The circular economy is possible when safe material inputs are designed to cycle.

Some of our fashion challenges will be met with innovative materials the world has never before seen. Fashion Positive provides guidance to ensure that innovative materials are also safe, with the potential to cycle. In other words, certifiable to the Gold level of the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Standard.

Fashion Positive PLUS members have identified an urgent industry need for three materials: faux leather, chemically recycled polyester and chemically recycled viscose.

Can you make these materials? Are there other fashion materials you can create? Click “Get Started” to let us know who you are and what you make.

Innovative Material Needs

  • Chemically Recycled Polyester

    Polyester, a synthetic fiber derived from crude oil, is the fastest growing fiber in the world. Chemical recycling converts the polyester polymer back into monomers through chemical means, then re-polymerizes it to make recycled polyester.

    Consideration: Polyester–recycled or virgin–is made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) which is derived from petrochemicals. Antimony trioxide, a hazardous chemical, is used as a catalyst during the manufacture of PET resin. Recycling and reusing PET perpetuates exposure to antimony trioxide because it remains in apparel as a contaminant and is hard to eliminate completely.

    Opportunity: The advantages of recycled polyester over virgin include reduced waste to landfill, reduced energy and water usage during manufacturing and reduced demand for non-renewable, environmentally degrading petrochemicals.

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  • Chemically Recycled Viscose

    Viscose is a man-made cellulosic fiber created from dissolved wood pulp, then recycled using chemical means.

    Consideration: Viscose is made from trees, which may involve the harvesting of ancient or endangered forests. As with other cellulosic fibers, feedstock of wood pulp must be sustainably sourced.  

    Opportunity: Chemically recycled viscose can be made from any cellulosic waste stream, including cotton and garments that are made from cotton, viscose or any other cellulosic material.

  • Faux Leather

    Faux leather is a non-animal replacement to leather, which is derived from animal hides.  

    Consideration: Some faux leather is made from petroleum-derived materials, including polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Vinyl chloride is a known carcinogen that's harmful to human and environmental health. Additionally, faux leather is typically not recyclable. 

    Opportunity: Faux leathers made from renewable and benign resources such as mycelium or pineapple could radically change the environmental and health impact of leather. Additionally, faux leather could create new markets for agriculturalists. Faux leathers made from natural materials could potentially be designed to biodegrade back into soil at the end of their use phase.

Are you innovating materials to change the future of fashion?

We are eager to connect and help you collaborate with our resource network to make circular fashion a reality.

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