxic use reduction, agriculture byproducts

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report