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The WTiN Podcast

Author: World Textile Information Network

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World Textile Information Network (WTiN) is an information provider, delivering unmatched intelligence and insight to the global textile manufacturing industry. Listen to The WTiN Podcast as we chat with people right across the industry, from key opinion leaders and multinational CEOs to grassroots start-ups. We cover topics surrounding the entire supply chain, but at our core is innovation, innovation, innovation.
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Motif

Motif

2021-06-1138:22

The WTiN Podcast is back for another series, and this time we kick off by talking to Jackie Corlett, founder and director of Motif and Motif Handmade.  While founded decades apart, Motif (1990s) and Motif Handmade (2010s) share a vision to support traditional weaving practices in Bangladesh by making them part of today’s solutions. Motif focuses on the production of woven fabrics and getting people into the workplace, while Motif Handmade is about working with the weavers to design collections and to make the most of the design talent they have to offer. In this episode, Corlett talks about the network of weavers that she has become apart of over the years, the diversity of fabrics that they’re able to create, and how they are even introducing recycled yarns into collections. Elsewhere, Corlett talks about how socially and environmentally sustainable artisanal weaving is, and how it’s a scalable, accessible and financially competitive way of manufacturing, which is why she is encouraging designers and brands to think about integrating artisanal weaving into their supply chains. To find out more about Motif Handmade, visit www.motifhandmade.com 
Nextiles

Nextiles

2021-05-2840:35

This week’s guest on The WTiN Podcast is Dr George Sun, CEO, Nextiles. Founded in 2019 and spun out of MIT and the National Science Foundation, Nextiles is a wearable smart textiles company that uses its patented sewing technology to apply circuitry directly into fabric. Through this, the team creates a cohesive hardware-software ecosystem where it can leverage machine learning technologies to transform the sensor data into actionable insights that clients can use to better train and quantify human performance.In this episode, Sun talks more about how the company came to be and how Covid-19 helped the team to put its finger on a market that would see the value in Nextiles’ technology. He goes on to explain more about the materials and their sensing capabilities, the data that is collected, and how the company tackles data security. Elsewhere, he talks about other markets that Nextiles could filter into and how the company will soon be launching flagship products to elicit ideation within the industry.  To find out more about Nextiles, visit www.nextiles.tech
Huue

Huue

2021-05-2134:12

This week’s guest on The WTiN Podcast is Michelle Zhu, CEO and co-founder of Huue.Founded in 2019 by Zhu and Tammy Hsu (CSO), and based on UC Berkeley-invented bioengineering research, the company uses biotechnology to create the ‘world’s most sustainable dyes’, with its first mission being to create indigo blue for denim makers. In this episode, Zhu explains what she means by ‘bioengineering’ and how the company uses microbes to create and collect the dye. Elsewhere, she talks about how this drop-in solution is highly scalable, how it could even beat plant-based dye prices, and how the performance characteristics have not been compromised. Lastly, Zhu talks about the importance of collaboration between startups and brands and how there are so many opportunities within bioengineering that the textile industry should tap into.To find out more about Huue, visit www.huue.bio 
Fabscrap

Fabscrap

2021-05-1430:40

This week’s guest on The WTiN Podcast is Jessica Schreiber, founder and CEO of Fabscrap. Founded in 2016, Fabscrap is a non-profit organisation rethinking commercial textile waste by providing convenient pickup of unwanted textiles from New York City businesses. The team ensures maximum diversion from landfill by utilising the most current recycling technologies and engaging the local creative community in reuse.In this episode, Schreiber explains how her experience working in the city’s Department of Sanitation inspired her to set up Fabscrap and she paints a picture about how big the problem regarding commercial textile waste really is. Elsewhere, she explains how the service works, how brands can get involved, and how the public can get involved by volunteering to sort the collected materials. Lastly, Schreiber outlines her plans to extend the service to Philadelphia and Los Angeles, and how franchising the business might be the best option if it were to ever go international. To find out more about Fabscrap, visit www.fabscrap.org 
This week’s guest on The WTiN Podcast is Sydney Gladman, chief scientific officer at the Material Innovation Initiative (MII).Founded in 2020, the Material Innovation Initiative ‘exists to make the sustainable option, the easy option’ by accelerating the development of next-gen materials that are high-performance, animal-free, and more sustainable for the fashion, automotive, and home goods industries. The team identifies untapped sources, connects entrepreneurs and startups to venture capitalists to accelerate commercialisation, conducts global quantitative and qualitative research, and much more. In this episode, Gladman talks more about the problem surrounding animal-derived materials and why the company exists. She discusses some of organisation’s latest and upcoming research concerning consumer perceptions, silk, and a hefty state of the industry report, and how the company is looking to hire someone whose sole focus will be on environmental impact assessments and providing clarity on the sustainability of materials. Lastly, she also provides her thoughts on how the next-gen materials industry may evolve over the coming years. To find out more about Material innovation initiative, visit www.materialinnovation.org
We aRe SpinDye

We aRe SpinDye

2021-04-3034:20

This week’s guest on The WTiN Podcast is Andreas Andrén, CEO at We aRe SpinDye. Founded in 2014, We aRe SpinDye has developed a colouring method that focuses on the coloration of the recycled material before it is extruded to fibre and spun into yarn. By melting colour pigments and the recycled polyester mass together, homogenously coloured yarns are created, without the use of water. This method helps to reduce water by 75%, limit chemicals by 90%, and improve energy consumption by 30-40%.In this episode, Andrén talks about how the process works step-by-step and explains how brands – big or small – can work with the team to integrate this method into their manufacturing process. Elsewhere, he talks about the benefits of switching to spin dyeing, the challenges that companies would have to consider, how the company is exploring other applications in addition to recycled polyester, and how the business is embracing digitalisation. To find out more about We aRe SpinDye, visit www.spindye.com.
Finisterre

Finisterre

2021-04-2335:43

This week’s guest on The WTiN Podcast is Debbie Luffman, product director at Finisterre. Founded in 2003 by Tom Kay, Finisterre is a British outdoor clothing company that has adopted a sustainable approach since its inception. The business started in a flat above a surf shop in Cornwall with an innovative fleece, and now it is offers wetsuits, T-shirts, jackets and more.  In this episode, Luffman talks about the measures that the company is taking to be as sustainable as possible including using Aquapak’s soluble packaging, offering a repair service, and becoming a Certified B Corporation in 2018. Elsewhere, she tells us about Finisterre’s functional and biodegradable BioSmock Jacket which won Gold at this year’s ISPO, balancing simplicity with complexity when it comes to educating consumers about sustainable products, and how the company is exploring fibre-to-fibre recycling and using kelp to create new materials.To find out more about Finisterre, visit www.finisterre.com 
Evolution St Louis

Evolution St Louis

2021-04-1629:30

This week’s guest on The WTiN Podcast is John Elmuccio, COO and co-founder of Evolution St Louis. Founded in February 2020 by Elmuccio and his business partner Jon Lewis, Evolution St Louis is a high-tech knitting 32,000 sqft facility that uses 3D and complete garment seamless technology to create the manufacturing facility and supply chain of the future.  In this episode, Elmuccio talks about several topics from the company’s vision to not just reshore manufacturing from Asia but to create the jobs of the future, to how the Covid-19 pandemic has forced the team to develop more and more technical textiles. Elsewhere, he talks about collaborating with universities to update curriculums, the driving force that is sustainability, and how there’s a possibility of opening a second facility in the future. To find out more about Evolution St Louis, visit www.evolutionstl.com 
Microsoft

Microsoft

2021-04-0936:47

This week’s guest on The WTiN Podcast is Teddy Seyed, a senior researcher in the RiSE group at Microsoft.Headquartered in Redmond in the US, Microsoft is a multinational technology company that I’m sure we’re all familiar with. The RiSE group in particular focuses on advancing software engineering research, which includes working on smart textiles since around 2014. In this episode, Seyed talks about two of his latest research projects: Capacitivo, which is a contact-based object recognition technique developed for interactive fabrics, and Fabriccio, a touchless gesture sensing technique developed for interactive fabrics. He talks about how they work, potential applications, and the next steps needed to commercialise them. Elsewhere, Seyed talks about some of the biggest challenges facing smart textiles such as scale, deformation, and the need for interdisciplinary collaboration, while also mentioning where sustainability fits into all of this.To find out more about Microsoft’s RiSE Group, visit www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/group/research-software-engineering-rise/ 
Dow

Dow

2021-04-0228:54

This week’s guest on The WTiN Podcast is Shawn Mealey, technical service and development scientist at Dow. Founded in 1897, Dow is a multinational chemical corporation headquartered in Midland, Michigan, in the US. Back then it was just a science start-up but now it is known as an ‘innovation powerhouse’, developing and supplying silicones, coatings, plastics and more to almost all industries. In fact, Dow now has over 100 sites across 31 countries and has a turnover of around US$39bn.In this episode, Mealey talks about the company’s new fluorocarbon-free durable water repellent called the DOWSIL IE-8749 Emulsion, which is based on silicone technology. The team began working on this development nearly five years ago, but it is the increasing demand for more sustainable products from the market that accelerated its progress just recently. Elsewhere, Mealey talks about the importance of performance and developing sustainable alternatives that can seamlessly fit into existing business operations, and what we can expect from Dow in the near future. To find out more about Dow, visit www.dow.com  
RE-NT

RE-NT

2021-03-2633:47

This week’s guest on The WTiN Podcast is Robina von Stein, founder of RE-NT. Founded in 2018, RE-NT began as a clothing rental platform for the end consumer. But since 2020, it has turned its attention to helping other brands and retailers integrate a rental model into their own businesses. To do this, the company has devised a holistic system that helps brands adopt RE-NT’s customised software and provides them with a complete fulfilment solution and options for the eventual end-of-life of a garment.In this episode, von Stein explains this process in detail and expands on how the service works for both consumers and companies. She talks about the main concerns that brands have about adopting a rental model and how RE-NT can help, the significant environmental and financial benefits of renting, and the success of recent collaborations with Adidas and H&M. Elsewhere, von Stein speaks of her frustration with the fast fashion industry and the new countries and markets RE-NT would like to explore in future. To find out more about RE-NT, visit www.re-nt.com 
Textile Exchange

Textile Exchange

2021-03-1942:39

This week’s guest on The WTiN Podcast is Liesl Truscott, director of Europe and materials strategy at Textile Exchange. Founded as Organic Exchange in 2002, Textile Exchange is a global non-profit organisation that works closely with all sectors of the textile supply chain. It identifies and shares best practices regarding farming, materials, processing, traceability, and product end-of-life to create positive impacts on the environment. The organisation expanded from a focus solely on organic cotton in 2010 to include a diverse preferred fibre and materials portfolio and is now well known for its standards and conferences. In this episode, Truscott introduces Textile Exchange’s new Biodiversity Benchmark. Launched in December 2020 and created in partnership with Conservation International, The Biodiversity Consultancy, and Sappi, the benchmark provides a roadmap for companies to understand their impacts on nature. Here, Truscott talks about why the organisation felt the need to launch the programme, how the textile & apparel industry is intertwined with biodiversity, and how companies can sign up and begin to integrate biodiversity into their business strategy and operations.  To find out more about Textile Exchange’s Biodiversity Benchmark, visit www.mci.textileexchange.org/biodiversity
Heathcoat Fabrics

Heathcoat Fabrics

2021-03-1230:26

The WTiN Podcast is back for another series, and this time we kick off by talking to Peter Hill, director of Woven Fabrics at Heathcoat Fabrics. Based in Devon, UK, Heathcoat is a market-leading manufacturer of knitted and woven textiles. The company is well known for its work in many industries including automotive, defence and PPE, and for the last 30 years its fabrics have also been adventuring into outer space.  In this episode, Hill talks about Heathcoat’s latest space project, whereby it created the parachute fabric for the Perseverance Rover which landed on Mars on 18 February 2021. Hill explains how Heathcoat first got involved with NASA, what the brief was for the fabric that was responsible for the rover’s safe landing, and the sense of relief he felt when he heard the good news last month. Elsewhere, Hill talks about the other space missions that Heathcoat is working on, the company’s technical fabrics for future renewable energy systems, and what life has been like for the business throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. To find out more about Heathcoat Fabrics, visit www.heathcoat.co.uk
AWARE

AWARE

2021-02-2633:08

This week’s guest on The WTiN Podcast is Feico van der Veen, founder and CEO of The Movement (a company offering sustainable fibre and yarn solutions for the textile industry) and its integrity technology company called AWARETM. Founded in April 2020, AWARE has a mission to eliminate greenwashing by offering a secure traceability system that can be integrated into recycled materials. Firstly, a tracer is added to the yarn which is then registered using blockchain and then this yarn can be made into any product. The final item can then be scanned to identify the tracer content to check verify any claim. In this episode, van der Veen explains how the process works in much more detail and how it was his frustration about fake claims in the industry and the struggle brands have to prove their claims that led him to create AWARE. He also talks about how this technology can be applied to other fibres and yarns, how consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products such as these, and how tracer technology such as AWARE’s could be the ‘new normal’ in the future.To find out more about AWARE, visit www.wearaware.co and to learn more about The Movement, visit www.the-movement.com
REMOkey

REMOkey

2021-02-1936:07

This week’s guest on The WTiN Podcast is Dalia Benefatto, a consultant at REMOkey.Founded in 2010, the team at REMOkey has created a label and communication solution for textiles made with recycled materials. The process involves three steps, the first of which is calculation. To determine the definite percentage of used recycled content in a product, the company maps the production trail throughout the supply chain and calculates the associated environmental impact. Secondly, REMOkey works with Process Factory to validate and credit the information and then finally, all this data is communicated to consumers via a QR-code label and website.In this episode, Benefatto explains in more depth about how the process works and why the company was started in the first place. She talks about how transparency is key and her tips for spotting greenwashing in the industry. Elsewhere, we discuss topics such as self-declaration, how consumers, industry and governments need to work together to build a green economy, and the sister company that REMOkey is launching later in 2021 to bring this solution to all other fibres. To find out more about REMOkey, visit www.remokey.com 
This week on The WTiN Podcast we speak to the director of the Textile Recycling Association, Alan Wheeler. The Textile Recycling Association is the UK’s trade association for collectors, sorters, processors and exporters of used clothing and textiles. The main objectives of the association are:·       to represent the interests of its members locally, nationally and internationally·       be a major force in creating a favourable climate, in which merchants can operate to advantage·       strengthen the economic opportunities for all of its members by promoting all forms of textile recycling and the second-hand clothing / shoe recycling industry·       highlight the major environmental, social and economic benefits that the industry brings, both in the UK and other parts of the worldIn this episode, Wheeler explains what happens to our clothes and textile waste once it is either sent to the charity shop or a recycling bank. He also discusses how the reuse market is becoming saturated and how mechanical recycling affects the fibre quality for reuse – which means there is a growing need for chemical recycling technologies. Elsewhere, he mentions how Covid-19 is changing consumer buying habits and how the increase in loungewear and onesies, for example, is not financially appropriate for export markets such as sub-Saharan Africa. And finally, he talks about how the British government urgently needs to conduct a review into potentially launching an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme for textiles in the UK. 
New Cotton Project

New Cotton Project

2021-02-0539:38

This week on The WTiN Podcast we speak to Petri Alava, CEO of Infinited Fiber Company, who is representing a new EU-funded scheme called New Cotton Project.  In a ‘world first’ for the fashion industry, the project connects 12 key players to break new ground by demonstrating an entirely circular model for commercial garment production. Over a three-year period, textile waste will be collected, sorted, and regenerated into a new, man-made cellulosic fibre that looks and feels like cotton using Infinited Fiber Company’s textile fibre regeneration technology. The fibres will be used to create different types of fabrics for clothing that will be designed, manufactured, and sold by Adidas and companies in the H&M Group. In this episode, Alava talks about how the project came about, why it’s necessary, and how it could act as an inspiration for further circular initiatives in the industry. He also talks about how having brands such as Adidas and H&M on board can help reach out to consumers, how there is a readiness in the industry for sustainable change, and how he’s ‘so sure’ the industry will get there eventually. 
Polartec

Polartec

2021-01-2929:11

On The WTiN Podcast this week, we speak to Michael Cattanach, global product director at Polartec.  Based in Massachusetts in the US, Polartec has a rich history that dates to 1906. Back then the company was known for making military uniforms, as well as its work with wool and much more, under the name of Malden Mill Industries. But it was in the 1980s, when it developed the world’s first polar fleece, that it decided to focus its energy on the sports and outdoor markets, which the company is renowned for today.In this episode, Cattanach talks about Polartec’s Eco Engineering initiative – a ‘whole systems approach’ to sustainable manufacturing that has so far helped to divert around 1.5 billion plastic bottles from landfill by recycling them into products such as the Mono Air Hoodie by Houdini. Elsewhere, Cattanach speaks about balancing the need to run a successful business with accepting that environmentally friendly materials will cost more. That said, sustainability is top on the agenda for Polartec’s customers’ these days – which suggests the industry is moving in the right direction.
BlockTexx

BlockTexx

2021-01-2245:30

For this next mini-series of The WTiN Podcast, we talk to organisations about the topic of textile recycling. This is one of the most important solutions to the industry’s waste and sustainability problems. So tune in to learn about new industry initiatives to create circular fashion, upcoming textile recovery technologies, how best to communicate sustainability to consumers. and much more.In this first episode we speak to Graham Ross, co-founder of the textile recovery technology company BlockTexx.Founded in 2018 by Ross and his co-founder, Adrian Jones, BlockTexx has developed its own proprietary technology that separates polyester and cotton materials such as clothes, sheets and towels of any colour or condition and turns them back into their high-value raw materials of PET and cellulose. These can then be reused as new products for all industries.In this episode, Ross talks about the chemical recycling process that he and Jones have developed, how the Covid-19 pandemic has allowed them to further optimise their technology and model, and how the team hopes to have a commercial plant up and running by the end of the year. What’s more, he explains how the industry needs to start taking action instead of only talking about sustainability, and how this will encourage new conversations among manufacturers, brands and investors to get the ball rolling. 
Picanol

Picanol

2021-01-1833:17

In this episode of The WTiN Podcast, we talk to Frederic Dryhoel, corporate communication manager, and Lieven Beke, marketing and product manager, at Picanol. In this podcast, Dyhoel and Beke start by talking about how far the company has come in its 85 years. For example, its flying shuttle machine back in the day had a weaving width of two metres and could complete around 140 weft insertions per minute. Now, its modern machines can achieve around 2,000 weft insertions per minute and the weaving width goes up to 540 cm.Not only has the speed and size of the machines changes, but so has the technology – Dryhoel and Beke take pride in saying that Picanol is ‘driven by data’ and has been making digital advances way before the Industry 4.0 term came about. Elsewhere, the pair talk about Covid-19 and how the business has had to adapt to launch products virtually and communicate with its customers in a different way. Meanwhile, they mention how other technology such as virtual reality (VR) goggles have been assisting with remote assembly and training, and what the company’s plans are for 2021 and beyond. Founded in 1936 and headquartered in Belgium, Picanol develops, produces and sells high-tech weaving machines where insertion is based on airjet or rapier technology. Around 2,600 weaving mills worldwide use the company’s products which translates to about 175,000 machines currently in operation. 
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