Circularity and Innovation in Textiles & Apparel
Look your best while feeling good about your impact on the environment with fashion-forward brands reinventing the supply chain in the textile industry. It’s becoming trendy to source your next ensemble from a sustainable and globally conscientious clothing company. The fashion industry is trying on new methods of sourcing materials and is producing garments within a vibrant and growing circular economy.
The Spinning Wheel of Innovation at Spinnova
Spinnova is an innovator bringing new textile technology to an age-old product. Fabric has long been associated with cotton, a resource that requires massive water consumption and pesticides. Polyester also had its heyday, yet it relies on the non-renewable resource of petroleum. An innovative development is creating a new kind of fabric that is made from recycled materials like ground up wood pulp and agricultural waste spun into a creative new wool for performance fabrics in consumer apparel goods. Spinnova aims to manufacture one million tons of this fiber per year in the next 10-12 years. With factory operations in Finland, they plan to meet the growing demand for sustainable textile materials along with the world’s largest cellulose producing partner, Suzano.
Spinnova also secured strong partnerships with brands like Adidas and The North Face, so consumers can now experience this new performance fabric, SPINNOVA® fibre. This knit is made with a blend of organic cotton and sustainable wood-based material and can be found in the Adidas TERREX HS1 hoodie and outdoor apparel from The North Face, made without dyeing or bleaching chemicals.
Trailblazing Fashion Innovators – Timberland & Patagonia
Timberland announced their new program, Timberloop, incentivizing their loyal customers to send back worn products to be disassembled and upcycled into new consumer goods through their partner, ReCircled. In the company’s “race to end waste” the materials extracted from the original boot (leather, metal, plastic) are sent to recycling company partners ReCircled, who then become the raw material suppliers for Timberland’s new boot manufacturing, eliminating unnecessary, wasteful disposal of boots and apparel to landfills. The design teams at Timberland are innovating as well, encouraged to bring new styles to market that use these recycled materials in smart and fashionable ways, as well as the task to design footwear that is easier to disassemble and recycle again at the end of its product lifeline.
Though the concept of repairing, refurbishing, or repurposing products is not new, Timberland is joining a growing list of clothing and shoe brands focusing on improving the circular fashion economy. Patagonia was one of the leading brands to take on this challenge years ago, educating their customers about ways to keep their clothing out of landfills. They recognized that the worldwide clothing industry produces up to 10 percent of global carbon emissions with no accountability to reduce their resource consumption in the coming years. Although there are successful players in the clothing resale space like ThredUp, the new strategy for retail brands like Patagonia is to create their own upcycling stream processes to lower their environmental impact as a company and meet the demand of customers who value social responsibility in the labels they purchase and wear. Patagonia’s innovative partners in these endeavors include Vertical Knits, a Mexico-based manufacturer and Infinited Fiber, a Finland-based company specializing in reborn textiles. These collaborations are closing the loop on a complicated problem and also set a fine example for other clothing manufacturers to follow suit.
Wearing brands that have our Earth’s best interests in mind looks good on everyone! These textile and apparel manufacturers are finding the right partnerships and are collaborating in significant and impactful ways- making a positive difference in our environment while growing brand loyalty and creating clothing the next generation of fashion-forward thinkers buy.
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