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Brief Published: 7 Nov 2014

F-abric: Freitag's Biodegradable Workwear Collection

Freitag F-abric

Swiss brand Freitag, known for its bags and accessories made from waste tarpaulin, is branching out from recycling unwanted materials into creating its own renewable fabrics. The first clothing range from the brand, made from biodegradable fabrics, was born from the aim of finding sustainable clothing for its factory workers.

Seeking to reduce the collection's carbon footprint, the line was entirely produced within a 2,500 km radius of Freitag's Zurich factory – from growing the fibres (flax, hemp and modal) to weaving the cloth and the final construction of the garments. Many brands are looking to local production to reduce extensive shipping and bring a notion of community to their brand – see The Value of 'Made In' for more.

As with other 100% natural fabrics produced with non-toxic treatments, the materials used in the F-abric collection are completely compostable. However, as Melanie Plank, our senior Fashion & Beauty editor, points out: "What makes Freitag's apparel collection innovative is the care taken to ensure that all the garment components – including the selvedge, thread and labels – are made from natural fibres, as this enables easier composting at the end of the garment's lifecycle."

To make this process even simpler, Freitag has also designed the clothes with disassembly at heart. The only non-biodegradable element is a specially designed F-button made of cast metal that is simply unscrewed for removal before composting. Durable and made to last, the buttons can be reused countless times.

When designing for sustainability, it is crucial to consider the entire lifecycle of a product. See Closing the Loop: Future-Proofing Design for more on creating circular material loops through recycling and renewable materials. For more on the rise of sustainable thinking in fashion, see 2014: Ethical Fashion's Year and Fashion's Sustainable Future: Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2014.