The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA) announces its collaboration with global apparel retailer Gap Inc. to foster sustainable development of the industry.
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The shared mission is to develop eco-friendly production processes and technology solutions that enable the industry to move from a linear model to a circular model across the lifecycle of textiles. Two initial research areas have been identified: separation of spandex from used garments and denim decolourisation for recycling.
Spandex is a common material used to improve the stretch and comfort of fabric. However, the textile industry is currently unable to separate spandex in a eco-friendly and circular way from blended fabrics,such as cotton-spandex blend. A research project, which sees HKRITA partnering with creative textile manufacturer Artistic Milliners, is being designed to develop an eco-friendly separation method that removes spandex using bio-solvents. In this way, the separated materials can be re-used by the textile industry.
The second research area will tackle denim decolourisation, a long-standing problem in the textile industry. Currently, common industry practice involves chemical treatment, but this method can harm fabric properties and create negative environmental impacts. This project will also join hands with leading denim manufacturer Arvind Limited to develop a physical method to decolour the denim, so that the cotton can be more easily reused or re-dyed.
Mr. Edwin Keh, Chief Executive Officer of HKRITA, noted that: “HKRITA always maintains close ties with the industry and keeps abreast of developments so that we are able to provide timely and workable solutions. This is a good opportunity for us to join hands with Gap Inc. to develop textiles that are recyclable and can be used for a long time.”
Mr. Art Peck, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gap Inc., said: “Change requires both innovation and a new mindset. Gap Inc. is uniquely positioned to solve sustainability challenges at scale, and our partnership with HKRITA is an important step to develop new solutions that impact our planet and are deeply important to our customers around the world.”