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Ralph Lauren has just unveiled “Color on Demand,” which is being referred to as the world’s first zero-wastewater cotton dyeing system that recycles and reuses water from the textile dyeing process to help tackle the fashion industry’s mass water waste.
US-based leading fashion brand Ralph Lauren aims to recycle and reuse water from the dyeing process itself.
According to a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Circular Fibers Initiative, dyeing fabrics uses trillions of liters of water and the industry accounts for 20% of the world’s wastewater.
Ralph Lauren’s new system was developed in collaboration with agrochemical giant Dow, who did a lot of research in materials science, to address this problem and address the pollution and water scarcity caused by dyeing cotton.
In the first phase, a pre-treatment solution developed by Dow for cotton textiles called EcoFast Pure Sustainable Textile Treatment was implemented using existing dyeing machines and compared with the conventional dyeing process. This uses 40% less water, 85% fewer chemicals and reduces the carbon footprint by 60%.
In a press release from Green Queen, Ralph Lauren’s Chief Product and Sustainability Officer Halide Alagöz said traditional color dyeing is one of the most polluting practices in the fashion industry. “As a global brand, we recognized the need to create a scalable solution. Color on Demand significantly reduces the environmental impact of dyeing cotton and, as an added benefit, allows us to better balance inventory and meet personalized customer requirements faster than ever before. “
In addition to Dow, Lauren has been supported by Jeanologia, a technology company that develops sustainable garment and fabric processing solutions, and brings expertise in dyeing and closed-loop water treatment systems. Huntsman Textile Effects, textile dyes and chemicals expert; and Corob, a technology company that delivers and mixes solutions to drive innovative changes in the color process.
The US fashion brand plans to use this new system to dye 80% of its range of firm cotton by 2025.
Color on Demand significantly reduces the environmental impact of dyeing cotton and, as an added benefit, allows us to better balance inventory and meet personalized customer requirements faster than ever before
Halide Alagöz, Chief Product and Sustainability Officer at Ralph Lauren
According to the United Nations, it is estimated that tThe global fashion industry is responsible for 10% of the world’s carbon emissions, 92 million tons of landfill waste annually and 20% of water wasted.
In addition to reducing water waste, the company plans to establish an efficient and sustainable method for dyeing cotton. With this new system, the option for the dyeing process is moved to any point in the product manufacturing process compared to the traditional method which only offers this option at the beginning of the production cycle, along with decreasing lead times.
Ralph Lauren has partnered with the World Wildlife Foundation to reduce water use by 20% and completely remove hazardous textile chemicals from the supply chain by 2025.
Sheila Bonini, senior vice president of private sector engagement at the World Wildlife Fund, said, “Water scarcity and pollution are important issues for the fashion industry and through our partnership with Ralph Lauren we are working to address these challenges. Technology has the ability to accelerate change on an important scale. So it’s exciting to see Ralph Lauren establish innovative new models that can transform outdated practices and deliver measurable results for people and the planet. This is exactly the kind of leadership we expect from the fashion industry. “
Ralph Lauren is part of the G7 Fashion Pact, a group of fashion leaders who work together to restore biodiversity and protect the world’s oceans. Recently, the Design the Change strategy was introduced, which aims to make progress in environmental protection.
The company is also a signatory to the We Are Still In Declaration and the UN Fashion Industry Charter on Climate Change, and is committed to reducing its emissions in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Ralph Lauren has expanded its support to Natural Fiber Welding, a technology company that markets sustainable materials and plans to set up a new facility to manufacture plastic-free and vegetable-based leather. The fashion giant has invested a small amount in the company and plans to use NFW technology to develop clothing made from natural and sustainable materials.
In addition to Ralph Lauren, several brands are showing their support for the environment, for example the Apparel Impact Institute has teamed up with Stella McCartney, Burberry and the French luxury fashion group Kering A project that aims to reduce the ecological footprint of the Italian luxury fashion supply chain.
Shoe brands such as Nike and Adidas also focus on sustainability by making shoes from animal-free leather. The latter plan to expand their plant-based range and produce 60% of all products from recycled sources.
Main image courtesy of Ralph Lauren.
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