Isaac Nichelson is the Founder of Circular Systems SPC with 25+ years of experience as an innovator in the textile and apparel industry. Dinis Guarda interviews him in the latest episode of Dinis Guarda Youtube Podcast, powered by openbusinesscouncil, citiesabc, fashionabc, and sportsabc to discuss the latest innovations in fashion tech, circular economy and sustainability in the textile and apparel production industry.
The fashion industry, renowned for its creativity and glamour, has long been associated with fast-paced trends and excessive consumption. However, as awareness of environmental and social issues grows, the industry is undergoing a remarkable transformation towards sustainability. Fashion and sustainability are no longer seen as conflicting concepts, but rather as integral partners in shaping a greener future.
The fashion industry has long been associated with rapid trends and disposable consumption, leading to significant environmental and social challenges. However, a promising solution has emerged in the form of the circular economy, which aims to minimise waste, extend product life cycles, and create a more sustainable and inclusive fashion industry.
"There is no such thing as waste. Everything we call waste is actually a valuable raw material that needs to come back into the process and go into the same circle of materials again. You can look in any industry, not just fashion, this concept is using any waste material to build anything", Isaac told Dinis.
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Fashion Tech and Sustainability
The fashion industry has long been criticised for its harmful effects on the environment. From excessive water usage and pollution in textile production to the accumulation of textile waste in landfills, the industry's practices have taken a toll on our planet.
One of the significant contributions of fashion tech lies in the realm of sustainable materials. Innovators are leveraging technology to develop and utilize alternative materials that are eco-friendly and ethically sourced. For instance, advancements in biofabrication have enabled the creation of fabrics derived from organic materials such as fruit waste, algae, and even spider silk.
Isaac highlighted the use of crop leftovers to produce natural fibres.
"We are commercialising it with oilseeds: CBD hemp and oilseed flax, and also with pineapple leaf", he told Dinis.
These materials not only reduce the reliance on traditional resource-intensive textiles but also offer new possibilities in terms of design and functionality.
"It's every choice that's being made and the best practices around raw materials and the overall process that actually creates the change", he commented.
Technology plays a vital role in improving the transparency and traceability of fashion supply chains. Blockchain, for example, has gained traction as a powerful tool for supply chain management, enabling brands to track the journey of their products from raw materials to the hands of consumers.
By providing a decentralised and immutable ledger of information, blockchain ensures that supply chain data is accurate, secure, and easily accessible. This level of transparency empowers consumers to make informed choices and encourages brands to uphold sustainable practices throughout their operations.
"How can we prevent counterfeiting and how can we track our products through licensees has always been a question. We began looking at blockchain many years ago. The distributed ledger concept to create an immutable record of the entire life cycle of a product gives the required authenticity to it for consumers to make the right choice", Isaac highlighted.
Circular technology and regenerative impact
In our quest for a more sustainable world, the concept of circularity has gained significant momentum. By shifting away from the traditional linear model of "take-make-dispose" and embracing circularity, we can create a regenerative economy that minimises waste, maximises resource efficiency, and fosters long-term environmental and social benefits.
"The old 'take-make-waste' model is very linear and extractive. The new model is to actually capture and add value, either at the post-productive or post-consumer stage. Retrieving the value and putting it back to the system: it's just biomimicry, the way nature works."
Circular technology, at the intersection of innovation and sustainability, plays a pivotal role in driving this transformation and unlocking the potential for regenerative impact.
It encompasses a wide range of innovative solutions that enable the transition towards a circular economy. It leverages advancements in fields such as materials science, renewable energy, data analytics, and smart systems to optimize resource use, design out waste, and create closed-loop systems.
By integrating technology into the principles of circularity, we can transform the way we produce, consume, and manage resources.
"The more we can scale this, the more momentum we can develop, and the better it is for everyone: for businesses, for humans, and for the future of all living beings in our habitat", Isaac concluded.
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