Three of Danish fashion retailer Bestseller brands are among some of the first fashion brands to produce garments at market scale from Circulose recycled material developed by Swedish innovator Renewcell.

Bestseller is partnering with Renewcell in a collaboration facilitated by its new Fashion FWD Lab, which focuses on new low-impact circular materials and production technologies, as well as circular business models.

As part of the move, Bestseller's Vero Moda, Object and Select have been onboard early in the process to explore and test the capabilities of Renewcell's Circulose, and have all approved the fabric's quality.

Circulose is made from discarded textiles, including production waste and garments that are worn-out – preferably cotton as it contains a lot of cellulose. Using a breakthrough process powered by 100% percent renewable energy, Renewcell transforms old clothes into the natural Circulose material.

The clothes are shredded, de-buttoned, de-zipped, de-coloured and turned into a slurry. Contaminants like plastic polyester are taken out. What remains is cellulose, the biodegradable organic polymer that cotton, trees and all green plants on earth are made out of. Finally, the slurry is dried to produce sheets of pure Circulose, which is packaged into bales, shipped to be made back into natural textile fibres, and brands can design new garments in a closed-loop using Circulose fibres.

The partnership between Renewcell and Bestseller comes at a time where the Swedish innovator has found a solution to produce Circulose garments at scale, generating what it calls a "sustainable fashion breakthrough". 

"This is innovation at market scale. It's an extremely important milestone for Bestseller and our Fashion FWD Lab that we now have a sustainable recycling method to produce commercial fashionable garments for our stores. Even more incredible, Circulose is a low-impact circular material of an excellent quality and it supports our sustainability strategy Fashion FWD 100%," says Camilla Skjønning Jørgensen, sustainable materials and innovation manager for Bestseller.

"These materials are in exceptionally high demand, which is why we're very pleased that we were able to secure fibres from the second batch of Circulose ever produced. And due to the high support and professional effort from our brands included in this process, we have been able to reach an end-product of excellent quality."

Renewcell's circular business manager, Jenny Fredricsdotter, adds: "We rely on global brands like Bestseller to help us close the loop on fashion globally by spreading awareness to their customers and using their influence to shift the supply chain to circularity.

"At Renewcell, we want to change the whole fashion industry. An ambitious and complex mission but necessary as the environmental impact from fashion is only growing."

Bestseller notes the Circulose fibres have been spun into yarns and the fabric has been finished, ready for production. An exclusive and limited edition of styles will be available in handpicked stores worldwide in spring 2021.

Renewcell is one of the innovators involved in a new first-of-its-kind consortium project launched by Fashion for Good. 

The 'Full Circle Textiles Project: Scaling Innovations in Cellulosic Recycling' project will work to validate and eventually scale promising technologies from a select group of innovators, which also includes Evrnu, Renewcell , Phoenxt, and Tyton BioSciences.