After many years on the periphery, “sustainability” has become a more common term across the expanse of the global fashion industry. We do not have to look far to find a new report outlining a facet of the industry’s impact on the environment, or a new eco-conscious initiative aimed at curtailing or solving a specific issue. Awareness of the environmental impacts of global textile production has grown enormously in the past several years – certainly among industry audiences, but also, crucially, among groups of consumers.
More apparel brands are looking within, around, across and up and down their supply chains to identify areas for improvement. Industry organizations and associations are spearheading new programs to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration – a crucial piece of the puzzle, according to a recent report on the global textiles economy from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. And the rise of new and improved environmental certification and accreditation programs – such as Bluesign®, STeP by OEKO-TEX® and Cradle to Cradle® – are helping brands identify like-minded suppliers and providing more visibility into their supply chains.
These efforts are evidence that meaningful change is afoot. 2018 is an important year of action for the industry’s sustainability leaders and drivers of textile innovation. In the year ahead, we hope and expect to see more progress made toward system-level change.
Sustainability made available at scale is key. For its part, DuPont Biomaterials is focused on creating and progressing new textile solutions to help drive high performance and sustainability simultaneously. DuPont™ Sorona® is a partially plant-based fiber exhibiting unique, sought-after performance benefits, such as stretch and recovery, softness and quick-dry properties. In 2017, DuPont received the Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Award for European Bio-Based Materials Company of the Year. Sorona® has also earned Class 1 certification from the OEKO-TEX Standard 100.
The apparel applications of Sorona® are widely varied, including casual wear, high fashion, denim, performance fabrics, outerwear, intimate apparel, swimwear and suiting. Sorona® is also used in insulation, providing lightweight breathable warmth, outstanding fill power and performance, and great compression and recovery – making it an ideal choice for jackets, sleeping bags, gloves, hats, comforters and pillows.
Ultimately, any sustainable product needs to exhibit high-performance characteristics in order to have a seat at the table – meeting or exceeding the performance of its less sustainable counterparts. Sorona® performance attributes, including durability, wrinkle and fade resistance, and stretch and recovery, can help reform what has become a disposable textile economy. Sorona® is designed to help extend the life of garments, imbuing them with longer lasting quality and enduring value, encouraging consumers to keep them in use for longer.
One of the most inspiring outcomes of the fashion industry’s sustainability movement is the energy behind several collaborations to create even better materials. DuPont Industrial Biosciences is driving a number of collaborations with other industry players to create products that combine sustainability and high performance. In January, we had the pleasure of discussing this collection of developmental materials with leading active wear brands at the Outdoor Retailer and ISPO Munich shows.
Advances in renewably sourced textiles and an emphasis on longer use, creative re-use and institutionalized recycling are key to this revolution. We strongly support this direction and look forward to our continued participation in driving this change.
About the Author
Renee Henze is the Global Marketing Director for DuPont™ Biomaterials at DuPont Industrial Biosciences. In addition to developing the strategic marketing direction for the business, Renee leads a team engaged in the downstream sales and marketing for existing and emerging renewably-resourced technologies. Through the development of high performance, renewable biomaterials, the DuPont biomaterials team is solving critical issues for industries as varied as packaging, food and cosmetics to apparel and carpeting, all facing the challenges of greening their supply chains and offering high performance, sustainable choices to their downstream customers. Renee’s current work with the bio-based fiber, Sorona®, has allowed her to work across the apparel value chain and interact closely with textile mills, brands and retailers in the outdoor and fashion apparel industry.