June 23, 2021

Plant-based neoprene, merino eco-mixes and flexible size denim will lead fashion

6 min read

Here is a round-up of the latest in fabrics and fibers – from denim and wool to technical materials and chemicals.

The denim overview
Denim-focused trend consultancy Denim Dudes, launched The Denim Directory, a report that summarizes denim fabric trends for s/s 2022.
The 50-page report features the key trends of the season including a recap on sustainability to help denim brands achieve greener goals and continue their progress towards smarter design. It also includes fabric technology trends, new weaves and emerging fibers collected from across the global supply chain.

Photo: The Denim Directory

The Denim Directory report

Photo: The Denim Directory

The Denim Directory report

Launching with approximately 400 fabric qualities from more than 40 contributors, The Denim Directory includes offerings from mills, manufacturers, chemical companies and the surrounding supply chain. The Directory also includes 35 detailed profile pages on each contributor, showcasing an edit of their seasonal highlights. Mills include AGI, Bossa, Tejidos Royo, ISKO, Cone, Arvind and Calik, among others.

Guess my size and save the world
Soorty, a Pakistani vertically integrated denim company, has recently launched its new Re-Sync denim. This new jeans selection is characterized by a one-size-fits-all technology aimed to support size inclusivity while avoiding an overproduction of waste from the fashion industry. These adaptive jeans provide ultimate support to the wearer, sculpting the body with a 360° stretch comfort, enabling the garments to perform well two sizes up or down.

Denim by Soorty

Denim by Soorty

According to Soorty’s studies, each year the fashion industry produces around 150 billion garments out of which 30% is never sold and 84% ends up in landfills. The company has also discovered that apparel e-commerce is currently worth $360 billion, though an average 40% of clothing sold online is returned due to incorrect fit and size. Therefore, a $144 billion problem adds up in terms of unsold products.

Plunkett Research has also estimated that 68% of women in US wear sizes 14 and above, and they seem to have had enough of not getting their fashion needs met while shopping. Despite this, the size-inclusive market is worth $165.2 billion and offering correctly fitting jeans and could help satisfy this consumer group while avoiding that huge amounts of wrong size pieces are thrown away.

Cradle-to-Cradle denim
G-Star is launching The Deck, a new Cradle Certified Gold status ultra-high wide leg jean. This high-cut waist model is part of a new collection inspired by sailor clothing of the 18th century. The new style is 100% recyclable and uses Kir Denim O 2.0, a fabric by Artistic Milliners made with organic cotton and biodegradable stretch material. During the production of the fabric the mill used a special indigo dyeing process that saves 15% indigo, 70% chemicals and uses no salt.

G-Star's new The Deck style

G-Star’s new The Deck style

In addition, this process produces no salts as byproducts during the dyeing and reduction process. This helps to save water consistently–with clean and reusable wastewater as the end result. The process was developed as a partnership with DyStar. The new jeans model will be available in stores and on g-star.com from February 15, 2021 onwards.

 

Tollegno 1900 bets on merino mixes
Tollegno 1900, Italian fine-yarn manufacturer from the Biella district, is pushing its commitment toward sustainability forward. Its s/s 2022 collection is focused on merino wool combinations and two new eco-friendly yarns–Flaxwool, a mix of linen and extrafine merino wool, and Woolcot Bio, a conscious core product that combines RWS certified extrafine merino wool and organic cotton.

Tollegno 1900 Flaxwool

Tollegno 1900 Flaxwool

Pret-à-porter bets on smart innovation
Increasingly, more designer brands are focused on taking a sustainable path, including Missoni. For f/w 2021 the Italian brand has started offering a selection of items using recycled materials such as a knit bomber carrying recycled nylon-yarn injections that help create a padded effect.

Missoni look for f/w '21

Missoni look for f/w ’21

Z Zegna is keenly focused on combining ethics and aesthetics and for its f/w 2021 collection. It used 75% recycled materials such as high-end recycled cashmere for sweaters with Donegal or Mouline effects, a selection of cutting-edge design puffers filled with recycled paddings and a series of high-performance outerwear pieces made with waterproof finished regenerated wools.

Z Zegna for f/w '21

Z Zegna for f/w ’21

Plant-based neoprene is the new must
Plant-based foam rubber and stretch functional materials are a new essential in swimwear and sportswear. Yulex launched its portfolio of sustainable high-performance natural rubber products in 2017. Most of these materials are based on Hevea Brasiliensis, commonly known as the rubber tree. Unlike synthetic rubber, which is a petroleum product, natural rubber is a renewable resource and comes from plantations primarily in South and Southeast Asia as well as Central America.

Yulex wetsuit by Ansea

Yulex wetsuit by Ansea

This US company with headquarters in San Diego, California, USA and productive hubs in Guatemala, India, Sri Lanka, China and Taiwan, has an expertise in all areas of natural rubber production including agriculture, materials science and processing, product prototyping, regulatory issues and developing transparent supply chains for its customers. It was a pioneer in the introduction of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified natural rubber into the supply chain for consumer brands.

Among the first brands to adopt this very soft touch, highly stretchable and warm-keeping material was Patagonia for its sustainable wetsuits for surfers, along with other specialists in wetsuits and swimsuits including Ansea, Kiwi Woman and Slo Active.

Slo Active bikini

Slo Active bikini

The material is also used for scuba diving suits and triathalon gear, along with bags offered by Ansea and footwear uppers and midsoles by Sanuk. The British brand Hunter Boots launched a 100% sustainable and vegan collaboration with Stella McCartney offering a new sustainable rubber boot.

How Gore Fabrics heads for carbon neutrality
Gore Fabric Division has issued its 2020 sustainability report. Founded in 1986, it was among the pioneers in developing solvent-free adhesives for manufacturing garment laminates. Since then, it has continued taking sustainable steps, and now it aims to become carbon-neutral by 2050. It also wants to eliminate PFCEC from all its consumer laminates by 2023 and to continue to further reduce or eliminate PFCEC from its technical oriented products.
It reached its goals of 100% Oeko-Tex certified and 85% Bluesign approved consumer garments.

Outwear with Gore-Tex

Outwear with Gore-Tex

In 2020, it introduced its new Fabrics Division Sustainability Framework, a holistic approach covering and guiding all environmental and social programs. It also signed the Manifesto of S.O.S. SOIL–Save Organics in Soil–an international initiative aimed to encourage soil-management practices that respect the environment.

Archroma’s next goals
Archroma has recently issued its 2019 Sustainability Report. Among its latest achievements it has launched 27 new sustainable solutions.

The group’s key goals (all aimed for by 2023) include becoming carbon-neutral, lowering its water abstraction in water-stressed areas by 40%, pouring no hazardous waste into landfills and only selling products compliant to the Archroma MRSL (Manufacturing Restricted Substance List).

Toward a PP-free indigo world
Furthermore, Archroma has started a partnership with CleanKore, a technology innovator. Through this agreement Archroma’s dyes and specialty chemicals are used together with CleanKore’s patented process of dyeing yarns without using any potassium permanganate (PP) spray and laser booster to achieve abrasion effects in garment finishing.

From left: Regular indigo dyed yarns compared with yarns treated with Archroma CleanKore technology

From left: Regular indigo dyed yarns compared with yarns treated with Archroma CleanKore technology

The results are yarns with a small ring of indigo dye on their outer side and a large and circular bright white core. The technology eliminates the chemicals associated in the PP spray and laser process, which is much safer for denim workers, and allows saving significant amounts of water and energy throughout the manufacturing process from fabric to garmenting.

No new equipment or capital expenses are needed to implement the CleanKore technology, which works on all denim fabric, including dark indigo, sulfur top/bottom and sulfur black.

CleanKore estimates that the technology allows saving up to 15 liters of water per garment, or the equivalent to the drinking needs of five people per day, and up to 0.51 kWh of energy per garment, or the equivalent of five 100-watt light bulbs on for one hour. The CleanKore technology also leads to a 10%-20% increase in production throughput, as a result of a faster garment wash-down and the elimination of PP spray.

Kemin bets on self-produced enzymes
Kemin Industries, a global chemical manufacturer, has launched Kemzymes, a new range of self-produced enzymes developed specifically for garment washing. The first two lines available– Kemzymes KS and Kemzymes K–are to be used for stonewashing.

Kemzymes KS are a concentrated version of neutral cellulase enzymes, are designed to work at room temperature and included in the ZDHC Gateway, while offering the possibility to eliminate the use of pumice stones to generate stonewashed effects.

Kemzymes K, also included in the ZDHC Gateway, are strong powder enzymes that deliver a combination of abrasion power, sustainable characteristics and a profitable price-quality ratio value. They can be used as denim stonewashing enzymes by all types of industrial laundries.

 

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