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  • IMPRESSIONS from a Cross-section


    How do you go about future-proofing your fibres?

    Occam's razor principle and purpose-driven innovations
    A new fibre innovation is not enough as brands have to constantly keep the fibre relevant in the minds of the end-consumer. Fibre2Fashion asked few fibre brands how they are future-proofing their fibre discoveries.

    Florian Heubrandner: At Lenzing, we believe the challenges faced by the fashion industry can only be solved through strong collaboration, knowledge sharing and cooperation. For many years, we have collaborated with like-minded supply chain partners while adhering to our sustainability principles and finding ways to improve our expertise and capability, always keeping our brand partners and customers in mind. This, alongside our strong focus on R&D has allowed us to bring to market new fibre types that will lead the industry for many fashion cycles.

    For example, the recent launch of our Tencel branded modal fibre with Indigo Color technology is designed to radically reduce the environmental impact of denim and create a precedent for brands and other industry partners to do their part to further reduce its impact. In addition, our carbonzero Tencel fibres have been developed to lead the textiles industry to emissions-free fibre production for many years to come. Our investment in cutting edge technologies and our close collaboration allows us to bring to market future-proof fibres with guaranteed eco-offerings for the industry.

    Sharon Chong: At Sateri, we have a two-prong approach in our product and innovation line up: We maintain a mainstream line of conventional products such as BV and EcoCosy fibres that meet the quality and sustainability needs and demands from most of the market and our clients. For customers who look for products with highly-specific requirements such as fibres with recycled content, we work with them to innovate new products that will meet their requested specifications. These new fibres may not have a wide market demand as yet, but we believe our firm's resolve to deliver a sustainable and affordable quality product to customers and consumers will help shift market demand and bring circularity from niche to the mainstream.

    Kazuki Morise: We complained for a long time that responsible innovation was critical. Today, there is finally a boost and many projects are coming to fruition after many years of development. Of course, not everyone is perhaps "interesting" and the in-depth knowledge of these possibilities will give us the opportunity to be even more competitive.

    Bemberg was born in Japan in 1931, and today Asahi Kasei is the sole maker and also delivers on factory-verified end-of-life options and a finalized LCA study signed by ICEA. This important step builds and confirms a new quality profile and standards for this one-of-a-kind material, helping to define and secure Bemberg's more responsible and unique position today, while facilitating and measuring continued smart improvements in the future of this one-of-a-kind extraordinary, new generation, natural smart material.

    Robert Jarausch: We are challenged with this question every day on how do you promote a fibre where, say, 90 per cent of the people in the world do not even know what a fibre is. So, we do it two ways. First, through targeted media, special media who are in textiles area as those people understand. And the other one is-what I explained earlier-to go to our end consumers and explain to them that the functions and the properties can also come from the fibre and explain them how this can intertwine with the properties they are looking for.

    SY Huang: The industry has learned a lot through its mistakes. We now have partners including BlueSign, the Higg Index and Oeko-Tex which are dedicated to developing sustainable standards and practices which can help see unintended issues well in advance. We can borrow from other industries too to learn from their successes and failures as well.

    Marina Crnoja-Cosic: Our innovation concept aims to meet the yet unmet consumer needs-using foresight techniques (like trend monitoring) to know about future developments in our society plays an important role. Knowing today the consumer's needs from tomorrow helps us to steer our developments in the right direction.

    Kirsi Terho: I would say that there haven't actually been that many new cellulosic fibres introduced to the market in several decades. Instead, there has been a lot of innovation to make the existing fibres more sustainable. Looking at the big problems that the textiles industry needs to solve, enabling circularity through fibre-to-fibre regeneration is a major solution. Infinited Fiber Company's technology offers a premium-quality, 100 per cent regenerated textile fibre that has the natural look and feel of cotton and offers a true alternative to the less sustainable conventional fibres that are based on virgin raw materials. The fibre is biodegradable and can also be recycled alongside other textile waste when it reaches the end of its valuable use as a garment. We feel that this combination of characteristics is the future-it's exactly what the brands are looking for in terms of lifecycle sustainability. To ensure this does become a solution to many of the industry's problems now really depends on scale. The next crucial step is for this technology to make the leap from pilot operations to commercial-scale volumes, and that is now our number one priority.

    Ruth Farrell: In 2020, we brought two new products to the market-Naia staple fibre and Naia Renew, and we will continue to bring new innovations with Naia. A key part of our portfolio development strategy is also around collaboration and a very close connect with our supply chain and value partners to deliver relevant solutions. For example, in 2020, we worked with DuPont Sorona to create a beautiful and sustainable fabric collection, we also worked with Transfertex on sustainable digital printing on Naia. These types of collaborations make sense as we all need to work together to create more sustainable choices for brands and consumers. Naia Renew recycled content is achieved by allocation of recycled plastics using an ISCC-certified mass balance process.

    Gianni Corso: We have several products in the pipeline, although we are consistent in following one path: sustainability. That doesn't mean, as mentioned earlier, a new product per day. It rather means a continuous improvement of the company in this direction which is at the moment well appreciated by all our customers.

    Daniel Uretsky: This also goes back to the Occam's razor principle and purpose-driven innovations. The elegance of simplicity alongside solving a real problem allows one to create both newness and timelessness simultaneously.

    Mike Simko: While continuing to improve our portfolio of fibres, Hyosung develops all of its fibres with the intention of making them stand the test of time. Our flagship fibre, Creora, which was developed in 1992, continues to be the world's largest spandex brand. Hyosung supplies one-third the capacity of spandex in the market.

    This article was first published in the March 2021 edition of the print magazine.

    Published on: 31/05/2021

    DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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