Nordic Clothing Companies Lead Way In ‘Looping Textiles’
The complexities of material composition and the fashion industry have made initial forays into clothing challenging for circular economy models. However, over the last 12 to 18 months there has been a noticeable growth in the development of new initiatives in the clothing space. Two recent examples in the Nordic context are Swedish based ShareWear and Finnish initiative – Relooping Fashion.
ShareWear was launched earlier this month by a group of Swedish designers. The initiative allows people to borrow an items of clothing for free, so long as the share it again after using it for one week. The whole mechanism is funnelled exclusively through Instagram, the clothing is shared with the first user to comment on the photo of the item.
The initiative was launched by VisitSweden and the Swedish Institute as part of an awareness raising campaign around the issues of textiles. It isn’t a long-term solution to the challenges around clothing and fashion, but it is an interesting innovation in terms of the flows of clothing that it has already been successfully able to create and it has engaged a number of Sweden’s more prominent designers.
On the technology side, Finnish-based Relooping Fashion Initiative is taking advantage of a new cellulose dissolution technology, developed by the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. (VTT), which can transform worn-out cotton clothing into new, high quality fibres for re-use in the textile industry. The initiative aims to transfer the technology to an industrial scale.
The pilot is expected to produce the first clothing lines made 100% out of recycled fibres by the end of 2016, when products will be also be made commercially available.
Other examples of textiles innovations include Seattle-based Evrnu, another example of technological innovation to improve fibre recovery, reuse and recycling. Recently, Rapanui co-founder, Martin Drake-Knight wrote on the value of transitioning to new business models and better design.
Despite arguably being one of the more challenging material streams to manage in a circular economy, there are some promising signs that technological and business model innovations could transform the textiles sector in the not too distant future.