Adidas and H&M’s Circular Fashion Pilot Reaches Key Milestone – Sourcing Journal

Adidas and H&M will launch the first garments from a European Union-funded project that brings together brands, manufacturers, innovators and researchers to pilot and grow circular fashion.

“They will be the first to be produced through a collaborative consortium dedicated to demonstrating the potential of a circular model for commercial garment production, testing a new, innovative and more sustainable way of working,” launched the new three-year cotton project. in 2020, said in a midterm update this week.

With the cooperation of its 12 partners, the process of sorting, managing and then recycling cellulose-rich materials has become a well-oiled machine.

Responsible for managing the textile sorting and mechanical processing phase of the project, Frankenhuis analyzes the fabric composition of the collected materials to identify the right raw material for Infinited Fiber Company. It is supported by REvolve Waste, whose current mission is to map the location and content of textile waste across Europe.

Xamk, a scientific institute, has optimized a pre-treatment process for collected textiles. Infinited Fiber Company, which is building a commercial-scale plant in Finland, is working its magic to create Infinna, a regenerated synthetic cellulosic fiber that has also won takeovers from Ganni, Pangaia and Zara. The beneficiaries of this premium are the manufacturers Kipas, Inovafil and Tekstina, who test, produce and dye the resulting high-value yarns and fabrics.

Now that they have successfully tested and developed styles made with Infinna, Adidas and H&M are gearing up for commercial production. Infinna, which the New Cotton Project says “looks and feels like virgin cotton,” will infuse “pioneering pieces” by both nameplate retailers this fall/winter, providing proof of concept for truly circular fashion.

But challenges abound before more recyclable clothing becomes a broader reality. A stumbling block? Attitudes. A survey conducted by Adidas in three key markets revealed a persistent “lack of understanding” around circularity as it relates to textiles, underscoring the need for greater consumer education.

There are, however, bright spots. More than half of respondents said they want to engage in brand-independent take-back programs. This includes the return of clothing and footwear featured in the sportswear giant’s Made to Be Remade range, which is designed to be shredded and reconstituted into a “next generation” of products.

The survey also revealed an overall positive perception of recycled fabrics, including a willingness among respondents to accept variations in recycled fabrics. This suggests that a “wider supply of recycled clothing will be well received in the market,” the New Cotton Project said.

Since sorting for recycling is key to unlocking circularity within the industry, the limitations of fiber identification technologies and the lack of a unified system to enable more consistent raw materials are hampering progress. Mandatory reporting requirements for fiber composition in clothing can also help to reliably assess the recyclability of materials, he said.

It is also important to design circularity and end-of-life solutions first. Since the recyclability of a garment is determined during the design phase, the use of spandex, multiple layers of different textiles and unnecessary fiber blends should be minimized.

Then there is the need for “new ways” of communicating and working across the value chain, the New Cotton Project said. A key to success, he pointed out, is closer collaboration between designers, sorting facilities and recycling technologies.

As a ‘test and learn process’, the New Cotton Project has incorporated the lessons it has gleaned so far to achieve ‘very positive results’. And whatever the future holds, the two capsules are definitely a milestone, he noted. So far, only 1% of clothes produced worldwide are recycled into new clothes, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

“This is an important step as we strive to change the system in how we produce and consume fashion,” the New Cotton Project said. “Furthermore, this project should hopefully inspire others in the industry to drive and adopt their own circular practices.”

As it enters its back half, the New Cotton Project will continue to focus its attention on collecting and analyzing data to “highlight industry-relevant information”, it said. he declares. The results, which will include a “circular ecosystem blueprint” from Aalto University, will be disseminated through the Fashion for Good innovation platform. Sweden’s RISE research institutes will develop a life cycle assessment, “identifying opportunities for progress to further develop the concept”.

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