The results of tests on more than 200 materials and yarns, all underpinned by detailed fabric specifications, will form part of a new fibre fragmentation database due to be piloted with members of The Microfibre Consortium (TMC) later this year.

The database will enable brands, retailers and suppliers to better understand the microfibre material loss from different fibres, yarns and fabric constructions.

The tests have been developed by TMC and the University of Leeds (UoL), and among the 200-plus materials and yarns tested are 70 knit fabrics, 50 woven fabrics, and about 15 laminated fabrics, ranging in fabric weight from 18g/m2 to 455g/m2.

Material and yarn samples have been provided by TMC members, including 33 global vendors. Test results informing the pilot database are derived from strategic internal testing with UoL, members’ own in-house testing, supplier testing, and data provided by invited third party laboratories.

The project is being led by Trudy Watson, who will join TMC as technical specialist in December and will be based in the UK.

Phil Patterson, managing director of textile consultancy Colour Connections and chair of the TMC board, says: “Pragmatic recommendations for the industry must be based on credible scientific evidence and the launch of the fibre fragmentation database will enable TMC members at the brand, retail, supplier and research level to work from one centralised platform. This is a key landmark in the understanding of the relative significance of different fibres, yarns and fabric constructions on the generation of fibre fragments.

“The painstaking development of standardised assessment methodologies, together with the scaling of testing by TMC research, brand and supplier members, is another step closer to supporting the construction of inherently lower impact fabrics.”

Founded in November 2018, The Microfibre Consortium now has 42 members from across the outdoor sector, sports, high street, luxury fashion and home textiles, with a combined turnover of over EUR250bn.