The EU 2020 Horizon funded New Cotton Project, brings together twelve pioneering players to demonstrate a circular model for commercial garment production.
This week we meet Lucija Kobal Research and Development Manager for Tekstina to discuss her involvement in the project.
Please give an overview of your company and job role.
Tekstina’s history as an imperial private mechanical spinning mill dates back to 1828. Focused on fulfilling the needs of the most demanding customers, we always look beyond generation to propose solutions adapted to the changing needs of our customers. The story of Tekstina is a story of constant progress, creativity and innovation oriented in new solutions that provide more comfort for our customers and less carbon impact on our planet.
At Tekstina preserving the planet and conducting sustainable operations is embedded in our almost 200 year long tradition. Our value of persevering and respecting our natural and social environment is a key factor as a socially responsible company. Our goal is that 100% of our produced fashion fabrics will be organic and recycled by 2025.
I work as an R&D Manager at Tekstina and I’m also their lead contact for the EU New Cotton Project. My work in research and development (R&D) spans fashion, sport and flame retardant fabrics for PPE, and I also work on EN and ISO norm fabric testing. I’ve worked on a number of Horizon recycling projects that have focused on sustainability and the circular economy.
What is your participation in the New Cotton Project?
Tekstina had a previous relationship with the Infinited Fiber Company as a InnfinaTM shirt fabric producer, due to our successful collaboration and our passion for chemically recycled fiber we were invited to join the New Cotton Project. Our participation is focused on supporting the project with our knowledge about developing light fashion fabrics from new Infinna fiber according to H&M requirements. During the project we will also build a study of the dyeability of InfinnaTM in comparison with other cellulosic fibers such as bleached cotton and viscose. We will run analysis and share feedback on the behaviour of the fabric to ensure we can produce the best quality of thin woven fabrics. Tekstina will support several fabric trials and also digital printing of different designs and test quality parameters of finished fabrics. The main goal is to develop a high-quality product with a good production runnability that will be able to scale on an industrial level.
What challenges and pitfalls do you think will arise in the New Cotton Project?
The New Cotton Project gives all stakeholders the opportunity to further develop their knowledge of the chemical recycling process from textile waste clothing to new development of chemical recycled clothing. A major challenge will be to establish optimal quality repeatability at all stages of production and transfer this to an industrial level of production.
Where do you see the greatest opportunities in collaboration?
Tekstina has a long history working on EU textile recycling projects which has taught us what can be achieved through strong collaboration between project partners. The New cotton project is very important for Tekstina because it aims to offer a sustainable blueprint for industrial circular garment production. Working in the consortium gives the opportunity for members to learn from each other and resolve challenges in order to establish the most effective way for circular ecosystems to work together in the future. Ultimately the project will hopefully support the industry in transitioning to a more circular way of working, whilst reducing the environmental impact caused by raw material extraction and fashion waste generation significantly.
Where do you see the future of circularity in the fashion and textiles industry?
Circularity will be one of the key business concerns of the next decade. It is not the kind of revolution that can be led by a few leaders but requires a collective effort, in which fashion companies, customers and all participants in the value chain collaborate. Textile waste must become the industry’s new raw material, the project is a call to action for brands and retailers, waste collectors and recyclers as part of its vision to prove the feasibility of textile-to-textile circular systems.