• ColorZen has been named the winner of the Innovation Competition at the 2018 Copenhagen Fashion Summit.
  • The pretreatment changes the charge of cotton to positive so it absorbs far more dye during the dyeing process – and requires up to 95% fewer chemicals, 90% less water, 50% less dye, and zero salt.
The treatment results in a dyeing process that requires up to 95% fewer chemicals, 90% less water, 50% less dye, and zero salt

The treatment results in a dyeing process that requires up to 95% fewer chemicals, 90% less water, 50% less dye, and zero salt

A breakthrough technology that reinvents the cotton dyeing process, making it significantly more efficient and environmentally friendly, has been named the winner of an innovation competition at this year's Copenhagen Fashion Summit.

US-based ColorZen was one of 12 finalists selected for the Summit's Innovation Forum, in which companies pitch their technologies onstage in front of a panel of judges and Summit attendees.

Cotton is the most popular fabric on the planet, yet the way it's dyed today is fundamentally flawed, says ColorZen.

The firm offers a simple, yet holistic solution by applying a patented wet treatment to bales of raw cotton fibre, early on in the supply chain between the cotton field and the spinner.

This pretreatment changes the charge of cotton to positive so that dye quickly locks into place, allowing the cotton to absorb far more dye during the dyeing process, and eliminating the need for the toxic chemicals that otherwise are required in traditional dyebaths.

According to the company, this also provides supply chain flexibility as it gives ColorZen the ability to ship treated fibre to any manufacturer around the world.

Furthermore, the treatment results in a dyeing process that requires up to 95% fewer chemicals, 90% less water, 50% less dye, and zero salt, it says. 

"This award recognises ColorZen as a viable sustainable solution, allowing global fashion brands to address one of the world's biggest environmental crises, while raising critical awareness of the damage caused by the traditional cotton dyeing process," says ColorZen founder and CEO Michael Harari.

Contestants were judged on the importance of the problem they are trying to solve; what innovative approach they have taken to address the problem; the impact to date of their solution; and the potential future impact of the innovation. The judging panel included Leslie Johnston, executive director at C&A Foundation; Erik Bang, innovation lead at H&M; and Katrin Ley, managing director of Fashion for Good.