After feting T-shirts made from seaweed, jackets stuffed with wildflower insulation and PJs treated with odor-fighting peppermint oil, Pangaia’s breakneck pace of materials innovation shows no signs of slowing down.
On Wednesday, the London-based startup rolled out C-Fiber, a blend of eucalyptus pulp and seaweed powder it says “harnesses the harmony and natural power of both the earth and the ocean.”
“We see nature as our greatest ally and biggest inspiration,” a spokesperson from Pangaia told Sourcing Journal. “We believe that the future of a sustainable fashion industry lies in bio-based solutions, finding uses for what already exists in nature and is seen as waste, and focusing on where science can be applied to optimize functionality.”
The new, 100 percent biodegradable material will play a starring role in a dedicated collection that includes two styles of crewneck T-shirt ($125) and a heavyweight silky dress ($195) clad in 100 percent C-Fiber and a fleece jersey dress ($295) composed of 54 percent C-Fiber. An array of colors is available, including cobalt blue, navy, rosemary green and off white.
Following its launch, C-Fiber will be integrated across Pangaia’s other product offerings. And as with the company’s other inventions, the technology and trademark will be available for other brands to use.
Pangaia says it has been working to increase the amount of seaweed in its portfolio as part of its “high-tech naturalism” approach of taking materials abundantly found in nature, tweaking them in the lab and then deploying them as alternatives to nonrenewable and non-biodegradable fibers, such as polyester, which make up the majority of garments produced today. It sources the macroalgae from Iceland, where it’s harvested only every four years, allowing it time to fully regenerate in between.
C-Fiber’s eucalyptus component originates from Forest Stewardship Council-certified forests. The tree pulp is converted to lyocell using a closed-loop process that recycles water, reuses up to 99 percent of the solvents employed and creates little waste, according to Pangaia.
The resulting hand of the fabric, the firm noted, can be tuned to feel smooth and silky in the case of 100 percent C-Fiber fabrics and soft and fuzzy in 54 percent C-Fiber infusions.
Creating brand-new materials isn’t without its hurdles, however. Developing C-Fiber required several passes to improve its texture and reduce shrinkage.
“With that said, we remain determined and committed to solving environmental problems through materials science innovation, so overcoming challenges in that space is what we will always be focusing on,” the spokesperson said.