European online fashion platform Zalando, has invested in circular fashion and textile technology group Infinited Fiber Company, completing a funding round recently led by H&M Group, in which Adidas and Bestseller investment arm Invest FWD A/S also took part.
Infinited Fiber will use the proceeds to prepare for building a flagship factory in Finland in response to the strong growth in demand from global fashion and textile brands for its Infinna regenerated textile fiber. The company said in April that total investments for setting up the plant were estimated at around $265 million and that it expected the plant to be operational in 2024.
Infinited Fiber’s technology turns cellulose-based raw materials, such as cotton-rich textile waste, into Infinna, a premium-quality regenerated textile fiber with the natural, soft look and feel of cotton. Infinna is biodegradable, contains no microplastics, and at the end of their life, garments made with it can be recycled in the same process together with other textile waste.
Both companies are also signing a letter of intent that includes Zalando providing raw materials to Infinited Fiber Company and Zalando using the regenerated Infinna fiber for its private label production.
“We are delighted to welcome Zalando as a new strategic investor into our circle of partners and see their commitment as further indication of the fashion industry’s strong belief in our innovation,” Infinited Fiber co-founder and CEO Petri Alava said. “Zalando’s vast brand portfolio and circularity initiatives provide a great basis to deepen our collaboration and to secure feedstock for our flagship plant.”
As part of its sustainability strategy, Zalando has committed to apply the principles of circularity and extend the life of at least 50 million fashion products by enabling circular choices and driving behavior change toward circular products and experiences. An important step to reach Zalando’s circularity ambition to become a fully circular business is collaboration with experts and partners to test and scale circular services and solutions to support systemic change within the industry.
“We want to be part of the solution for a more sustainable fashion industry,” Zalando co-CEO David Schneider said. “With the investment in Infinited Fiber Company, we initiate a collaboration with a circular technology innovator to grow the industry share of textiles recycled into new textiles, which currently sits at only 1 percent.”
Zalando has previously teamed with sustainable fashion innovation platform Fashion for Good and the Berlin-based startup circular.fashion to develop the redeZIGN for Circularity capsule collection and with the Ellen MacArthur foundation to accelerate a circular economy in fashion.
Last week, Wrangler launched a two-piece collection that combines Infinna with its Indigood foam-dye technology that lowers wastewater by over 99 percent and an e-flow finishing process that uses “nano bubbles” to distribute chemical products more efficiently during the fabric’s finishing process. The fabrics used in the collection are made with 30 percent Infinna fiber and 70 percent cotton.