Finland celebrated on December 13, 2019 its 102 years of independence and Maria Ohisalo, Interior Minister of Finland, will be walking the red carpet tonight wearing the future material for Finland’s No 1 annual reception at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki. The stunning evening dress material is made by Finnish Infinited Fiber Company (IFC), which is said to be the rescuer of the world’s fashion and textile industries.
Interior Minister Ohisalo wanted to wear a dress that underlines our future direction for sustainable consumption of textiles. The Finnish circular economy top innovation, awarded by WWF, solves one of the worst environmental problems in the world.
“I am proud to wear a Finnish circular economy innovation. We need solutions to cope with the escalating textile waste problem caused by fast fashion. The problem can be solved by increasing the life cycle of garments, developing repair and rental services and innovations for recycling the textile waste,” said Maria Ohisalo, Interior Minister of Finland.
The dress is made from post-consumer cotton-based textile waste that would have been either burned or sent to landfills. Now the fibres got a new and enhanced life ahead. And, the best part is when the dress has come to the end of its new life it can be put through the same process again. And again, and again. Endlessly.
Better than cotton – Leading material for future fashion
The fabric, born as a result of Finnish engineering, has the same appearance, touch and feel as cotton but the fibre as enhanced qualities that beat conventional cotton both technically and ecologically. The material preserves it dyes better and it needs less rounds in the washer¹.
Several global fashion brands, like Lee, Wrangler and Tommy Hilfiger, have tested the IFC fiber in their production with success. Last week Swedish Weekday brand announced their stunning denim garment designed together with the Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams.
Designer of Minister Ohisalo’s beautiful long evening dress Anne-Mari Pahkala has always been interested in technology and new innovations in fashion industry. “I find it important that industry and science seek for new solutions for the drastic problems of the textile industry. My interest towards IFC awaked when I was visiting their mill together with Maria Ohisalo. Soon after the visit we began our common project that aimed to design and make a luxurious evening dress from the basis of this material of the future,” says fashion designer Anne-Mari Pahkala.
New and better manmade cotton made in IFC’s revolutionary process excludes huge amount of carbon and methane emissions not to mention fertilizers, fresh water and chemicals used by cotton farming. Still, the end result is not a compromise in quality, nor in appearance.
Solution for the ever-growing waste problem
The emissions caused by the textile industry already exceed the amount generated by the international flights and maritime shipping together².
The technological breakthrough in IFC’s process is that it can separate the synthetic fibers from cotton. The remaining pure biodegrading natural cellulose can be recycled through the same process endlessly without weakening the fiber quality.
”Waste generated by textile industry is one of the heaviest burdens to our planet. We have the technology that can be easily scaled up to industrial level, solve the problem and make a true climate action. The future of fashion industry is based on circular economy,” says Petri Alava, CEO of IFC.
IFC’s fibre is born in nearly carbon neutral process. Besides cotton-rich used garments the genius technology can also digest other cellulose based materials, like cardboard and paper waste but also agricultural waste like rice straws that are burned vast amounts in Asia.
IFC is manufacturing fibre from post-consumer textile waste at its pilot plant in Finland 50 tons per year and is building another 500-ton mill to provide more fibre for global fashion brand’s tests and capsule collections.
The business is aiming at global technology licensing for the textile industry.