The U.S. natural indigo dye manufacturer and the 146-year-old Italian textile mill were the recipients of Groundbreaker Award given by the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana (The National Chamber of Italian Fashion) at the 2022 Sustainable Fashion Awards in Milan on Sunday at the end of Milan Fashion Week. The two were recognized for their innovation projects Grounded Indigo and Biofusion.
The former is a sustainable coloring project developed by Albini_next that employs Stony Creek Colors’ highly pure and natural indigo called 100 percent BioPreferred. The indigo is certified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and grown by farmers in Tennessee and Florida. The dye works as well as synthetic indigo and was developed by Stony Creek Colors’ in-house seed genetics and agronomy program and proprietary extraction processes.
Albini_next is Albini Group’s innovation think tank dedicated to fostering change in materials, creativity and applied technologies in the textile sector. It worked in tandem with Stony Creek Colors to perfect the process of applying the natural indigo directly onto yarn. Albini now uses Stony Creek’s Grounded Indigo to tint its Biofusion yarns that are created from organic, scientifically traceable cotton grown exclusively for the group.
“The fashion supply chain is incredibly interwoven and collaboration is critical for innovation to occur at the pace needed to address environmental crises of today,” said Sarah Bellos, CEO and founder of Stony Creek Colors, who wore an upcycled wedding dress dyed with the company’s natural IndiGold indigo to the ceremony at La Scala opera house. “Starting from research with Albini_next on a repeatable yarn dye process, the exquisite collection of plant-based indigo from Stony Creek Colors and traceable cotton fabrics proves brands do not need to sacrifice luxury or beauty while implementing renewable, climate positive solutions.”
According to the ceremony’s program, “The Groundbreaker Award intends to recognize the work of startups, fashion brands and suppliers on the creation of innovative solutions that address critical pain points within the fashion industry, such as intensive farming practices, the use of toxic chemicals across the supply chain and the reliance on fossil-based as well as natural material that contribute to land degradation. The award focuses not only on the innovative elements of the solution itself but also on the possibility of applying such innovations at scale and creating positive environmental and social impact. Special focus has been given to innovations focusing on natural or bio-based solutions to replace conventional technologies that degrade land and deplete natural resources.”
Tennessee-based Stony Creek Colors was nominated by the Fashion Institute of Technology and this year’s other nominees in the Groundbreaker category were Bananatex, a fabric made from banana plants, and Demetra by “Off the Grid” by Gucci, an animal-free fabric created from a mix of wood pulp compound, biobased polyurethane and viscose.
This year’s Sustainable Fashion Awards were presented in collaboration with the United Nations Ethical Fashion Initiative and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.