Twelve players in the fashion and textile industries are breaking new ground by demonstrating an entirely circular model for commercial garment production. The consortium of brands, manufacturers, suppliers, innovators and research institutes participating in the European Union-funded “New Cotton Project,” is set out to prove that circular, sustainable fashion is not only an ambition but can be achieved today. The project also aims to act as an inspiration and steppingstone for further, even bigger circular initiatives in the industry going forward, said the group.
During a three-year period, textile waste will be collected, sorted and regenerated into Finnish biotechnology group Infinited Fiber Company’s cellulose-based textile fibers. The fibers will be used to create different types of fabrics for clothing that will be designed, manufactured and sold by global brand adidas and companies in the H&M Group. At the end-of-use, apparel take-back programs will collect the clothing to determine the next phase in their lifecycle. Clothing that can no longer be worn will be returned for regeneration into new fibres, further contributing to a circular economy in which textiles never go to waste but are reused, recycled or regenerated into new garments instead.
The EU has identified the high-potential for circularity within the textile industry, while simultaneously highlighting the urgent need for the development of technologies to produce and design sustainable and circular bio-based materials, said the consortium. The EU-funded New Cotton Project (CE-FNR-14-2020 – Innovative Textiles – Reinventing Fashion), with its consortium partners from Finland, Portugal, Sweden, Germany, The Netherlands, Slovenia and Turkey, directly addresses these critical issues and pioneers the implementation of a circular operating model for the textile industry.
“We are very excited and proud to lead this project, which is breaking new ground when it comes to making circularity in the textile industry a reality. The enthusiasm and commitment with which the entire consortium has come together to work towards a cleaner, more sustainable future for fashion is truly inspiring,” said Infinited Fiber Company’s Cofounder and CEO Petri Alava.
Infinited Fiber Company, whose patented technology can regenerate cellulose-rich textile waste into unique fibres that look and feel like cotton, is leading the consortium of 12 companies and organisations that span the entire supply chain. Manufacturers Inovafil, Tekstina and Kipas will use the regenerated fibers to produce yarns, woven fabrics and denim respectively. adidas and companies in the H&M Group will design, manufacture and sell clothing made from the fabrics. adidas is also collecting customer feedback and insights, and developing its textile take-back program to reintegrate returned apparel back into the loop.