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Challenge the Fabric: Fiber Innovators Dissect Fashion’s Sustainable Opportunity

For the second edition of Challenge the Fabric (CTF), industry professionals engaged in panel discussions with a focus on cross-industry collaboration and innovation.

By connecting prominent brands and forward-thinking suppliers, CTF aims to increase awareness about biobased, man-made cellulosic fiber (MMCF) material. The pioneering initiative presented an opportunity for the supply chain to meet and act for change at the Challenge the Fabric symposium in Paris on May 17 at Institut Suédois.

Barriers to growth and possibilities for collective actions within the fashion, textile and forest industries were identified. The panel discussions dove deep into the themes of cross-industry work, as well as the challenges and opportunities with MMCF from a brand and producer perspective.

“Innovations on cellulosic fiber is so critical in solving the challenges in the fashion industry,” Shahriare Mahmood, chief sustainability officer at Spinnova, said. “CTF is really able to bring the stakeholders together to make it impactful and expedite the progress.”

In addition, the panels highlighted existing issues facing the pulp producers and their wish to solve them, and the current state and future of next-generation feedstock. Industry members expressed their joint goals to displace the demand of fossil fuel-based textiles and the implementation of sustainable production processes to reduce carbon footprints.

For the second edition of Challenge the Fabric, panel discussions focused on cross-industry collaboration and innovation.
The Innovation Through Collaboration panel Courtesy

“Challenge the Fabric has a unique place in today’s sustainable fashion and innovation landscape,” Christine Goulay, global director at Pangaia Science, said. “By bringing together brands, supply chain partners, innovators and experts, we can come together to work toward actionable change.”

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Komal Singh, color and material designer at Polestar, said Challenge the Fabric is an important platform for meeting companies that have similar commitments and sustainability goals. “There is a lot we can achieve by just coming together and sharing our knowledge across industries,” Singh said.

The global event, initiated by Ekman & Co and organized by the Swedish Fashion Council, is a long-term initiative. CTF was first launched during London Fashion Week in 2018.

“The aim with the Challenge the Fabric event was to create a platform to increase the dialogue between the different stakeholders in the MMCF supply chain to accelerate the development forward,” Nina Elmersson, vice president of Ekman Innovare, said. “We are very happy with the outcome of CTF2022, and we will continue to keep the dialogue going.”

For Jennie Rosén, CEO of the Swedish Fashion Council, “cross-industry collaborations are vital to accelerate the work towards a more sustainable future.”

“Challenge the Fabric will create a long-term impact for the global fashion industry,” Rosén said.