Clothes manufacturing hasn’t changed much over recent decades. Startup Simplifyber intends to shake things up by creating a new process to make fully biodegradable recyclable footwear. Company co-founder and CEO Maria Intscher-Owrang, an industry veteran with experience gained at Vera Wang, Calvin Klein and Alexander McQueen said, “I saw how additive manufacturing was disrupting nearly every other industry, but not in fashion. I set out to find the people that could make this a reality. We discovered a way to create clothing using soft plant fibres. We start with a liquid cellulose – made in a lab, not in a mill – which is then poured on specially-designed moulds and dried, eliminating fabric waste altogether and allowing on-demand, stock-free service.”
This means the normal spinning, weaving, cutting and sewing is avoided. Intscher-Owrang reckons the process reduces 60% of the steps and 35% of materials wasted in the supply chain. The new material is mostly wood pulp with non-toxic additives so at end of life can be recycled in a similar way to paper or other clothing items.
Laurie Menoud, partner at lead investor One Ventures noted, “With its single-step process for clothing making, Simplifyber has the potential to beat the unit economics of polyester, becoming an economically and environmentally viable solution against plastic waste. We’re looking forward to partnering with the team to bring this solution to scale. We believe Simplifyber could be the apparel of the future: they are not only beautifully designed but have a low carbon footprint and are price-accessible, which is a significant differentiation from other sustainable clothing brands.”