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Fairbrics and H&M to make garments out of thin air

Recently, GCA winner Fairbrics has proven that greenhouse gas can be converted into raw materials for use.

Instead of emitting carbon dioxide into the air, this innovation collects the gas, activates and transforms it into a sustainable polyester fabric that looks and feels like regular polyester.

Fairbrics and H&M to make garments out of thin air
Figure 1: GCA winner Fairbrics has proven that greenhouse gas can be converted into raw materials for use.

Last week Helena Helmersson, CEO of H&M Group, took part in the Fashion CEO agenda. At the event, she wore a pink t-shirt. Though it looks like an ordinary top, but the fibers are literally spun from thin air.

With the help from H&M group’s Circular Innovation Lab (CIL), French company Fairbrics develop the fabric.

Basically, this idea was set up two years ago in Stockholm. For that, the CIL helps early-stage start-ups navigate the transition towards becoming fully-fledged, production-scale companies.

Mattias Bodin, Circular Innovation Lab Lead said, “Alternative materials are key for us to reach our goal of using only recycled or sustainably sourced materials by 2030. However, many of the materials we need do not exist today or are not available on a big enough scale. We need to speed up development and that’s what we’re here to do.”

Usually, polyester is fossil fuel-based and depletes resources as well as contributes to CO₂ emissions. But Fairbrics tackles this head-on by capturing CO2 from industrial emissions and converting it into polyester pellets using molecular chemistry.

Then these pellets are spun into polyester fibers and yarn that can be used in clothing.

“Like with all our projects, the first step was to make a proof of concept. We partnered with Fairbrics to produce small amounts of polyester using their technology. Then the volume was increased and when it worked well, we turned the polyester into a garment,” said Mattias Bodin.

By building up this way, they can assess the quality, processability, and suitability for H&M Group brands.

Mattias Bodin mentioned, “Fairbrics is a great example of how a company can benefit from our ecosystem.”

After collaboration between Fairbrics and Circular Innovation Lab has produced a fabric made of approximately 30 percent CO2.

H&M and Fairbrics
Figure 2: With the help of the H&M group’s Circular Innovation Lab (CIL), French company Fairbrics develop the fabric.Courtesy: Collected

Producing their first samples has been an incredible journey. Regard this Benoît Illy, Co-Founder and CEO at Fairbrics said, “It took almost seven years and the hard work of a team of over 10 people between when we started to work on the chemistry and when we were able to touch and feel the fabric.”

On the other hand, Fairbrics and the Circular Innovation Lab have proven that greenhouse gases can be converted into raw materials for use in consumer products.

As they have proven the idea, so their next step will be launching a big project to produce larger quantities before scaling up to full industrial production.

About the experience with CIL, Benoît Illy from Fairbrics said, “Working with Circular Innovation Lab has been an amazing experience. They were ready to invest time and energy for developing a long-term solution at a very early stage.”

Besides that, when we are able to produce only a few grams. They were understanding of our challenges and very keen to give insights about textile manufacturing, he added.

 

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