Nothing is more refreshing than starting a brand new year focusing on solutions. A silver-lining in the textile world as I like to describe it!
As we are all aware, the fashion industry is driven by consumerism, which has rapidly grown in recent years. As Fast fashion becomes more prevalent, garments are produced on shorter timeframes with brand new designs appearing every few weeks to satisfy demand for the latest trends, however the price humanity pays is significant.
It is estimated that 20 new garments are manufactured per person each year and we are buying 60% more than we were back in 2000. Each article is worn less before being disposed and this shorter lifespan means higher relative manufacturing emissions.
Clothing costs have risen slower than those of other consumer goods, increasing affordability, and there will be continued growth as the middle class expands and purchases increase to match this demographic shift. This combination of factors is expected to result in a tripling of resource consumption by 2050 (compared to 2000).
No secret here, that textile production is one of the most polluting industries, producing 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year, which results in more emissions than international flights and maritime shipping. Over 60% of textiles are used in the clothing industry and a large proportions of clothing manufacturing occurs in China and India, countries which rely on fueled power plants, increasing the footprint of each garment. It has been stated that around 5% of total global emissions come from the fashion industry.
Emissions from manufacturing depend in part on the material produced. Synthetic fibers have seen rapid production growth since their introduction in the second half of the twentieth century. Polyester is now the most commonly used fabric in clothing, having overtaken cotton early in the twenty-first century. For polyester and other synthetic materials, the emissions for production are much higher as they are produced from fossil fuels such as crude oil. In 2015, production of polyester for textiles use results in more than 706 billion kg of CO2e. A single polyester t-shirt has emissions of 5.5 kg CO2e, compared with 2.1 kg CO2e for one made from cotton. However cotton is a thirsty crop and its production has greater impacts on land and water.
Thats why Andover, Massachusetts based Polartec LLC - a Milliken & Company business has recently introduced the Polartec® Power Air™.
It's impressive knit construction of the fabric is designed to encapsulate air and retain warmth while also reducing the amount of microfiber shedding, which can be especially problematic with fleece-type fabrics. According to Polartec, the fabric “offers advanced thermal efficiency by encapsulating lofted fibers within a multilayer, continuous yarn fabric construction which reduces shedding,” by at least five times when compared to other premium mid-layer-weight fabrics.
Here is the final result that we all love : The Houdini Mono Air Houdini fleece jacket using Polartec® fabric.
Credit: Houdini, 2021
Polartec® Power Air is manufactured by using recycled polyester and elasterall-p, which makes it 100-percent recyclable and circular.The fabric also is highly durable and resists pilling.
Sweden-based Houdini — an outdoor company focused on sustainable apparel — selected Polartec® Power Air for its Mono Air Houdi fleece jacket. As part of its mission to help designers fight plastic waste, Houdini has made the work behind the jacket — including the design, stitching patterns and list of components — available online for download through the Project Mono Air open-source initiative.
The company’s goal is to encourage the apparel industry to become circular and waste-free — a vision that Houdini believes will require collaboration and considerable transformation in the industry.
Eva Karlsoon, Houdini's CEO defines it better for our Rethinktex readers:
“The apparel industry is advancing when it comes to sustainable solutions, which is great,” “But we need to speed up the pace. The insight that sparked the idea of Project Mono Air was that if we want to really change the industry for the better, we can’t keep our innovations and discoveries to ourselves. If we all share the problem, why not also share the solutions?”.
“The goal with the open-source project is not to create identical copies of the Mono Air, but to let the work behind it become useful in the development of new products,” says Jesper Danielsson, head of Design and Innovation, Houdini. “If this can lead to new circular breakthroughs in the fashion industry — be it in the hands of a basement designer or billion-dollar brand — we are on the right path.”
“Polartec® Power Air is a step forward in reducing the environmental impact on our planet, and for that we are beyond grateful.