While some clothing companies have made great strides to clean up the polluting fashion industry, what we really need are innovators that can disrupt the industry and put us on a path towards truly sustainable fashion. With that in mind, here are five exciting startups that are set to make waves in the fashion industry.
Werewool: Tackling the toxicity and environmental impact of textiles production, this biotech fiber company produces lab-grown, biodegradable materials with colors, stretch and water repellency in their DNA. Werewool uses protein it collects from a culture of organisms, including from coral, oysters, jellyfish and even human cheeks (without harming the organisms themselves) to create fabrics without petrochemicals.
Lizee: Clothing rental is on the rise. As more clothing brands and retailers recognize the merits of new business models, Lizee can help them establish efficient, reliable and verified rental options. Lizee partners with brands, including Decathlon and Kipling, to set up connected systems for rental, from software to logistics.
Fairbrics: This French startup has created the first carbon-negative synthetic fiber. Its product, Airwear, is produced by sequestering and converting carbon dioxide into polyester pellets for use in textiles. Fairbrics aims to replace petroleum-derived polyester with a more sustainable alternative that maintains the look and feel achieved in virgin polyester production.
Resortecs: To enable the efficient disassembly of garments, Resortecs manufactures a stitching thread that dissolves at high heat. That eliminates the need for tedious and costly manual labor to detach zippers, buttons and other fixtures, encouraging simplified repair, materials reuse or recycling instead of landfilling and incineration.
Thrilling: For those of us without the patience or persistence to sift through racks of used clothing, Thrilling offers an online alternative with a spotlight on unique vintage finds. The online clothing marketplace engages a network of vintage store owners and “sorters” to design out the friction of resale and keep high-quality apparel in circulation. Thrilling also has launched a campaign to help more than 100 vintage stores remain operational while their doors must be physically shut during the pandemic.