Daniel Tavares, studied fashion management at the University of the Arts in London and worked as an intern for Valentino in Italy. Later, she found her passion working directly with the textile industry in Portugal and came across Create Fashion Brand, a clothing manufacturer betting all their bets on sustainability, recycling and zero waste policies in the world. company. She found a new development of seaweed fabric particularly interesting, so decided to do an interview with Ana Barroso, production manager at CFB.
Create Fashion Brand (CFB), a sustainable and ethical clothing manufacturer in Portugal, is creating a smart way to develop recycled seaweed fabric – a fiber created from naturally occurring seaweed, which can cope with sustainability and environmental challenges.
Eco-friendly and reused/recycled fabrics have grown in importance over the years as they save resources and protect the environment for the lifetime of future garments made from that fabric.
CFB’s Seaweed fabric is a fabric created from naturally occurring seaweed. This plant-based alternative yarn is then spun with other fibers to create a fabric with many potential benefits, both for the environment and the wearer.
Located in northern Portugal, next to the sea, clothing manufacturer Create Fashion Brand (CFB) came up with the idea of developing a fabric made from seaweed that washes up on Portuguese beaches. In doing so, the company seeks to have no human intervention in the marine ecosystem and to produce clothing only with what nature provides on its own.
CFB has been at the forefront of introducing sustainable technologies to the field and producing green products for the past 15 years. With the implementation of this fabric, they seek to find a new purpose for the seaweed that arrives on the beaches of the region, that instead of having only agricultural purposes (natural fertilizers) used by the inhabitants, they can also be recycled/reused to provide comfort. to people who buy clothes made from it.
Where did the idea of developing a Seaweed fabric come from?
Ana: As far back as I can remember, here at CFB, we’ve all lived near the beach. The locals grew up watching the sea bring tons of seaweed to shore, several times a year, and just being left there, waiting for someone to find a new purpose for this “gift” of nature. So one day we said to ourselves: why don’t we do it? As a clothing manufacturer we should find a way to utilize this natural local component in our industry in some way so that it can be reused/recycled and also provide a sustainable alternative to our current materials . And that’s where the idea came to life!
Many other companies already produce this type of fabric. What makes you different?
Ana: Unlike other companies, our main objective is not to harvest the raw material directly from the sea. Instead, we will work with what the sea ends up bringing to our beaches. By doing this we do not interfere with the marine ecosystem and we only work with what is provided by nature, or in this case the sea and the tides. In addition, this fabric will not undergo any dyeing process. After all, what is our goal as a clothing manufacturer to develop sustainable/recycled fabric and save massive amounts of water, if later on we’re going to spend twice as much water just in the process of dye? The natural fabric color will be the established color used to develop and produce future garments, even with variations in color or feel normal in a naturally sourced fabric.
So can this Seaweed fabric be considered a sustainable fabric?
Ana: Even though it is a sustainable and recycled fabric, because it is produced from materials of natural origin, we focus on this fabric more specifically on the practice of “zero waste”, in which we let’s choose a component provided by nature and create something that can be useful, prioritizing harvest without environmental interference from humans. We’re basically reusing a material that nature “threw away” and giving it a new purpose, so it’s also repurposed fabric. In doing so, CFB combines the most environmentally friendly working methods in order to offer the best product to our customers.
How do you plan to harvest seaweed from the beaches?
Ana: In addition to wanting all the development processes for this fabric to be sustainable and recycled, we also want them to be ethical. Instead of using industrial means to collect algae on our beaches, we thought of using those who know this matter best, local farmers. Local farmers, with the help of close relatives, have always collected seaweed from our beaches, for later, after going through the drying process, to sell at local fairs for various purposes, mainly to fertilize the fields. . By giving this opportunity to these local workers, we are in a way also perpetuating the tradition of the region, since we seek to mark history with the development of this new fabric, also offering employment opportunities to people from outside.
What are the stages of development of this tissue?
Ana: First of all, we have to wait for the sea to bring the algae. After the seaweed arrives on our beaches, it is then collected in nets. Then, the seaweed is naturally dried and coarsely chopped, without any chemical treatment, thus preserving the natural components of the plant. The production process is energy efficient and environmentally friendly, uses renewable resources and takes place in a closed loop. To become what Seaweed fabric is, is a patented process that firmly embeds seaweed into recycled cotton fibers.
How many fabrics do you expect to produce in a year?
Ana: Obviously it will depend on the amount of seaweed that the sea brings to our beaches, but we estimate that there is 1 ton per year. Which means that if you consider a regular fit unisex 180gsm jersey t-shirt, it will result in around 1.3 million t-shirts. in the whole world. This figure may seem like a lot, but compared to the 2 billion t-shirts that are sold every year in the world, we can say that it is a small amount. Note that this fabric will be limited to the amount of algae that will reach our beaches. This factor is actually what sets us apart from other companies that also produce SeaCell fabric.
What are the benefits of making a fabric from seaweed?
Ana: Seaweed fabric has several advantages for the people who wear it. Our idea, as a clothing manufacturer, is that the careful drying and non-chemical treatment of the algae allows the material to retain its nutrients. Therefore, iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin E and many antioxidants are locked inside the fibers. Wearers should then experience the benefits of skin contact of the algae, which is facilitated by moisture in the skin so that nutrients are absorbed topically. In theory, this vitamin E boost should help nourish tired skin while the antioxidants fight free radicals and slow the aging process.
What will be the composition of this fabric?
Ana: Our goal was to develop a fabric made entirely of seaweed, but unfortunately, after some tests, we came to the conclusion that it would be impossible. The seaweed-only fabric was too flimsy and after being made into a t-shirt and a few washes later it started to tear. So, in order not to lose the concept of sustainability linked to this fabric, came the idea of combining recycled cotton to make the fabric more resistant and soft to the touch. So I can say that the final fabric will be made of only 40% recycled cotton and the remaining 60% from our seaweed.
What is the expected reaction of this fabric to customers?
Ana: We hope for a very positive feedback and that this fabric awakens in each customer a feeling of change and the desire to do better. We developed this fabric and even if it is not sold, we can say that our part is done. As a clothing manufacturer, we are not responsible for what people end up buying or the decisions they make at the time of purchase, but we are responsible for what we put in the market for those people buy. Ultimately, we get a sense of accomplishment and accomplishment in creating a natural alternative to be in the market.
Create Fashion Brand (CFB) believes in striving to change society. Their globally recognized quality has won hearts over the past decades. With the development of this new fabric, CFB’s eco-friendly approach is growing quite rapidly and will reduce the industry’s carbon footprint and impact on the environment over the current decade.
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