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Fashion For Good’s Latest Project Transforms Agricultural Waste Into Fibers.

Fashion is stuck in a pattern of ‘take-make-waste’, which causes devastating environmental impacts, not to mention huge economic losses. On average, we buy 60% more clothing than we did 15 years ago — but we keep each item only half as long. Plus, it is estimated that nearly 60% of all clothing produced ends up being burned or in landfills within one year of being made. It doesn’t need to be this way. The fashion industry can transform from the linear ‘take-make-waste’ model to a circular Good Fashion approach that is restorative and regenerative by design.

Fashion for Good is a global platform for innovation, made possible through industry-wide collaboration and a global movement of change-makers.

At the core of Fashion for Good is their innovation platform. Based in Amsterdam with a satellite program in Asia, the global accelerator program gives promising start-up innovators the expertise and access to funding they need to grow. The platform also supports innovators through its scaling program and foundational projects, driving pilots and supply chain implementation with partner organizations. 

“We believe that good fashion is not only possible, it is within reach — what the industry lacks are the resources, tools and incentives to put it into relentless practice. Our mission at Fashion for Good is to bring together the entire fashion ecosystem through our Innovation Platform and as a convener for change.”

As a convener for change, Fashion for Good houses the world’s first interactive museum dedicated to sustainable fashion and innovation, a Circular Apparel Community co-working space, and creates open-source resources and reports.

Good fashion is not fashion that simply looks good or is mostly good. It is good in five important ways:

Good Materials:  Safe, healthy and designed for reuse and recycling
Good Econom:  Growing, circular, shared and benefiting everyone
Good Energy:  Renewable and clean
Good Water:  Clean and available to all
Good Lives:  Living and working conditions that are just, safe and dignified

“The Five Goods represent an aspirational framework we can all use to work towards a world in which we do not simply take, make, waste, but rather take, make, renew, restore,William McDonough, co-founder of Fashion for Good stated.

Untapped Agricultural Waste Project

On February 22, Fashion for Good launched the ‘Untapped Agricultural Waste Project’ to validate and scale technologies that can successfully transform agricultural waste into sustainable textile fibers. With catalytic funding provided by

Laudes Foundation, Fashion for Good partners adidas, BESTSELLER, Vivobarefoot and Birla Cellulose, and six innovators, the consortium project will assess the technical feasibility of natural fibers created by the selected innovators using agricultural waste such as rice husks, hemp, wheat straw, banana and pineapple.

“This ambitious project explores a new source of feedstock for the fashion industry that, if scaled, will help drive both the agriculture and textile industry towards net-zero. We see great potential for these various agriculture waste streams that would otherwise have few secondary uses. By applying innovative technologies to develop natural fibers, we can diminish the pressure on existing natural fibers and shift away from unsustainable materials and sources,” Katrin Ley, managing director of Fashion for Good stated.

The six fiber innovators, AltMat, Bananatex, Chlorohemp, Agraloop by Circular Systems, HempTex India and 9Fiber, will be further developing a variety of different natural fibers and fiber blends with a focus on trialing the highest percentage of agricultural waste, while also achieving the necessary performance requirements.

Birla Cellulose will work closely with the innovators providing expertise to develop and prepare their new materials for wider adoption in the fashion supply chain, with the participating project brand partners supporting the testing and eventual scaling of these fibers.

“We are thrilled to be part of this project. As an innovator focused on the U.S. market, it has helped us communicate the value proposition of using available agri-waste resources for multiple applications. Through working with the brand partners and Fashion for Good’s industrial partners, we hope to learn the specifics of how our engineered material could be used in textile, footwear and apparel applications,” 9Fiber CEO Adin Alai, stated.

Towards further impact

This first phase of the project concludes in December 2022. To further drive supply chain adoption and move beyond lab scale, the next phase of the project will pilot the agri-waste fibers from selected innovators in collaboration with partner brands and supply chain players in commercial facilities to produce larger quantities. This next phase ultimately aims to further enable brand offtake agreements and financing to facilitate scaling. 

Fashion for Good’s programs are supported by founding partner Laudes Foundation, co-founder William McDonough and corporate partners adidas, C&A, CHANEL, BESTSELLER, Kering, Levi Strauss & Co., Otto Group, PVH Corp., Stella McCartney, Target and Zalando, and affiliate and regional partners Arvind, Birla Cellulose, HSBC, Norrøna, Pangaia, Reformation, Teijin Frontier, Vivobarefoot, Welspun and W. L. Gore & Associates.

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