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Zara Underscores Circular Ambitions With Recycled Cotton Collection

Zara has teamed with textile innovation firm Evrnu on a circular capsule collection made with 100-percent cotton waste.

The Inditex-owned brand has employed the company’s NuCycl Lyocell fiber technology to create a line comprised of two collared shirts and wide-leg trousers. Available on Zara’s e-commerce site and select retail locations, the collection promotes material reuse and a pathway for reducing raw material production, Zara said in a statement.

According to Evrnu, products made using NuCycle can be disassembled and dissolved down to the molecular level and reengineered multiple times into new fibers for textiles used in the apparel and home space. Repolymerization technology transforms fiber molecules into renewable ones, and can be used on all kinds of textile waste, including post-consumer products. NuCycl Lyocell relies on cotton textile waste as a feedstock, and the resulting reconstituted fibers can stand up to virgin cotton, man-made cellulosic fibers, nylon, and polyester in terms of performance, all while maintaining recyclability, the company said.

A button-down shirt from the collection retails for $49.90.
A button-down shirt from the collection retails for $49.90. Courtesy

Evernu is undergoing an expansion of its facilities and overall operations to support blossoming interest for recycled, and recyclable, materials, and CEO and co-founder Stacy Flynn believes partnering with Zara and other well-known brands will heighten awareness about alternative fibers. The company is “thrilled to partner with influential, large-scale brands like Zara to commercialize and scale NuCycl materials,” she said.

“Evrnu’s vision is to help brands create clothing out of recycled materials that can continue to be recycled,” she added. “We are heartened by the growing demand from both brands and consumers for new kinds of high-performance, circular materials.”

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The line was created under Inditex’s Sustainability Innovation Hub, which brings together innovative startups to scale initiatives surrounding material innovation, retail technology and production processes that mitigate the environmental impact of apparel products.

Pleated pants retail for $49.90 on
Pleated pants retail for $49.90 on Courtesy

This summer, Zara released the first products from its collection with Swedish recycling firm Renewcell, producer of post-consumer-textile-derived fiber Circulose. The firm, which is partially owned by H&M, ramped up production at a newly built plant earlier this year, and is expected to recycle 60,000 tons of material annually. Also developed under the Innovation Hub this year was a $100-million partnership with Infinited Fiber Company, producer of Infinna, a recycled cellulosic fiber made from waste materials like discarded textiles, used cardboard and rice straw. Inditex commited to purchase 30 percent of the firm’s Infinna production volume for the next three years for use across its apparel collections.

“We truly believe innovation is key for the competitive circular future of the fashion industry, which is why we are actively working to find solutions, and searching for new partnerships, processes and materials to achieve textile-to-textile recycling,” chief sustainability officer Javier Losada said at the time.