For the new product I used a blend of recycled denim on 50% and wood on 50%.
Swedish fashion retailer H&M officially presented the first dress created from an innovative fabric called Circulose. This is a material made from wood and recycled denim. The innovation will allow H&M, which supports a sustainable development program, to produce fabrics from old clothes that will look and fit in all respects with completely new counterparts.
The first Circulose dress will be available in H&M stores in March 2020. The fabric is produced by the startup Renewcell, for which the project is the first in the field of eco-responsible change in the clothing industry.
“Our development is designed for a really broad market,” commented Harald Cavalli-Björkman, Marketing Director of Renewcell. “We want to transition this entire industry to renewable materials and gradually wean it from using virgin materials, whether it’s cotton or polyester.”
Even in the recent past, recycling clothes in practice meant turning into materials of lower quality by grinding fibers with a loss of strength and softness. Today's development from Renewcell completely solves this problem. The company grinds cotton, turns it into pulp, forms it into paper-like sheets, and then sends it to a factory. Next, the material is dissolved and passed through equipment that converts it into fibers that are comparable in quality to virgin cotton or silk.
For the new eco-dress in the H&M collection, the company used a blend consisting on 50% of recycled denim and on the 50%, responsibly sourced wood. The startup plans to switch to 100% using recycled denim in the near future. But for the first material, in order to fulfill the required production volumes, wood pulp was used. The jeans for recycling were sourced from a clothing collection company in the US and Canada. The factory involved in the new production uses only renewable energy sources, and for every kilogram of material produced, Renewcell provides a double offset of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
H&M, formerly announced plans on a total transition to recycled or sustainable materials by 2030, has been collaborating with a startup since its founding in 2017. While material costs are coming down and becoming competitive, the new dress will be part of Conscious Exclusive's premium line and retail for $149. As for the scale of production, at the first stage we will talk about 7,000 tons of clothes per year. Renewcell is currently raising funds to build a second factory with a potential annual capacity of up to 60,000 tons of clothing.