Fashion & Textiles // How can innovation drive a sustainable fashion industry forward? //

Sustainability Dialogue: Fashion & Textiles

Pre-conference Webinar:

Thursday, 13 August | 14:00–15:00 CET

Sustainability is a rising challenge in the textile industry. During the pandemic and lockdowns, current supply chains are more than ever questioned. A growing number of stakeholders is already offering alternative solutions by working on novel technologies to provide a more sustainable way of producing materials, to use new bio-based resources and offer more circular approaches for stakeholders in the fashion value chain. This webinar presented insights into innovation approaches and consumer fashion trends.

Speakers:

The webinar provided insights on key developments in the field and future prospects:

  • What is the potential of the innovation in the field of sustainable fashion?
  • Which novel technologies are used to develop alternative solutions?
  • Do current innovations meet market needs and consumer demand?
  • Do circular approaches offer options for a long-term shift or does it stay a short-term trend?

Key Take-Aways

The third webinar, part of the EFIB Sustainability Dialogues, focused on the topic of Fashion & Textiles – How can innovation drive a sustainable fashion industry forward to which the speakers of the webinar, Noa Ben Moshe (Head of Marketing, nuuwaï), Bernhard Schipper (Products & Marketing, ScobyTec)and Karin Fleck (CEO, Vienna Textile Lab) presented their insights.

Noa Ben Moshe (Head of Marketing, nuuwaï) gave an overview of sustainability challenges in the fashion industry. She highlighted the fact that fashion manufacturing is responsible for 20% of global wastewater and 10% of global GHG emissions, among others, and that fashion brands need to deal with accountability and transparency measures as well as certificates in order to avoid greenwashing accusations. From her perspective, sustainable fashion and circular approaches are long-lasting trends that will stay and that will drive the need for innovative materials using by-products/waste materials as a resource. She gave a broad overview of existing start-ups offering vegan leather alternatives from pineapple, coffee, cactus, grape, cork, grass, or soy. She spoke in particular about nuuwaï’s perspective. nuuwaï is offering vegan bags that are made using apple leather which is a material half bio-based half PU-based. She underlined the long-term goal to reduce the PU-part to come up with a completely plastic-free material in the future.

Bernhard Schipper (Products & Marketing, ScobyTec) spoke about the work of ScobyTec, which is focused on producing vegan leather based on bacterial cellulose for broad usage in the fashion and textile industry. Schipper detailed the production and manufacturing plans to scale-up. He underlined, that the material produces has a very good performances and high durability and offers the advantage of being completely plastic-free and chemicals-free. The award-winning company is currently developing plans for a pilot plant production in Germany which is set up in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes CBP in Leuna. Bernhard also presented various partners and clients of ScobyTec, such as from the automotive industry (e.g. Volkswagen) and the fashion industry (wildling shoes, Armed Angels). He also talked about a current financing round which will be led by a regional investor from Germany and for which he is seeking further investors.

Karin Fleck (CEO, Vienna Textile Lab) addressed the issue of dyes and pigments impacting the environment and health and the solutions of Vienna Textile Lab. Fleck introduced the impact of dyes within the context of UN SDGs, such as health, gender equality, clean water and sanitization, innovation and infrastructure, climate action, life below water. The Austrian start-up works on sustainable dyes and colours made with bacteria and fungi. This attracts the fashion industry as companies are increasingly interested in new technologies and more sustainable approaches when it comes to dyeing textiles. The start-up is still in its early phases, currently working with designers to showcase first use cases and is looking for further cooperation partners and investors. As a next steps, the company aims to start a new manufacturing process for coloured garns. In the long-term a biorefinery approach of colour and dye production is planned.