A research team at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts has one goal: our society must learn to close the textile loop. How this works was researched by the Product and Textile Research Group together with companies from the textile industry in the project "Texcircle"project, which NIKIN supported as a network partner. has supported.
You don't necessarily have to have a fashion brand to be aware of the lack of sustainability in this industry. Meanwhile, there are at least as many humanitarian disasters in textile factories every day as there are labels jumping on the "sustainable collections" bandwagon. Where is this going? Anyone who finishes asking these and all the questions that follow will probably come to the uncomfortable truth that, in theory, we should all stop producing fashion until the last seam of all existing clothes has been re-used, re-cycled or worn to uselessness. Would that really solve our global problem? Probably not.
Image: Our clothing consumption must not pollute the environment. ©HSLU
At NIKIN, we have already achieved a lot, but we still have at least as much ahead of us. So we do our best every day to evolve in awareness of this fallibility. We are driving improvements at various levels, be it in distribution, design, collection or reuse of materials. For example, we had already launched a Reuse Collection, made from partly recycled waste materials from older editions. For us, this collection was a symbol of circularity and the more conscious use of resources - but (unfortunately) not yet part of everyday life in the fashion industry.
Image: Robin and the yarn. ©Ivan Schnoz
In search of pure substance
For the researchers at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU), it is also clear that we must manage to recycle our old clothes much better than before so that the textile cycle can be closed. Put simply, this means that old sweaters or T-shirts are not burned or turned into rags, but are made into new clothing that ends up back in the store. Tina Tomovic and the team from the HSLU's Product and Textile Research Group researched how this could work together with companies from the industry in the "Texcircle" project - which NIKIN supported as a network supported.
Image: A prototype sweater. ©HSLU
Old jeans become new sweaters
The entire recycling process chain was investigated, from the collection of used clothing, to sorting and subsequent tearing, to the spinning of the raw material thus obtained into new yarns and nonwovens. During the two-year project, several prototypes were created based on the old textiles. For example, the Winterthur company "Rieter" produced a yarn for sweaters from old jeans pants. Samples are currently lying on the work table of NIKIN co-founder Robin Gnehm in Lenzburg. Since there is still some yarn left over, we would like to give the "Texcircle" project a second life, entirely in the spirit of the circular economy. A limited collection is planned for 2023.
Image: blue jeans turned into a blue sweater. ©HSLU