The quest for cleaner cotton birthed a new-to-market innovation this week.
Fibre52 Cotton has debuted a patent-pending technology to revolutionize the way cotton is prepared and dyed, minimizing the use of water and energy and eliminating harsh chemicals while offering a more durable, natural-performance cotton fiber to rival synthetics.
“Fibre52’s patent-pending technology combines the comfort of cotton with strength properties and moisture-management performance much better than poly-anything does, so you can be comfortable in a wider range of temperatures,” Laura Thornquist, president of Fibre52, said. “This inexpensive, eco-friendly alternative technology is easily transferable, allowing textile manufacturers to utilize current machinery with no additional capital investments and repeatable in resultant coloration and shade of material with no need to change dye recipes.”
The Houston-based company’s cotton’s licensed process replaces harmful chemicals with bio-active products and uses lower levels of heat in the pretreatment process, saving up to 50 percent in water, energy use and process cycle time. By including Fibre52’s dye technology, the cotton retains its natural properties and allows moisture to be transferred away from the skin, as opposed to cotton’s normal, clingy feel. Fibre52 cotton is a smart moisture and thermal regulator, forming a layer of dry air next to the skin and ranking it high on the comfort scale.
Established in 2021, Fibre52 underwent a rigorous series of tests, overseen by North Carolina State University and SGS to prove performance functionality. The results rank Fibre52 high on dynamic cooling and drying rate tests, as well as high marks for low pilling and improved tear strength. The tests revealed that Fibre52 cotton provides a steady heat flux and a short drying time, proving that the wearer would feel more comfortable in hot and cold temperatures due to the slow change of their micro-climate.
“For decades, polyester and cotton have been in a race to be the fabric that contains the best properties of synthetic and natural fibers,” Harrie Schoots, president of the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists, said. “Fibre52 gives a big lead to the cotton team in this race to produce an ultra-performance fabric, with no treatments, that brings the best of both worlds: Optimal continuous comfort in a breathable natural fabric that manages moisture and dries quickly.”
The division of Innovo Fiber also represents a significant step forward in sustainability for both the manufacturing process and the fashion industry. The new method swaps harmful chemicals for bio-active products and saves up to two hours in the dyeing process. The formula allows textile manufacturers to bleach, dye and finish cotton in a naturally low-impact, eco-friendly way. With its performance qualities, Fibre52 additionally makes it easier to replace petroleum-based fibers and fabrics and advances the circular economy with a recyclable fabric that lasts twice as long, retaining cotton’s natural strength by up to 50 percent.
In a YouTube video, Fibre52 demonstrates two swatches of fabric dyed in the same machine with the same dyestuff. On the traditionally dyed cotton piece, water absorbed quickly into the fabric. With the Fibre52 cotton sample, the water exhibited hydrophobic tendencies, repelling from the fabric. “That’s because the cotton is left in its natural state by using bio-active products at lower temperatures and with less water,” a company spokesperson said in the video.