With a recent investment from Ralph Lauren, the startup Natural Fiber Welding, is on track to take plant based materials instead of petroleum (AKA plastic) based materials to market at scale. Think car interiors made out of cactus and hand bags made out of apples.
Now, thanks to Natural Fiber Welding’s (NFW) circular material product development innovation, upcycling cotton waste is possible. In the recent past, recycled cotton was often unsuitable for use in new cotton apparel due to the short fibers created during recycling. Founded in 2015, NFW has solved this challenge with an innovative process that welds short fibers into longer fibers to create high-performance cotton yarns which can incorporate cotton and other plant-based waste fibers. This patented process transforms these materials in ways that were never possible before, creating an opportunity to reuse post-consumer cotton waste and impart performance characteristics into the fiber. The resulting upcycled material outperforms synthetic fabrics while still retaining the comfortable feel of cotton. Yes! comfort and quality in one—that’s a game changer for many eco-friendly products.
Through this investment, Ralph Lauren looks to advance the Company’s progress toward sourcing 100 percent of its key materials, including cotton, by 2025 and integrating zero-waste principles across its business. Over time, the partnership will enable Ralph Lauren to replace and reduce its reliance on non-biodegradable petroleum based synthetics, such as polyester and nylon.
It is this kind of collaboration that will scale sustainability quickly. Taking a global powerhouse brand like Ralph Lauren and a startup material science company like Natural Fiber Welding and you create a break through in the marketplace. This partnership is a powerful signal that sustainable innovation is a key driver of quality, comfort, and brand promise.
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