Today’s Solutions: November 28, 2023

Incorporating sustainability into fashion design is something we preach here at The Optimist Daily. That’s why we’re happy to see an increasing number of startups and more popular retailers get on the wagon to make the fashion industry greener.

The latest case comes from a partnership between cult Finnish design brand Marimekko and startup Spinnova, the result of which is a wood-pulp based fabric that requires 99 percent less water than cotton production.

What’s particularly fascinating about this state-of-the-art garment is that at the end of its life, it can be entirely recycled or composted. That’s right: You can wear your Marimekko dress for 20 years, then stick it in your compost bin in the garden.

The company uses wood sourced in Finland from forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, then mechanically breaks it down into a microcellular pulp. This material is then spun into fibers, which can then be turned into textiles.

The simplicity of the process is partly what makes it easy to recycle. When a fabric contains several fibers or many different chemicals, you have to separate out these different materials before turning it back into new fabric. But because the Spinnova fabric is so homogenous, it can be more easily returned to its original state.

The companies hope to make the new fabric part of Marimekko’s main collection in the next two years, which means consumers can’t buy any of the pieces now. But come 2022, shoppers will be able to wear their Spinnova-printed materials for decades to come, after which they’ll be able to send it to a recycling facility, where it will be given new life.

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