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YKK’s New Products Address Fashion’s Plastic and Waste Problems

COVID-19 recovery is on the horizon but the pandemic's impact on sustainability, retail, product development and consumer buying patterns means the denim industry must evolve. Join Rivet on April 20th at 11 am ET for the COVID, One Year Later roundtable.

Though experts throughout the fashion industry have questioned whether or not sustainability will continue to be a top priority in the aftermath of Covid-19, global trims supplier YKK’s latest collection proves its focus is unwavering.

The company debuted its Spring/Summer 2022 collection with three sustainably focused offerings: Natulon, which features taping made of recycled polyester yarn; AcroPlating, which uses environmentally friendly finishing for snaps and buttons; and Vislon Nylon, a recyclable zipper.

YKK’s Natulon series uses recycled polyester yarn for the tape material, and consists of Ocean Sourced, a line of zippers made from ocean-bound plastic waste, and GreenRise, the industry’s first zipper made with plant-derived components. The collection aims to reduce the use of petroleum-derived materials, lower the company’s greenhouse gas emissions and decrease the amount of plastic waste that’s disposed.

AcroPlating is YKK’s solution for environmentally friendlier finishing for snaps and buttons. The company noted that its technology has been proven to have a significantly lower environmental impact than conventional plating, while reducing chemical consumption, GHG emissions, sludge, thermal energy and water usage. The product also shows a strong resistance corrosion and dry cleaning, and is available in six colorways.

YKK’s Vislon Nylon makes it possible to recycle zippers without having to separate all of their components beforehand. The product features a structure that’s almost entirely polyamide, meaning it’s more easily recycled together with the nylon garment on which it is sewn.

Vislon Nylon

According to Saki Uesugi, products innovation team member for YKK Italia S.p.A., the collection brings functionality to the forefront.

“We are designing materials and manufacturing processes, not just colors and shapes,” Uesugi said. “While keeping the appearance familiar, we are building various technologies to realize them with more sustainable materials and manufacturing methods.”

The collection will be presented in a virtual showcase to accommodate the growing digital demands of partners. The digital presentation includes a 3D and color options simulator, which will help demonstrate YKK’s new offerings more clearly—a concept that’s taken hold throughout the industry during the pandemic.

Digital solutions are emerging as a top area of focus for fashion, which has traditionally relied heavily on physical sampling. Following the onset of the pandemic, Spanish technology firm Jeanologia debuted eDesigner, a tool that ensures the accuracy of garment finishing and shows designers a more accurate portrayal of a product.

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