A new initiative once again turn fashion supply chain competitors into collaborators.
On Tuesday, global accelerator Fashion For Good, which focuses on innovations in sustainability, launched D(R)YE Factory of the Future, a consortium project that aims to accelerate the shift from wet to mostly dry textile processing. “Dry” textile processing refers to technologies that use little water, less energy and are effluent-free.
Textile processing is one of the largest contributors to carbon emissions in the supply chain. A recent report from Water Witness International (WWI), a U.K.-based organization focused on sustainable water resource management, found evidence of water pollution in certain African countries that support the global fashion supply chain. River flow was tainted with pH comparable to household bleach and a blue coloration reflective of nearby production sites.
According to Katrin Ley, Fashion For Good’s managing director, an industry-wide shift to dry processing is crucial for the path to net-zero—and collaboration is key to achieving that status.
“Given the interdependencies in the processing stages, a stand-alone assessment of solutions is not sufficient,” Ley said. “By validating a combination of technologies, we can unlock the full potential of those solutions. This is why this project is so pivotal.”
Led by Fashion For Good and its partners Adidas, Kering, PVH Corp., Arvind Limited and Welspun India, the consortium brings together eight innovators—many of which previously participated in one of Fashion For Good’s accelerator programs: Alchemie Technologies, which uses digital fluid jetting technology to dye polyester and cotton fabrics; Eco2Dye, which uses “supercritical carbon dioxide,” or carbon dioxide in fluid form, to dye polyester and wool yarns; Indigo Mill Designs, which uses a foam dyeing process that produces zero water discharge and minimal dye waste; Imogo, which developed a digitally enabled spray dyeing and finishing technology; and Stony Creek Colors, which creates natural indigo that’s free of hazardous chemicals.
Other companies include Deven Supercriticals, which dyes polyester, cotton and cotton-polyester blends using supercritical carbon dioxide; GRINP, which replaces traditional pre-treatments such as bleaching with its proprietary atmospheric plasma technology; and MTIX, which developed a multiplexed laser surface enhancement system for textiles.
Together, the companies are tasked with creating innovative solutions in pre-treatment and coloration, with a specific focus on innovations for denim, cotton, polyester, blends and wool. Fashion For Good estimates that the selected innovations have the potential to reduce emissions by up to 89 percent, and cut water consumption by between 83 percent and 95 percent.
The project’s innovations will be evaluated, and results are set to publish in a report later this year. Fashion For Good will also work with the participants to help implement the solutions at select manufacturers.