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Gloria Jover: The Spanish textile industry and its commitment to sustainability

By on January 25, 2022 0

Gloria Jover, the founder of EGJ, specializes in textile and design consulting, prospective research and product strategy, consumer behavior analysis, color, texture and design forecasting and is also a professor of university design. She represents Spain at international meetings organized by Première Vision.
In this article, she tells us about the evolution of the Spanish textile industry in terms of sustainability.

The part of Spanish industry that is still in the spotlight today occupies this space because it was visionary, recognizing early on that an ethical and sustainable posture would be critical to sustaining the business in the future. And the industry understood this long before the public started to swing in favor of an environmental paradigm shift.
The Spanish textile industry increasingly seeks to forge cross hybrids, integrating Aristotle’s rhetorical ideals of authority, logical argument and emotion (ethos, logos and pathos) into its activities and products.

Their vision, which was followed by major industrial actions and strategic investmentsis now bearing fruit and helping to place the main Spanish textile companies at the forefront of the European textile value chain.

Recycling, minimize the water footprint and traceability are the issues highlighted by most players in the textile industry. Aware of the need to increase the viability of textile-to-textile recycling, which currently represents only 0.5% of the world market, the Spanish industry is committed to doing more and better in terms of reusing materials.

By 2025, it will become mandatory in Spain to set up an efficient system of selective collection and textile waste management.

For many companies, however, the struggle to traceability via the certification of the entire value chain remains quite complicated. It is a long and demanding process that involves the mobilization of a wide range of teams in the company.
While there is great interest in putting in place accreditations and tools in the name of a cleaner and fairer sector, for the time being, with countries in lockdown and equipment at 50% capacity, the work of doing it is quite difficult.

projects in the spinning sector become more and more necessary, because we believe that the supply of recycled fibers and yarns is essential in terms of reintegrating waste into the textile system, creating a new resource promoting circularity, which is crucial.

One of the key initiatives of green evolution has been the creation in Spain of ReHubs which was funded Euratex encourage the collection of post-consumer clothing for recycling from 2023.

We highlight projects such as Hilaturas Ferré, which in 2020 sold its RecoverMT recycled fiber company to american fund Capital Story3, thus supporting the establishment of new production plants in Vietnam, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Central America. All this has been achieved thanks to a contract with happypunt, a Barcelona-based value chain design and production company which, together with the large South Korean company Hansae, offers brands and major retailers an end-to-end service based on an eco-design approach for both the creation and manufacture of collections. Additionally, RecoverMT received the Disruptor Award at the 2021 Drapers Awards for his efforts in textile recycling.

Another important commitment came from Tejidos Royo, which recently expanded its spinning business to be self-sufficient in 100% recycled post-industrial and post-consumer cotton fibers for its denim products – which also incorporate recycled elastomeric fibers – with the aim of manufacturing 100% of its products Made from 100% recycled denim. Without forgetting the valuable innovation of the company’s exclusivity Dry Denim technology, which offers a line of waterless dyed blue and black fabrics.

Jeanalogia has navigated the past two years with courage and skill, continuing to work towards a sustainable approach based on eliminating the use of water in denim finishing processes and reducing the use of chemical substances. Their creativity knows no bounds, both in the creation of textile products and in the development of innovative machinery designed to promote sustainability and the reduction of CO2 emissions.

Another company committed to sustainability as a differentiator is Belda Llorensunder her Ecolife® brand specializing in spinning from post-industrial and post-consumer waste. Last year, the company continued to focus on products made from traceable materials, including carbon-positive cotton.

Another direction is decarbonization of industry by incorporating fabrics with CarbonSmartMT biotechnological fibers from the fermentation of recycled carbonaceous waste, to minimize the impact of these emissions in the atmosphere.

Collaborative projects between spinners, weavers and fashion brands have also won bets. The desire to create circularity and cooperation is the interest of the project between Antex, Textil Santanderina and Ecoalf, a technical and urban fashion brand that was born to give a real answer in terms of ecological quality. A sustainability and eco-design initiative that has been bearing fruit for several years now.

the silk industry is also in the process of implementing eco-responsible solutions. In a recent discussion, Rosa Pujol of Gratacos assured us that recycled fibers are increasingly present in the company’s silk collections, but for now, this does not lead to cost savings; however, working with more sustainable fibers, which are almost always more expensive, is a matter of environmental responsibility. Of course, the fight for the environment also means accepting higher prices, ethically richer product qualities, without losing the high aesthetic added value that characterizes the industry.

Made from the recycling of Seaqual polyester, the items of Textil Santanderina are used to build the clothing collection of this brand, EcoAlf, which works only with sustainable materials and processes. This initiative is the living response to new ways of building projects where environmental values ​​are at the heart of the DNA of the entire value chain.

Textil Santanderina has also managed to obtain government funding to further improve its evolution in sustainability, where decarbonization becomes the main objective.

Another question under consideration is reduce the use of toxic chemicals as much as possible. One of the solutions to this problem is to increase the use of mechanical rather than chemical finishes. Milling, carding, grinding and calendering are more than ever part of the collections.

Meanwhile, Spanish wool manufacturers such as Textile Dobert seek to create collections based on natural fibers, promoting their biodegradability, and trying to eliminate toxic products as much as possible in the finishing and dyeing processes. It’s here that gots certification is particularly relevant.

Textile start-up Pyratex has already made its way with a brand identity linked to both sustainability and design, where a sensory approach and next-generation natural fibers are at the heart of a knitted textile offer. With their growing financial backing – in 2021 Asics Venture Capital and Waveform Investments demonstrated support for their business plan – they continue to create innovative fabrics, with 90% of their sales coming from overseas. Pyratex has developed and patented more than 20 innovative fabrics made from plant fibers including seaweed, nettles and agricultural waste from banana and pineapple production. They already work with LVMH, Camper and Phillip Lim.

In conclusion, in the face of all the current challenges, Spain continues to seek be part of the positive transformation demanded by the textile and fashion industries. Digitization is also a fundamental part of the equation and constitutes another form of effective response to the reconfiguration of the whole chain. For example, design and prototyping using digital tools and 3D printers are being developed, as in the project presented by Ane Castro and Núria Costa, founders of The Zer era, which emphasizes the resilience and reduction of hardware products, without sacrificing creativity or customization options. For many companies, it is a new tool of choice in terms of education, awareness and development.