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May 27, 2022

Challenge the Fabric discusses cellulosic fibre innovations in Paris

The Challenge the Fabric symposium saw panellists discuss bio-based, man-made cellulosic fibre (MMCF) material and barriers to growth and possibilities within the fashion sector.

By Fi Forrest

Challenge the Fabric (CTF) connects actors from the forest, textile, and fashion industries to create a more sustainable future by driving forward transformation around MMCF. During the symposium, discussions were held on how the industries can collaborate.

MMCF such as viscose/rayon, lyocell, modal and cupro are mostly derived from wood pulp and have the third-largest share in global fibre production after polyester and cotton. MMCF are of increasing industry importance, with production doubling over the last three decades and tipped for continued growth. 

The CTF event, initiated by Ekman and Co and organised by the Swedish Fashion Council, is a long-term initiative. CTF was first launched during London Fashion Week in 2018 and the advisory board consists of Ikea of Sweden, Textile Exchange, Kelheim Fibres, Swedish Fashion Council and Ekman and Co. By connecting prominent brands and forward-thinking suppliers, CTF aims to increase awareness about bio-based, MMCF materials and presents an opportunity for the entire supply chain to meet and act for change. 

“Cross-industry collaborations are vital to accelerating the work towards a more sustainable future. Challenge the Fabric will create a long-term impact for the global fashion industry,” says Jennie Rosén, CEO Swedish Fashion Council. 

The panel discussions deep-dived into the themes of cross-industry work, as well as the challenges and opportunities with MMCF from a brand and producer perspective. In addition, the panels highlighted existing issues facing pulp producers and their wish to solve them, and the current state and future of next generation feedstock. Industry members expressed their joint goals to displace the demand of fossil fuel-based textiles, and the implementation of sustainable production processes to reduce carbon footprint. 

Christine Goulay, global director at Pangaia Science, commented that CTF has a unique place in today’s sustainable fashion and innovation landscape. “By bringing together brands (both big and small), supply chain partners, innovators, and experts, we can come together to work toward actionable change.” 

Meanwhile, Sara Mariani, chief sustainability officer at OTB, added collaboration was a key topic throughout the symposium: “There is the commitment of companies, researchers, innovative startups, and experts to join forces to create true purpose and scale-up projects.”  

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