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Fashion Positive Unveils New Innovators Hub for Apparel Circularity

Fashion Positive, an initiative of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, is debuting a new resource center to drive circular fashion and reduce the apparel industry’s carbon footprint.

Developed with funding from the H&M Foundation, a non-profit arm of the fast fashion retailer, Fashion Positive unveiled The Innovators Hub—a one-stop digital platform that provides material innovators with information about circular materials development. Aligning with the Cradle to Cradle Certified product standard, the Innovators Hub will enable industry members to create and share eco-friendly materials, while upholding sustainable practices in their own supply chains.

“Until now, creating safe, healthy circular materials that also meet designers’ requirements for performance, quality and aesthetics has been a notoriously challenging process,” said Annie Gullingsrud, director of the textiles and apparel sector for the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. “The Fashion Positive Innovators Hub has been designed to simplify the material innovation process by addressing the three biggest challenges currently faced by material innovators in fashion: education and know-how, technical assistance, and funding opportunities.”

The Innovators Hub offers three key features for industry members: circular economy know-how, chemical and material screening and access to accelerators, brands, investors and manufacturers.

To start, a library of interactive tools and videos shows users how to apply the Cradle to Cradle Certified product standard to fashion—so users can ensure they are sourcing sustainable materials that won’t end up polluting the planet. For those concerned about chemical compliance, the hub provides chemical and material testing with the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute MaterialWise tool—which enables users to check materials for hazardous substances with the Cradle to Cradle Certified v3 banned list, the Cradle to Cradle Certified v4 restricted substances list, and the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) manufacturing restricted substances list V1.1. Additionally, users also have access to the Fashion Positive Network, where material innovators can collaborate on circular material innovations and additional environmental efforts.

[Read more about circular fashion efforts: A New Circularity Roadmap Charts a More Sustainable Path Forward for Apparel ]

“Finding ways to improve the health, safety and recyclability of materials already in production, as well as innovate new materials made for the circular economy, will transform the fashion industry from the designer´s drawing board to the supply chain and consumer. This ultimately benefits the global environment, people and communities,” H&M Foundation innovation lead Erik Bang said. “We are excited to support the Fashion Positive Innovators Hub to help material innovators understand and use Cradle to Cradle methodology to create and scale circular fashion for a growing world population.”

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The Innovators Hub comes on the heels of previous Fashion Positive milestones, including the initiative’s online material circularity tools and priority materials list. In September, Fashion Positive announced a new set of online resources to accelerate apparel circularity. The online resources help visitors engage with sustainable materials that comply with Cradle to Cradle’s standards and achieve benchmarks on material health, material reuse, renewable energy, water stewardship and social fairness. Last year, Fashion Positive launched a new priority materials list, which allows industry members to identify commonly shared materials and collectively determine if these materials contribute to a circular fashion future.

“At a time when resource scarcity and growing global population make positive change ever more urgent, the rapid innovation of safer, healthier materials offers one of the fastest routes to achieving a circular economy,” Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute president Lewis Perkins said. “The Fashion Positive Innovation Hub aims to accelerate this process for the fashion industry.”