Innovator Spotlight: Smart Material Choices

Share This

At least two thirds of a brand’s environmental footprint can be attributed to its choice of raw materials, as reported in the GFA Monitor 2022. Hence, choosing and using the right fibres and materials, as well as production practices, is key to limiting the far-ranging implications for the biosphere.

For the fashion industry to meet the target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, CO2 emitted during textile fibre and material production must be reduced by at least 45 per cent by 2030, compared to a 2019 baseline. Across material types, the fashion industry will have to invest in the development of new innovative materials, business models, and systems necessary to meet the reduction goal.

Featured in our Innovation Forum, the following companies are promoting smart material choices and paving the way for industry-wide transformation by introducing innovative materials to disrupt the current trajectory and reduce the footprint of garment & footwear production.

  • Arch and Hook is helping retail and fashion brands around the word reach their sustainability goals by designing and producing sustainable clothing hangers, furniture and fixtures. Their own material, BLUEWAVE® is created from 100% recycled post-consumer and post-industrial waste that has been gathered from riversides and coastlines in Southeast Asia. Instead of allowing this waste to end up polluting our oceans, Arch & Hook sees it as a chance to protect them as well as reduce the production of fossil-fuel based virgin plastic. From sportswear, department stores, high-end fashion and the hospitality industry, to name a few, Arch & Hook has supported hundreds of companies around the globe to advance their sustainability targets.
  • Balena is a material science company that develops compostable and biodegradable thermoplastic material. The company’s mission is to create a circular model for consumer products by addressing one of the fashion industry’s biggest challenges: the products’ end-of-life. Balena’s first material, BioCir™, is a fully compostable and biodegradable thermoplastic that enables the production of flexible and elastomeric products that can be responsibly disposed of through BioCycling (biological recycling). Through its innovative solution, Balena is making significant contributions towards sustainability and reducing environmental pollution in the fashion industry.
  • Birla Cellulose, part of Aditya Birla Group, is a leading producer of sustainable man-made cellulosic fibre (MMCF) with 12 global pulp and fibre facilities that employ closed-loop systems and ecologically friendly technologies. Its sustainable products such as Livaeco, Liva Reviva, Birla Excel (lyocell) are designed with sustainable credentials that are ideal for fashion and lifestyle applications, while being completely biodegradable. MMCF are produced from natural and renewable wood sourced from sustainably managed and certified sources. Birla Cellulose works with industry partners and organizations to implement best practices in their operations and across their value chain, with an emphasis on sustainability, innovation, and collaboration.
  • Bolt Threads is a sustainable materials company that is on a mission to create and scale better materials by developing sustainable solutions for the apparel and beauty industries, drawing inspiration from nature. Their flagship product, Mylo, is a leather replacement created from mycelium that provides all the benefits of real leather without the environmental disadvantages of raising livestock. Bolt Threads partners with top brands, including Adidas and Stella McCartney, to develop high-performance, eco-friendly products that set a new standard for sustainability in fashion, putting us on a path towards a more sustainable future.
  • Desserto’s mission is to be a leader in innovation by providing high-quality materials created with environmentally friendly alternatives, with a vision of inclusivity and sustainability for all. Their highly sustainable and partially biodegradable plant-based material, Desserto®, is derived from cactus and works as an alternative to leather. Through their value chain, the company has established a holistic sustainable approach to meet with the industry’s most stringent environmental, social, and ethical criteria.
  • Eastman Naia is a cellulosic fibre brand with a mission to make sustainable textiles universally accessible. Their versatile Naia™ fibres solution combines technology, sustainability, and creativity to provide unlimited possibilities for sustainable style. Naia™ Renew cellulosic fibre is a fully traceable, bio-based fibre that incorporates 60% sustainably sourced wood pulp and 40% recycled waste material diverted from landfills to make new fibres without compromising softness or quality. With high standards for safety, social responsibility, and the environment, Naia™ fibres prioritise sustainable resources and a low environmental impact, enabling designers to express their vision for sustainable fashion.
  • HeiQ is focused on improving the lives of billions of people worldwide by adding hygiene, comfort, protection, and sustainability to everyday products. Their HeiQ AeoniQ™ fibre results from a proprietary manufacturing process that creates a climate-positive, biodegradable, and endlessly recyclable cellulosic filament yarn that can replace polyester and nylon, helping to reduce carbon emissions and environmental pollution caused by textiles. This makes the innovative material the world’s first climate-positive continuous cellulose filament yarn.
  • InResST is a low-carbon company focused on the feasibility research, development, production, and promotion of discarded fishing nets used in the textile industry. InResST recycled nylon staple fibre products are derived from recycled marine discarded fishing nets and mechanical recycling through low carbon factories. InResST’s mission is to reduce carbon emissions and protect marine ecosystems and biodiversity by partnering with environmentally conscious brands, manufacturers, and global non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to reduce plastic pollution.
  • Myco Works developed Fine Mycelium™, a patented technology that engineers mycelium – the root structure of mushrooms – to grow natural materials with the qualities and hand-feel of premium animal leather but with lower environmental impact. Fine Mycelium™ materials’ durability, customizability, and aesthetic features unlock new design possibilities while its tray-based, tunable process relieves existing supply chain constraints. In addition, the company partnered with Hermès to develop Sylvania, a new biomaterial hybrid of nature and biotechnology.

Share This

Other News Articles

    European Union: An Uncertain Legislature

    This article is a contribution from Jaime Villaverde, Associate Professor of Policital Science at the Universidad Pontifica Comillas and Public Affairs Consultant at Kreab Spain.

    Insights from the Unpacking Global Policy Masterclass

    The Unpacking Policy Masterclass provided a platform to dissect the global policy landscape and its implications for the fashion industry, especially in the context of the 2024 EU elections and the new European Commission mandate.

    Driving Sustainability Through Social Innovation

    The textile industry is one of the most labour-intensive industries in the world. Behind every garment we wear, there are people with their own stories. Fashion’s supply chain spans the globe and crosses many borders.