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Fashion for Good Picks 12 for 2023 Global Innovation Program

Fashion for Good chose 12 lucky startups to grow their vision through the global platform.

The dozen fashion innovators will participate in a nine-month innovation program to nurture their fledgling companies and connect with business looking for sustainable transformation.

“We are excited to welcome 12 new innovators to the 2023 Fashion for Good Innovation Program,” said Katrin Ley, managing director at Fashion for Good. “We are inspired by the significant impact opportunities their technologies enable. With an emphasis on driving implementation, we provide them with the best support to expedite their exposure and growth into the market.”

The selected innovators joining the Fashion for Good 2023 Innovation Program are Virent, ZymoChem, Polybion, Saltyco, Lamoral Coatings, CleanKore, Responsible, Protein Evolution, Qingdao Amino Material Technology (Re:lastane), DePoly, Ioncell and Satma CE. They represent technologies across raw materials, processing, traceability and transparency, circular business models and end-of-use. The 2023 Innovation Program provides bespoke support based on each innovator’s development stage and ambitions, matching inventors with relevant industry partners to drive validation, implementation and investing activities.

Virent, a U.S.-based technology company, uses its patented BioForming technology to create the fuels and chemicals the world needs from a wide range of naturally occurring, renewable resources. Virent’s patented catalytic chemistry converts biobased carbohydrate feedstocks into products molecularly identical to those made from petroleum. Virent’s technology can produce a range of fuel products, including gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, as well as chemicals used for plastics, fibers and films.

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“Virent is excited to continue creating options for renewable chemicals and innovating for the future of biosynthetic clothing,” Bob Rozmiarek, vice president of strategy and business development of Virent, said. “We would like to engage with Fashion for Good in its global initiative to inspire change and drive the collective movement to make fashion a force for good. We would like to engage with brands, retailers, manufacturers and funders to develop and demonstrate 100 percent plant-based polyester.”

ZymoChem, a U.S.-based company devoted to developing microbes and bioprocesses for the eco-friendly production of chemicals from renewable resources, offers biobased materials powered by proprietary carbon conserving (C2) microbes that convert renewable feedstocks into high-value materials while minimizing CO2 loss during production phase.

“ZymoChem is delighted to be part of the FFG Innovation Program and have the opportunity to help FFG partners reach their sustainability goals without compromising cost or performance,” Greg Gerhardt, vice president of business development at ZymoChem, said.

Polybion is growing next-generation materials designed with nature and manufactured with biology. Its first product, Celium, is an alternative to animal-based leather and petroleum-derived synthetics. The Spanish company’s Celium is grown by feeding bacteria with agro-industrial fruit waste to create cellulose polymers.

“We are thrilled to have the chance to join FFG global initiative and its top-tier industry partners to transform fashion,” Alexis Gómez-Ortigoza, co-founder and CEO of Polybion, said. “Sustainability is a team sport.”

Saltyco’s next-generation textile BioPuff offers fashion a warm, lightweight, biodegradable insulation material made from a plant that fosters wetland regeneration.

“Saltyco believes in a world where the clothes we buy are directly connected to the healing of our planet,” Julian Ellis-Brown, co-founder and CEO of UK-based Saltyco, said. “Our mission is to place regeneration into the heart of the fashion industry, and we know Fashion for Good is the perfect catalyst to help us achieve that.”

Netherlands-based Lamoral developed a high-performance, bio-based, fluor-free textile coating to replace PFAS coatings and help fashion create water- and stain-repellent garments without the “forever chemicals.”

CleanKore’s patented technology modifies denim dye to eliminate potassium permanganate spray, while offering a lower carbon footprint and improve supply chain sustainability without increasing cost.

“Fashion for Good’s Innovation Platform perfectly aligns with our commitment to providing sustainable solutions to the fashion industry,” Ryan Ripley, vice president of operations at CleanKore, said. “With their reputation and global network, Fashion for Good serves as the ideal partner to expand our outreach and provide our company with the tools and resources to accomplish our top initiatives of eliminating harmful chemicals and lowering the carbon footprint throughout the denim supply chain.”

Responsible says its global circularity platform is built on advanced proprietary technology. Based in Northern Ireland, the company aims to scale circularity with its own spin on recommerce.

“Fashion for Good and its partners are the most progressive and influential drivers of change within fashion today,” Ciarán Jordan, chief marketing officer of Responsible, said. “We share the ambitions of Fashion for Good and believe we can create tremendous value through the possibilities the Fashion for Good Innovation Program presents.”

Founded by a team of scientists and engineers, Protein Evolution combines biology and chemistry to transform waste into high-value products. The company’s goal is to unlock the potential of waste to be a valuable resource in a bid to help the materials industry transition to a lower-carbon, more circular economy.

“We believe that by partnering with Fashion for Good, we can revolutionize the end of life of textiles and create a more sustainable future for the fashion industry,” Connor Lynn, founder and chief business officer of Protein Evolution, said. “Together, we can turn waste into a valuable resource and pave the way for circular fashion, where every garment has a second life.”

Re:lastane focuses on separating and recycling polyester and polyester-blended fabrics. It has developed a patent-pending “Relastane” polyester recycling system, which teases polyester fibers from cotton, nylon, spandex and other blended fibers.

“Being part of the program is very meaningful for our team [and] we are excited and proud of joining Fashion for Good,” Wenjian Hu of Qingdao Animo Material Technology said. “We are convinced that the industrialization process of our technology will be accelerated, and we are ready to make real good fashion for our planet.”

DePoly’s advanced recycled technology converts unsorted, dirty, end-of-life plastics and fibers into virgin-grade raw materials. The Switzerland-based company focuses on items that aren’t typically recycled due to complex blends, dyes and contaminants. Its low-energy process uses simple, green chemicals and operates at room temperature, without the need to pre-wash, pre-sort or separate other materials.

“We are very excited by the opportunity to collaborate with fashion industry leaders to develop sustainable solutions,” Marly Levene, head of business development at DePoly, said. “We believe the Fashion for Good Innovation Program will provide invaluable learning opportunities by bringing together diverse stakeholders with a variety of perspectives. We look forward to working together to drive innovation, tackle change and create meaningful impact.”

Ioncell Oy’s patented Ioncell technology transforms cellulosic biomaterials into new, high-performance textile fibers. The Finnish company’s circularity-focused technology can improve the quality when textile waste is recycled into new fibers.

“The world needs a systemic change and new next generation solutions to address the various sustainability challenges in the fashion industry,” Antti Rönkkö, co-founder and CEO of Ioncell Oy, said. “It is great to be part of Fashion for Good’s network that together drives toward a better future for fashion.”

The web-based Satma CE software uses blockchain to trace the waste-to-worth supply chain from collection and segregation to recycling and processing.

Fashion for Good’s programs are supported by founder partner Laudes Foundation, co-founder William McDonough and corporate partners AdidasBestsellerBurberry, C&A, ChanelInditexKeringLevi Strauss & Co., Otto Group, PatagoniaPVH Corp.ReformationRichemontStella McCartneyTarget and Zalando.