We have written a lot about smart textiles. I have even given keynotes at various events on the topic. Therefore it is no secret that this is an area that is evolving. Whether it is finding a solution in the byproducts of the food industry or growing leather in a lab, these are exciting times.
Among the many ideas and great innovation, we, over the years, have come across many startups doing wonderful things in this space. Recently, Fashion For Good introduced us to 14 startups selected for their Plug and Play Fashion for Good Accelerator Program. Of the 14, the following five genius startups, committed to a sustainable and transparent future, stood out for us.
We recently wrote about Algiknit. They are a startup that produces textile fibres extruded from kelp, a variety of seaweed. The extrusion process turns the biopolymer mixture into a kelp-based thread that can be knitted, or 3D printed to minimise waste. The final knitwear is biodegradable and can be dyed with natural pigments in a closed loop cycle.
Frumat uses apples to create a leather-like material. Apple pectin is an industrial waste product which can be used to develop sustainable materials that are entirely compostable while still being durable enough to create luxury accessories. The materials can be dyed naturally and tanned without chemically intensive techniques.
Mango Materials produces biodegradable bio-polyester that can be used as a sustainable alternative to the persistent polyester utilised in the fashion industry. Microfibres produced from the bio-polyester can biodegrade in many environments, including landfills, wastewater treatment plants, and the oceans helping to prevent microfibre pollution and contributing to a closed-loop bio-economy for the fashion industry.
Nano Textile offers a sustainable alternative to binder chemicals usually used to attach finishes onto a piece of fabric. Its technology embeds fabric finishes directly into a fabric using a process called Cavitation and can apply to a range of products such as antibacterial & anti-odour finishes or water repellency. This protects the end-user and the environment from the leaching of hazardous chemicals.
Provenance bio-engineers a natural leather by programming the self-assembly of collagen cells, the building blocks of leather. This next generation fabric delivers an efficient and sustainable alternative to leather without harming animals.