Waste not, want not. That was Pangaia’s objective when it dyed some of its signature sweatshirts and joggers using colorants derived from its own textile trash.
To pull off the feat, the London-based materials science firm hooked up with Italy’s Officina+39, whose Recycrom technology pulverizes used clothing into pigments, skimping on water, chemicals and pollution, though the precise details are hush-hush.
“The Recycrom technology aligns directly with Pangaia’s research objectives, contributing to our committed research pillars to reduce waste and promote water health,” Pangaia chief innovation officer Amanda Parkes told Sourcing Journal. “ The technology is a well-suited match to utilize our pre-consumer waste which already had an infrastructure in place for collection and sorting at our factories.”
Pangaia’s also been hacking up its offcuts and blending them with organic cotton to create new yarns. In March, the wildflower “down” maker rolled out a Reclaim collection of melangé-hued loungewear, edging it closer to its goal of closed-loop manufacturing.
“Technologies that help the industry to utilize waste at every phase of the manufacturing process are key to promote responsible production, a significant objective to reduce overall impact,” Parkes said.
The Recycrom process, she continued, uses waste that is unsuitable for turning back into fabric. “This provides an additional method to keep resources inside the supply chain and promote circularity within processes across the industry,” Parkes added.
As with all of its capsule launches, Pangaia hopes to incorporate Recycrom into its larger collection. Other small-scale innovations it has big ambitions for include the spider-silk-like Brewed Protein, microfiber-free fibers and 100 percent regenerated cotton.
“Bringing new technologies into the market through our lab collections allows us to work through the nuances of collaborating and manufacturing with a new innovation,” Parkes said. “We then use this process knowledge to more efficiently and smoothly bring the innovation to our main line at scale.”
The biggest challenge for Recycrom right now is building a collection and processing infrastructure that will allow it to flourish.
Parkes said that Recycrom will join a suite of dyeing solutions Pangaia employs—and plans to employ. (Also in the hopper is an expansion of its experiments with bacteria-grown colorants and air pollution-derived ink.)
“We believe that using a multiplicity of solutions to address our varying dye needs is the most effective way to create resiliency in our supply chain and in particular, promote utilization of waste in the manufacturing process,” she said.
The Re-color capsule, which is available exclusively on pangaia.com, includes $175 hoodies, $140 track pants, $95 shorts and $75 T-shirts in “repurposed” Pangaia core colors such as aloe green, sky blue, coral pink and banana.