Recycled textiles on the red carpet
Maria Ohisalo, Interior Minister of Finland, was wearing a dress made from recycled materials for an annual reception at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki. The evening dress material is made by Finnish Infinited Fiber Company (IFC).
IFC says the Interior Minister wanted to wear a dress that underlines the future direction for sustainable consumption of textiles. “We need solutions to cope with the escalating textile waste problem caused by fast fashion. The problem can be solved by increasing the life cycle of garments, developing repair and rental services and innovations for recycling the textile waste,” says Ohisalo.
The dress is made from post-consumer cotton-based textile waste that would have been either burned or sent to landfills. Now the fibers got a new and enhanced life ahead. When the dress has come to the end of its new life, it can be put through the same process again.
The fabric has the same appearance, touch and feel as cotton but the fiber has enhanced qualities that beat conventional cotton both technically and ecologically, according to IFC: The material preserves it dyes better and it needs less rounds in the washer.
Several global fashion brands, like Lee, Wrangler and Tommy Hilfiger, have tested the IFC fiber in their production with success. Last week Swedish Weekday brand announced their denim garment designed together with the Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams.
Designer of Minister Ohisalo’s evening dress Anne-Mari Pahkala has always been interested in technology and new innovations in fashion industry. “I find it important that industry and science seek for new solutions for the drastic problems of the textile industry. My interest towards IFC awaked when I was visiting their mill together with Maria Ohisalo. Soon after the visit we began our common project that aimed to design and make a luxurious evening dress from the basis of this material of the future,” says Pahkala.
New and better man-made cotton made in IFC’s process excludes high amount of carbon and methane emissions, as well as fertilizers, fresh water and chemicals used by cotton farming. The emissions caused by the textile industry already exceed the amount generated by the international flights and maritime shipping together, according to IFC.
The technological feature in IFC’s process is that it can separate the synthetic fibers from cotton. The remaining pure biodegrading natural cellulose can be recycled through the same process endlessly without weakening the fiber quality.
IFC is manufacturing fiber from post-consumer textile waste at its pilot plant in Finland 50 tons per year and is building another 500-ton mill to provide more fiber for global fashion brand’s tests and capsule collections. The business is aiming at global technology licensing for the textile industry.