Oversized collars, puff sleeves and lug sole boots are the global hallmarks of a #GanniGirl, and now you can add circular fibers to the list.
Infinited Fiber Company, the Finnish circular fashion technology group and maker of Infinna, a regenerated textile fiber with the soft and natural look and feel of virgin cotton, announced this week that it has entered a partnership with Ganni. The products are yet to be confirmed but are expected to launch in 2022.
Recently added to Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s biodiversity circular examples library, Infinna fibers are created with a patented technology that transforms cotton-rich textile waste that would otherwise end up in landfills into premium-quality fibers. Locally sourced in Finland by Infinited Fiber, old textiles are broken down at the molecular level and reborn as new microplastic-free cellulosic fibers.
Garments produced with Infinna can be recycled again in the same process with other textile waste. Eventually, Ganni could feed garments from its clothing take-back program to truly close the loop, Ganni founder Nicolaj Reffstrup told Sourcing Journal.
But even now, Infinna checks all of the brand’s boxes, including performance and price. Ganni has purchased 100 kilograms of the material, enough to make 500 T-shirts.
“Textiles are the new plastics,” said Reffstrup, paraphrasing Frans Timmermans, executive vice president for the European Green Deal. Using “transformative and innovative solutions” like Infinna, however, can increase the value of textile waste while taking brands like Ganni closer to creating more responsible collections.
Infinna is gaining traction with fashion-forward companies. E-tailer Zalando, H&M Group, Adidas and Bestseller’s investment arm Invest FWD A/S have each invested in the company to help scale production. Weekday bowed the first market-ready line of jeans made with Infinna in March, followed by Wrangler in September. The latter received an “honorable mention” by Fast Company in the sustainability category of its 2021 Innovation by Design Awards.
“Ganni is known for its forward-leaning approach to sustainability,” said Kirsi Terho, Infinited Fiber Company key account director. “We can’t wait to see #GanniGirls around the world bring our Infinna to life in beautiful clothes, and show off how upbeat and expressive designs created from a material made purely from textiles that have been given a second life can be.”
Ganni’s addition of Infinna builds on its circularity efforts. Along with offering in-store repairs and rental pieces, the brand will launch resale options in 2022.
More than 70 percent of the Scandinavian brand’s collection is currently made with certified organic or recycled materials, and it is committed to using only 100 percent responsible materials in the future. Ganni has experimented with utilizing excess stock and fabrics, like their recent collaboration with London-based Ahluwalia. It has also introduced cottonized hemp denim through its 2020 collaboration with Levi’s, along with a special upcycled denim rental collection.
In the longer term, the “not a sustainable” brand is phasing out all cowhide and replacing some with Vegea, a vegan leather alternative made from the stalks, skins and pips of grapes that are usually discarded during wine production. It‘s a major move, Reffstrup said, because animal-leather products currently make up one-third of Ganni‘s revenue.
Textiles are an important route to helping the label achieve its sustainability goals, he added. As a signatory of the United Nations Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, Ganni has committed to a 30 percent reduction of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilogram of clothing by 2030. Some 80 percent to 85 percent of its carbon footprint currently stems from its products, and between 60 percent to 65 percent from materials.
The brand is in talks with other startups to tackle the issue of polyester, its most-used synthetic fiber, though 85 percent of what it incorporates into clothing is already recycled. Ganni is aiming for 100 percent, but Reffstrup is also open to other possibilities, such as creating materials out of carbon emissions.
“It’s a never-ending quest, right?” he said. “We will constantly be looking for a better alternative. This will be an ongoing journey for the foreseeable future. It’s not like you get to a point where you‘re sustainable and that’s it.”
Reffstrup said he hopes that Ganni’s responsibility department will one day be obsolete.
“My dream scenario is when everybody’s so entrenched in the whole responsibility mindset that you don’t need a responsibility department because it’s just something you do,” he said. “Because, of course, why wouldn’t you?”
Additional reporting by Jasmin Malik Chua.