Togs from trash

The fashion industry is responsible for one tenth of all CO2 emissions globally. To protect the climate, it has to become more sustainable. Italian company Aquafil has come up with a novel idea on how to do just that.

The textile industry employees around 86 million people worldwide, making it a key player in the global economy. It contributes around 2.4 trillion US dollars to global production, but is also responsible for up to ten percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and 20 percent of industrial effluent, according to the UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion.

Furthermore, the garments are made using petroleum-based plastics by low-wage workers, often under dismal conditions for people and the environment.

But the textile industry is starting to realise that fast fashion, i.e. rapid production, low quality materials and cheap fashion, is not sustainable: a McKinsey study shows that more than half of the fashion industry’s buying managers now consider sustainability to be one of the most important business strategies and this is having a huge impact on the range of sustainable fashion products. In fact, we are seeing fivefold growth every year!

02_Story_Aquafil_Contentbild_GarnWhat is sustainable fashion?

In 2019, only one percent of fashion products were labelled "sustainable". But what exactly is sustainable? There are a number of definitions flying around: fair fashion and green fashion, for example. When people talk about "fair fashion", they usually mean good working conditions along the entire production chain. "Green" fashion is used if a garment has been produced using ecologically degradable materials and chemicals have been avoided as far as possible. Fashion labels usually opt for one of these two key aspects.

Video Story: Aquafil - from trash to textiles

Aquafil – from trash to textiles

Our Italian client Aquafil – one of the world's leading nylon producers – is a pioneer in the production of sustainable materials for the textile industry. After years of research Aquafil developed ECONYL in 2011. The special feature of this artificially produced yarn is that it is made from waste such as old fishing nets and can be recycled completely – a perfect example of a circular economy. In terms of quality and performance, the yarn does not differ from conventional nylon and can be used to make products that are exceedingly tear-resistant, strong, elastic and durable – which is why numerous carpet, fashion and even car manufacturers already use ECONYL.

If you want to be economically viable in the future, you have to be sustainable.
Giulio Bonazzi, CEO of Aquafil

The road to a completely sustainable fashion world might still be long, but using recyclable raw materials is an important element in protecting the climate. And it doesn’t just apply to the fashion industry.

Aquafil-EconylAbout Aquafil

Aquafil was founded in 1965 and is one of the world's leading nylon manufacturers with a turnover of 549 million euros in 2019. The group is represented on three continents with almost 3,000 employees and 16 plants. The company's headquarter is in Italy, with sites in Slovenia, Croatia, the UK, the US, Thailand and China. Since 2011, Aquafil’s Julon plant in Ljubljana has been producing ECONYL, a closed loop nylon yarn made from waste that can be recycled after use.

What Next: our topics