Pangaia is learning all about the wonders of waste.
The London-based startup, which trailblazed innovations such as jeans made with Himalayan nettle and outerwear insulation derived from wildflower “down,” is chopping up offcuts from the production of its signature tracksuits and T-shirts and blending them with organic cotton to create new yarns. The resulting fabric, Pangaia said, not only boasts a “unique color” from the brew of reused fibers but also brings it closer to its goal of closing its own manufacturing loop. The unisex capsule collection, available exclusively on pangaia.com, ranges in price from $55 to $150.
The Reclaim collection is the most recent manifestation of Pangaia’s longstanding collaboration with Research Design Development (RDD), the vertically integrated, experimental arm of Portuguese textile group Valérius. RDD’s state-of-the-art mill previously worked with the firm to launch textile products such as FrutFiber and PlntFiber, which incorporate agricultural byproducts, and C-Fiber, which combines eucalyptus pulp and seaweed powder. RDD also linked arms with Pangaia and Colorifix to bring to life a range of loungewear colored with DNA-sequenced natural dyes.
With Reclaim, Pangaia and RDD are formalizing promises to be a long-term strategic partnership to co-develop and springboard new materials science breakthroughs with an eye on widespread adoption. Together, RDD’s experts and Pangaia’s team of scientists, fabric technologists and impact specialists can create a “new model” that builds on a “foundation of production expertise” but allows for “fluidity in research” through the “natural synergy” they share, said Amanda Parkes, Pangaia’s chief innovation officer.
“With the facilities at RDD, we can literally go from early-stage research all the way up through product to be sold at scale,” Parkes told Sourcing Journal. “So it gives us more cohesion—we can be quicker to integrate the manufacturing [element] as we go forward with all our new innovations.”
Pangaia, for its part, is able to help RDD create new products and measure the environmental impact of “everything that we want to create,” RDD CEO Elsa Parente told Sourcing Journal, adding that they are creating a “new formula” for the fashion industry that prioritizes innovation and collaboration.
By reclaiming its castoffs at the site where it produces them, Pangaia is able to maintain the same high-caliber inputs without having to second-guess fiber or chemical content. “It keeps it at a very high level that allows [the products] to be resalable as Pangaia,” Parkes said. “The more everything is like each other, the higher the quality of the next material that you can produce. This is a fantastic example of that and it doesn’t even have to be moved anywhere.”
Pangaia has longer-term plans to recover products it has sold for recycling, though the logistics of doing so will have to be completely recalibrated. “We are also thinking of things like resale before recycling, but everything we can do up and down the supply chain is under discussion,” she added. “This was an obvious no-brainer—high-quality pre-consumer waste. Start there. Boom.”