February is fashion month, and a new collaboration aimed at sustainable garment-making is taking the stage. Fashion retail group Inditex has paired with chemistry giant BASF to create a new, breakthrough material that boosts recycling efforts in the textile industry.
The novel fabric, trademarked loopamid®, is a type of polyamide (also known as nylon 6) and is made entirely from recycled textiles. ZARA, a retail brand under Inditex, has already released a jacked using loopamid, which is available worldwide.
“Following a ‘design for recycling’ approach, all parts, including fabrics, buttons, filling, hook and loop and zipper are made from loopamid,” BASF said in a statement.
The technology behind loopamid
What makes loopamid unique and exciting is circularity. With characteristics identical to virgin polyamide, loopamid comes from existing but discarded fabrics, and it can be recycled several times after its use. Similarly to traditional polyamide, loopamid is perfectly compatible with elastane and PA6, which allows for textile-to-textile recycling.
To create the jacket, Inditex partnered with numerous global leading companies for garment manufacturing components, like ModaRe (sorting and classifying textile waste), RadiciGroup (transforming waste to yarn), YKK and Velcro (zippers and snap buttons), all of which played a part in integrating the loopamid seamlessly, BASF said.
Sustainable fashion requires more than just recycling
“Our loopamid has the potential to revolutionize the PA6 market for the better. We are in the process of scaling up our technology to serve our customers with commercial quantities. The capsule jacket together with Inditex is proof that circularity is possible, and we are eager to further drive the sustainable transformation of the textile industry,” said Dr. Ramkumar Dhruva, President of BASF’s Monomers division, in the press release.
And while innovators and industries are working on their end to find solutions for greener fashion, there’s always more to be done by introducing new policies, like the proposed Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act.
The New Standard Institute reports that the fashion industry, namely apparel and footwear, contributes at least 4-8.6% of global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), as cited by Bio.News.
Having firm policies in place will not only help reduce GHG but help improve labor conditions and practices across the industry. “Fashion is one of the least regulated industries,” Maxine Bédat, founder of the New Standard Institute, told The New York Times.
Consumers too, play a vital role in reducing the carbon footprint caused by the fashion industry, simply by applying the “less is more” rule when shopping, or creating a demand for more sustainable practices.
According to a Vogue Business report, “Audiences who say sustainability is an important factor when making a fashion purchase, [went up] from 65 percent in October 2020 to 69 percent in May 2021.”