Innovation That Matters

The platform gives designers control over both the design and the environmental impact of their products | Photo source Byborre

A new platform democratises textile design

Fashion & Beauty

The platform allows designers to not only create their own designs, but to also choose environmentally-friendly resources and producers

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Spotted: It has been estimated that the fashion industry is responsible for around 10 per cent of global carbon emissions, and up to 4 per cent of all the freshwater extracted each year. However, around 80 per cent of the environmental footprint of textile production is set during the design process. So, what if the design process could include a calculation of the footprint of the finished piece? That is exactly what Dutch textile label Byborre has done with its new ‘Create’ product. 

Create is a digital platform for designing complex, 3D-knitted textiles that gives designers control over not only the design, colours, and properties of the textiles, but also over their environmental impact. Create works like a Photoshop for textiles – users choose the properties they want, such as UV protection or odour resistance, create a colour palette, and then upload or create their own designs. Create is also linked to a library of suppliers and manufacturers, so designers can also find the right partners to responsibly produce their designs. 

The platform lets designers see how colours will blend and products will look before manufacture – reducing waste, lowering costs, and speeding up the design process. Designers can then see the environmental cost of their finished product, and adjust the materials and design to reduce the impact. They can also connect over the platform with local producers for on-demand production. 

Borre Akkersdijk, the brand’s co-founder and creative director, explains that the goal of Create is to democratise responsible textile development. “We want to see less and less materials used in the wrong way or on the wrong machines,” he said, “We cannot just overproduce fibres, then overproduce yarns, then overproduce textiles and see if people buy them. We need to change from a waterfall-production industry to a demand-oriented industry.”  

But these changes can only happen if all creators have access to the right resources. Luckily, Byborre is not alone in adding greater transparency to the textile industry. Other innovations that take aim at fashion waste include a system for 3D printing fabric on-demand, and an eco-wool made from recycled plastic bottles. 

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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