Staying ahead of the technology curve means strengthening your competitive advantage. That is why we give you data-driven innovation insights into the circular economy. This time, you get to discover 7 hand-picked startups developing sustainable clothing solutions.
Global Startup Heat Map: 7 Top Sustainable Clothing Startups
The 7 sustainable clothing startups you will explore below are chosen based on our data-driven startup scouting approach, taking into account factors such as location, founding year, and relevance of technology, among others. This analysis is based on the Big Data & Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered StartUs Insights Discovery Platform, covering over 1.3 million startups & scaleups globally.
The Global Startup Heat Map below highlights the 7 startups & scaleups our Innovation Researchers curated for this report. Moreover, you get insights into regions that observe a high startup activity and the global geographic distribution of the 120 companies we analyzed for this specific topic.
circular.fashion develops Circular Design Software
Creating truly circular clothes starts from the design phase. To produce long-lasting garments suitable for recycling and reuse, fashion brands need information about circular materials and optimal designs. Startups are developing software solutions that provide this information, enabling circular design in clothing.
German startup сircular.fashion develops a platform that enables fashion brands to design garments for circularity from the very beginning of their lifecycle. The platform enables a transparent flow of information between material suppliers, fashion brands, customers, and recyclers. It features a database containing hundreds of fabrics selected for their sustainable properties and validated for future recyclability, as well as circular design guidelines. Besides, the startup provides a unique circularity.ID for each piece, enabling full transparency into a garment’s journey.
Circlarity provides a Merchandise Management Platform
While the design phase is vital for circular economy solutions in clothing, post-consumer merchandise management has significant importance as well. The circular economy practices in this stage include product take-back and second life redistribution. Startups create software platforms that help prolong the life of purchased clothes.
Circlarity is a US-based startup developing a digital platform for fashion brands. It enables a circular economy for clothes while creating new revenue opportunities from extending the life cycle of merchandise. The platform also improves consumers’ understanding of sustainability in the clothing industry, as well as customer experience and loyalty. The company’s offering includes several options for handling, processing, cleaning, repairing, and second life redistribution of post-consumer merchandise.
Resortecs offers Garment Disassembly Technology
Today, only a small percent of garments are recycled. Most of them end up either in landfills or are burned. One of the challenges that limit garment recycling is the need to disassemble large volumes of clothing very fast. Startups and scaleups are therefore developing technologies for the automatic disassembly of garments. These technologies facilitate textile reuse and recycling, thus creating a circular economy for clothing.
Belgian startup Resortecs offers patented technology for automatic disassembly of apparel at an industrial scale. The startup’s solution combines the melting of stitching threads with industrial disassembling ovens to dismantle garments five times faster than traditional methods. It separates different clothing materials, enabling their reuse in their original form.
BlockTexx enables Textile Material Recovery
The unsustainable practices in fast fashion contribute to environmental pollution and huge CO2 emissions. Most people throw away the garment by the time the next season arrives, leading to totally avoidable emissions. Technologies that allow recovery of materials from discarded textile enable resource reuse for the creation of new products.
Australian startup BlockTexx recovers polyester and cellulose from discarded textiles and clothing of any color or condition. The startup’s proprietary technology separates polyester and cotton clothes, sheets, and towels back into raw materials. It turns them into high-quality polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and cellulose for reuse in new products. The startup’s recovered materials find applications in many industries, including textile, packaging, building products, pharmaceutical, and food.
Vividye develops Reversible Coloring Technology
The fast fashion industry offers garments with differently colored patterns, with new colors and prints trending every season. It is often the case that people replace their clothes just after a few seasons. Technologies that allow for continuous recoloring of textiles without the use of toxic additives promote the reuse of produced clothes. This helps to prolong the life of garments while also reducing the demand for new raw materials.
Swedish startup Vividye develops a reversible coloring technology. It enables the application of all sorts of colors and designs to textiles, which can later be removed to re-apply new ones. The process is resource-efficient and does not require toxic chemicals. The company uses filtered and reused wastewater to further reduce the environmental impact. Vividye’s technology introduces new creative opportunities for designers, making it possible to color and recolor textiles multiple times.
Rifò makes Clothes from Recycled Fibers
Nowadays the amount of clothes of every shape and type available at a low price is overwhelming. Fast fashion garments made from cheap materials usually can’t keep color and shape for a long time. While it may seem easier to constantly buy a new garment and discard the old one, this causes devastating effects on our environment. The eco-conscious consumers demand more sustainable options and emerging companies are ready to offer them. In order to satisfy this demand startups develop long-lasting fashionable clothes from recycled fibers.
Rifò is an Italian startup that makes high-quality garments and accessories, using recycled and recyclable textile fibers. The startup transforms old clothes into yarn to create new cashmere sweaters and hats. It utilizes a unique mechanical and craftsmanship process to turn fabric leftovers and old clothes into new garments with identical qualities to the original products. This method allows to recycle textile waste, as well as to reduce the amount of water, dyes, and chemicals used to create new clothes.
The R Collective provides Upcycled Fabrics
Excess fabrics and furniture are either buried in landfills or are incinerated. Rescuing these fabrics helps to reduce the environmental footprint of the fashion industry. Instead of wasting unused fabrics and spending water and other precious natural resources to produce a new one, it makes much more sense to create clothing from deadstock or surplus fabrics. Startups around the globe are rescuing fabrics from being wasted and use them to create fashionable garments with a lower environmental footprint.
Hong Kong-based startup The R Collective upcycles rescued textiles, reuse materials, and collaborates with fashion designers to create circular apparel. The startup utilizes a broad range of rescued quality waste materials from fibers and fabrics to fasteners. It diverts the best materials from landfills into the circular fashion system by upcycling them into clothes.
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