One area we’re seeing a lot of commerce sustainability innovation in is apparel. Several companies, both large and small, have have challenged themselves with goalposts for sustainably producing clothing lines, which has also necessitated differentiated fabrics engineering unique to a company.

Lululemon is one such brand on a mission towards the ecosystem of circular fashion, where they have partnered with an environmental technology company to release an enzymatically recycled nylon. Part of the appeal of this is having a malleable, proprietary textile to deploy and reuse across clothing lines while also checking the box on sustainably sourced materials manufacturing to leave a smaller footprint on output and input against the environment.

Apparel companies using technical or plastic-free organic fibers have an advantage in this space. You see a lot of niche companies out there that specialize in merino wools and encouraging regenerative farming practices excelling in this space. For instance, Icebreaker (specializing in plastic-free fibers, focusing on 100% merino wool usage, and seeking a substitution of remaining synthetics with bio-based alternatives) is at the top of its game, and responsibly sources these materials with decade-long supply contracts. Alternatively, some technical apparel companies like the Colorado-based Western Rise still use plastics-based sourcing, but focus specifically on environmentally-friendly recycled polyester, TENCEL™ lyocell, SUPPLEX® nylon, and, naturally, merino wool.

Here’s hoping to see more apparel companies continue in materials innovation and strive for a supply chain more in line with regenerative farming approaches that lead to an emphasis on circular fashion. As the rise in positive interest from customers to purchase more sustainably-minded products and more cautiously approach fast-fashion habits, the companies anchoring the foundation of their ecosystems earlier are going to be significantly better off in the near future.

(Note: This was cross-posted on from my LinkedIn)