The New Cotton Project has announced its completion of the first half of its three year project, which it has marked with the release of its first white paper and commercial collection launches with H&M and Adidas.
Launched in 2020, the consortium, which consists of 12 players within the manufacturing value chain and research institutes, was formed as a response to the EU’s plans to push for a circular economy within textiles.
Over its lifetime, the initiative is planning to collect and sort end-of-life textiles which could be regenerated using Infinited Fiber technology to make a cotton-like material, Infinna.
Its first commercial use will see the material used in Adidas and H&M AW22 collections as a way to fully demonstrate the circular garment production model.
As it reaches the midway point, New Cotton Project said it is celebrating the “successful implementation of the entire value chain from textile sorting to the production of garment samples”.
Its textile sorting, which has been completed by Frankenhuis and supported by Revolve Waste, includes the analysis of fabric composition in sorted textiles in order to identify the correct stock needed for Infinited Fiber processes.
Other steps, including pre-treatment and dying, have been tested and carried out by other partners, with final garment development run by Adidas and H&M, which are each preparing for their commercial launches.
Challenges and opportunities
As part of its research, New Cotton Project also highlighted challenges and opportunities it had encountered while looking into closed-loop solutions.
When sorting and designing, the consortium said that it had found fibre identification technologies limited and the lack of unified sorting systems caused a consistency issue.
The group added that new ways of communicating must be implemented in order to build closer collaboration between designers, sorting facilities and recycling technologies, with it already stating that it believes the project offers a good example of how this new way of working could have potential.
A further study by Adidas in conjunction with the initiative, exploring consumers’ attitudes towards sustainable fashion, revealed that there was still a lack of understanding around circularity in relation to textiles.
Carried out across three key markets, the report stated that there was a need to drive consumer education on the subject, however there was still an interest in take-back schemes and a willingness to accept recycled fabric.
The project will now be moving on to its second phase in which it will focus on data collection and analysis to continue building industry insights in connection with Fashion for Good.