A new process for clothing manufacturing eliminates much of the waste involved in fashion
Spotted: The fashion industry has a huge waste problem: every second, the equivalent of a rubbish truck full of clothes is burnt or buried in landfill. Waste occurs in every part of the fashion industry, from overproduction by manufacturers through to overconsumption by consumers. Aniela Hoitink and Nicoline van Enter, the founders of New Fashion Factory (NEFFA), argue that this is more than a material problem, it is systemic and requires a holistic solution.
To solve the fashion industry’s waste problem, NEFFA is developing a solution that involves producing apparel, footwear, and fashion accessories by moulding or 3D printing biodegradable materials such as mycelium or algae. The company has already developed a mycelium-based product, MYCOTEX by NEFFA – a material that takes just seven days to grow and uses no plastics or harmful chemicals.
NEFFA’s MYCOTEX is grown in fermentation tanks and its manufacturing method is fully automated, without any weaving or stitching. To create a finished product, robots apply the biomass around custom moulds. The idea is that clothing will be produced locally, saving on the energy costs of transportation. Products can be manufactured by simply adapting existing machines, and the system can also create shapes and textures that could not be achieved with traditional methods.
Unlike traditional fashions, NEFFA’s clothing does not need any farmland, pesticides, or hazardous chemicals, and the process uses less water. The startup adds that, “The materials we make, such as MYCOTEX, do not need to be washed in the machine, but can just be wiped clean. After usage they can be home composted.”
As awareness grows of the waste involved in the fashion industry, so have the number of innovations aimed at tackling this waste. Springwise, has spotted developments such as a leather made from banana fibres and recyclable, custom-made, 3D-printed footwear.
Written By: Lisa Magloff