A collaboration between the fashion sector, the plastics industry, and academia is set to bring a sportswear range to market that embodies circular economy principles.
Sustainable fashion brand Presca announced last week that it is working with Middlesbrough-based Poseidon Plastics and Teeside University on a proof-of-concept project, which will lead to a range of "fully circular" sportswear.
For the fashion industry, a circular economy means recycling garments back into the constituent elements so the manufacturing process can begin again without the need for virgin material - preserving the planet's depleting resources.
The company already produces the Forever Tee, a £36 'circular' t-shirt which uses 5.2 plastic bottles to produce and can be sent back to Presca for recycling at the end of its life.
Rob Webbon, CEO of Presca, said there was a growing onus on the industry to develop more circular practices. "Fashion is currently the third most polluting industry in the world after oil and agriculture," he said. "Every second the equivalent of one truck load of clothing is landfilled or incinerated. Only one per cent of clothing is currently being recycled into new garments.
"Creating a circular approach for our full range has always been our ultimate ambition and is essential to continuing our sustainability journey. We're really pleased to have secured funding that will allow us to take a significant step towards making that ambition a reality."
While Presca's Forever Tee is currently produced using only clear bottles, the company is now aiming to use "challenging" plastic waste, such as coloured bottles, as raw material for its new sportswear range.
"The project will enable us to establish a process and strategy in which we can bring a viable and scalable circular range to the retail market," said Webbon.
With its sustainable manufacturing processes and durable designs that lead to increased product lifespan, the company said the new range had the potential to "revolutionise" the sportwear market.
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