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Material Innovations Report 2021

Released as of

Report Info

“At the end of the day everyone wants the Holy Grail: a renewable, compostable, high-performing, pleasing material, at the cheap price of petrochemical synthetics,” said Suzanne Lee, CEO of Biofabricate.

And with that, the race is on.

Fashion has kicked its materials innovation R&D into overdrive, with scientists looking in unexpected places to find ways to create less hazardous textiles and greener ways to dispose of them. According to data, 70 percent of our industry’s carbon footprint is in raw materials processing and manufacturing. This has led to the cultivation of low-carbon cotton and polyester in an effort to stem greenhouse gas emissions.

The fashion industry has opened itself to this Brave New World of material sciences, embracing new products and technologies that seems unthinkable just a few years ago. Rice hulls and coconut fibers, anyone?

It makes (dollars and) sense, as there’s big business in this “megatrend” known as biomaterials, as consumers continue to spend with their values and seek out products that are less resource intensive and more humane.

The Covid-19 pandemic also taught us that our clothes can keep us healthy, and textile companies are digging deeper to develop products that can ward off viruses and bacteria, safeguarding the public from disease and infection, be it Net Zero PPE or antimicrobial technology that can be used repeatedly.

Download the report to learn:

  • How Nike and Adidas are leading the footwear industry in waste solutions
  • How Ralph Lauren is open-sourcing cotton dyeing platform Color on Demand
  • The vegan material alternatives that are replacing traditional leather
  • What crucial steps need to be taken to improve how we measure and report raw material impacts
  • Whether hemp will become fashion’s favorite fiber
  • If plastic bags can be recycled into performance fabric

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