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Breaking barriers in sustainable techstyle: New Planet-Saving Innovations exhibition from The Mills Fabrica Showcases Cutting-Edge Sustainable Tech and New Designer Collaborations

The Mills Fabrica, experts in accelerating sustainable techstyle and agrifood innovation, today launches a new flagship industry exhibition, ‘Planet-Saving Innovations.’ The exhibition spotlights 10 start-ups’ trailblazing technologies to solve fashion’s sustainability challenges and takes place at Fabrica X, the company’s innovation gallery and concept store in King’s Cross, London.

The innovators on display have embraced fungi, natural collagen byproducts, microorganisms and enzymes to replace plastics, chemicals and fossil fuels in the manufacturing of textiles and high-performance materials. The innovators developing these ground-breaking new production techniques include unspun, who are unveiling a new installation using the world’s first 3D weaving technology for apparel, NFW, presenting new plastic-free performance materials and in-market products with Karl Lagerfield and Ralph Lauren, and Ecovative, displaying a first-of-its-kind Forager Hides Jacket Collection, all of which are using innovative designs with the intention of minimising impact on the Earth’s natural systems.

The start-ups featured are all businesses that The Mills Fabrica has supported to help scale and accelerate the adoption of their innovative technologies, which has lead them to meaningful partnerships with big-name brands. The innovators on show include:

– unspun, who will unveil an installation designed by Tom Kendall, paying homage to VegaTM, with the world’s first 3D weaving technology for apparel. Unspun’s proprietary 3D weaving and digital fit technology is the fastest, cleanest and most cost-efficient way to make woven apparel, with more than 50% emission reductions compared to standard production.
– NFW, presenting their new plastic-free performance materials and in-market products with Karl Lagerfeld, Ralph Lauren, Pangaia, Bared Footwear, and London-based footwear brand PURIFIED.
– Epoch Biodesign, who will showcase an installation demonstrating their enzyme recycling process for nylon to reduce material waste, designed by Andre Kong, and whose founder, Jacob Nathan, was recently awarded Forbes 30 Under 30 for Europe Social Impact.
– Ecovative, who will display a first-of-its-kind Forager Hides Jacket designed by London’s Patrick McDowell, as well as collaboration with AGI Denim trialling Forager Foams as an insulating layer exploring the intersection of workwear and sustainability, harnessing the power of fungi to produce proteins and leather-like textiles that are good for the planet.
– Colorifix, which is displaying its innovation that uses microorganisms to create dyes for the fashion textile industry. The process is non-toxic and leads to a significant reduction in water and energy consumption as well as carbon emissions.
– PACT, displaying its advanced collagen-based biomaterial Oval, which has a substantially lower carbon footprint in comparison to traditional materials, with approximately 3 kg CO2e per sqm without backing and 6 kg CO2e per sqm with backing compared to LWG gold bovine leather which reports 40 kg CO2 e/sqm and conventional bovine leather as high as 110 kg CO2 e/sqm. Oval is a collagen skin substrate and is created from fish scales and surplus collagen and enriched with natural oils. It is 100% traceable and free of harsh chemicals.
– Octarine Bio, displaying its world-leading synthetic biology platform that drives bio-based, sustainable solutions to address the most pressing planetary issues through innovation. Its leading product OB-CLR, in comparison to the traditional colour manufacturing process, has 94% lower energy usage.

With research showing that 80% of a product’s environmental impact stems from design decisions, The Mills Fabrica focuses on identifying early-stage companies that are developing ecological alternatives to traditional textiles, dyes, raw materials, performance wear and manufacturing processes. Visitors to the exhibition will be able to see first-hand the innovative and creative thinking behind the design of these new products and understand how these innovations will help to shape the future of sustainability in fashion.

The exhibition is inspired by The Planetary Boundaries Framework, defining the safe operating space for humanity within Earth’s natural systems, and is a call-to-action in response to our planet’s state of crisis. It will centre around six planetary priorities and impact themes: climate change, water, land-use, chemicals, waste and microplastics.
As well as the exhibitors showcasing their innovations at Fabrica X, there will also be a selection of sustainable B2C brands to purchase from, including zero-waste fashion brand Story Wear and upcycled jewellery retailer Ways Out.

The launch coincides with London Craft Week. The Mills Fabrica is the official Innovation Partner for the fourth consecutive year. The Mills Fabrica will be hosting a series of talks and workshops open to the industry and public during the week including:
– Biological Colour: A Creative Screen-Printing Workshop with Ruth Lloyd x Colorifix
– NFW x PURIFIED: Anatomy of a Plastic-Free Sneaker
– The Woolmark Company: Explore the Potential of Wool
– Positive Luxury: How Innovation Meets Craftsmanship in the Luxury Industry

Ahead of the launch, Amy Tsang, Head of Europe at The Mills Fabrica, commented “We’re excited to welcome visitors to see the pioneering solutions that are not only redefining the future of techstyle and materials, but also have the potential to overcome our planet’s most critical challenge of restoring the Earth’s natural systems” she added.

Walden Lam, CEO of unspun says, “”Time is seriously running out to save the planet. The other scaling AND systematic solutions featured in this exhibition are critical pieces to this mission, and we are humbled to be part of this. From day-1 of us dreaming up 3D weaving, The Mills Fabrica has been fully supportive. Outside of an actual visit to our Oakland micro-factory, the exquisitely curated exhibition at The Mills Fabrica is the next best thing to seeing our dream come to life.”

The exhibition will be open until 30th September 2024 and will be accessible both to the industry and members of the public. The exhibition can be found at: Fabrica X at The Mills Fabrica, 36-40 York Way, London N1 9AB.