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Finnish start-up Spinnova’s innovation in textiles has won them the 2021 ANDAM Innovation Award. Declaring their new fibre “the most sustainable natural fibre in the world”, Spinnova are not afraid, nor are they quiet, in their mission to take the fashion industry by a storm.
Through their new, 100% sustainable fibre, they are challenging the need for those materials such as cotton and polyester that are all-too-often, all-too-destructive for our environment. Their new fibre, derived from wood is 100% biodegradable and natural; and is said to be characteristic of cotton, linen, and lambs wool for the strength and insulation that it offers.
Their innovative technology allows raw pulp to be mechanically refined without the use of environmentally harmful chemicals. The resulting matter is placed under high pressure before being dried in preparation to be spun into a cotton-like yarn. The raw material, cellulose, is derived from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) certified tree farms. This makes the fibre circular: it can be upcycled without loss of quality, and without the addition of any virgin fibres.
From start to finish, the fibre is produced and dyed without the necessity for the harmful chemicals or the high volumes of water that are often involved in giving textiles production its reputation for being so harsh on the environment.
Spinnova follow in the footsteps of a long line of fashion industry icons and pioneers including Martin Margiela (1989 winner), Iris Van Herpen (2014) and Victor & Rolf (1994) amongst so many others. As winners of this award, Spinnova will not only leave their mark in fashion innovation history and receive the recognition that this earns them, but they will receive a global endowment of €50,000 alongside mentorship from within fashion’s prolific network of innovators and leaders.
This includes access to mentorship from Yann Gozlan. Considered a main player in innovation, Gozlan’s company, Creative Valley, is dedicated to providing expertise and guidance for accelerating start-up businesses with innovative ideas; and through promoting “creativity and diversity” as a basis for “launch[ing] business-driven projects with global potential”.
Where it has been found that 70% of the fashion industry’s emissions came from upstream activities such as materials production, preparation and processing, Spinnova’s innovation could harness the potential to make large waves in the fashion industries’ drive toward more environmentally sustainable practises: with this in mind, their new fabric could be monumental. Some of the brands who they have already forged partnetships with include H&M, Marimekko, Bergans of Norway, Fashion FWD (who promote action in the industry, in the interest of consumer health, the environment, local communities, and garment workers and farmers involved with production), and Canopy (organisation for the protection and conservation of forests, globally, by working with industries who rely on the forest for their supply chain).
Spinnova aim to embed their fibre within the supply chain of not only luxury but everyday fashion, so that the growing population of environmentally conscious consumers can contribute to their larger aim of mitigating the climate crisis; whilst simultaneously contributing to their own sense of wellbeing through purchasing high quality, planet friendly garments. It does not end here for Spinnova – their strife for innovation and sustainability has led them to explore the use of waste materials from agriculture (such as wheat straw) and cotton (allowing fashion textile waste to be re-generated).
*all images courtesy of Spinnova
+ Words: Niamh Heron, Luxiders Magazine
BA Journalism and Media Graduate, based in Leeds, UK
Connect with her through Instagram @niamh.heron or LinKedin