During 2017 researchers within Mistra Future Fashion presented several significant findings on the path to achieving a circular fashion system. Below you will find an excerpt of this year’s results. To read the full stories, please head to each separate article. To gain additional knowledge or talk to us about projects for the upcoming year, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Our trips to the clothing stores and the number of clothes we buy are the most important factors to review if we want to reduce the environmental impact of our clothes. This became evident through Sandra Roos’s dissertation early on in 2017. For the first time in history a thorough life cycle assessment (LCA) on environmental impacts of garments, including chemical impact, became available through the Mistra Future Fashion program. Dr Sandra Roos presented her dissertation; “Advancing life cycle assessment of textile products to include textile chemicals. Inventory data and toxicity impact assessment”, at Chalmers and Swerea IVF.
The LCA data presented was the result of five years research. The major advantage of LCA is that it provides a quantitative measure of the environmental impacts, for example climate change and water scarcity. It includes the entire life cycle of a garment: from extraction of raw materials to product disposal. Toxicity is evidently a major issue for the textile industry, about 15 000 different chemicals are being used in the industry today. However, before Sandra Roos presented her thesis toxicity was not yet included in the calculations. In 2018 Sandra Roos will be taking the next step in her research by converting LCA data into useful tools for the fashion industry together with key industry stakeholders.
In May 2017 Mistra Future Fashion and Filippa K initiated the project ‘Circular Design Speeds’, led by Professor Rebecca Earley & Dr Kate Goldsworthy of University of the Arts London. Circular Design Speeds is an industry-embedded pilot study, exploring the impact of different speeds of fashion with the aim to generate commercial garments. This two year project includes researching, developing and testing of new strategic design for 100% circular fashion garments.
In 2018 the first tangible samples will be available in Filippa K’s own stores. This is an open source project and all learnings, including workshops and seminars, will be available through Mistra Future Fashion. In January of 2018 we will make last year’s workshop available to all through a film series on our website.
To minimize the amount of microplastics from polyester fabrics getting in the ocean the production design of polyester fabrics needs to change. This was made evident in a 2017 Mistra Future Fashion study conducted by researchers at Swerea IVF and industry partners. The report focuses on the relation between fabric properties and shedding for polyester fabrics. The findingd contributed to current research gap about microplastics and textiles.
Micro-sized particles of plastics, so called “microplastics” have turned out to be an environmental problem in marine and coastal waters. The oil-based microplastic particles attract contaminants that are normally not soluble in water. When the microplastics enter animals and plants in the aquatic environment, they bring contaminants with hazardous properties with them. The microplastic report is an important step in solving this issue. The 2017 report involved three industry partners: H&M, Filippa K and Boob Design. In 2018 Swerea IVF will continue the research together with additional partners.
In the summer of 2017 Mistra Future Fashion released a large consumer survey exploring fashion consumption patterns amongst 4617 adult consumers (aged 18–65) in Germany, Sweden, Poland and the US. Amongst other findings, the survey depicts that over the course of three months, the average consumer typically purchases 5.9 clothing items. Out of these 2.1 are t-shirts (costing an average of 29 euro for two) and 0.9 is a pair of jeans (around 33 euro), for an overall cost of approximately 153 euro.
Changing the behavior of consumers requires an understanding of current clothing consumption patterns, which up until now has been an under-researched area. Therefore is the data presented in this survey of great interest and suggest several promising directions for environmental interventions tailored toward specific consumer segment.
The results presented stems from our research partner Copenhagen Business School, led by Wencke Gwozdz and Kristian Steensen Nielsen with input from industry partners H&M, Sveriges Konsumenter and Filippa K. Furthermore did the report served as comprehensive data for numerous articles presented within the user theme during the fall of 2017.
After six years of research within textile recycling Mistra Future Fashion revealed unique results in November of 2017. For the first time ever new viscose filaments from cotton was demonstrated, produced by a successful chemical recycling process of polyester/cotton fiber blends. The results are an important milestone towards the future of global textile recycling systems necessary to enable circularity for fashion and textiles.
The process is called Blend Re:wind – and it generates three circular outgoing product streams. Cotton is turned into new high quality viscose filaments and polyester into two pure new monomers. A significant advantage of the Blend Re:wind process is that the separation takes into account existing industries. The goal was always to integrate with existing forest and chemical industry or recycling initiatives to enable a fast scale-up. This innovation has been developed within the research program Mistra Future Fashion led by Dr Hanna de la Motte combining researchers at Chalmers and RISE together with the forest industry company Södra.