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Brief Published: 24 Jan 2020

3 Sustainable Fashion Tech Tools to Watch


At Texworld, New York’s biannual textile tradeshow, industry leaders debated how to tackle the fashion industry’s waste problem. Speakers championed tech-assisted smart tools that help scale eco-friendly practices.

  • RFID Reimagines Resale: “Right now, resale operates ad hoc. There’s no digital infrastructure,” said Natasha Franck, founder of New York tech company Eon Group. Franck devised CircularID, enabling retailers to embed new garments with RFID tags, recording details such as fabric, colour and logos. If a customer returns the item, stores can scan the tag to instantly determine whether the item is fit for resale, rental or renewal. “As brands embed intelligence in products, they can monetise them again and again,” commented Franck. For more on tools supercharging resale, see Maximising the Resales Opportunity: New Tools & Tactics.

  • Morphing Leather: Acknowledging the dubious sustainability credentials of vegan alt-leather, Illinois material company Mirum has produced a plant-based leather that can be broken down to its original state at the end of its life. Back in its raw form, the material can be used as fertiliser or recycled and reused. The company hopes this benefit will encourage eco-conscious brands to adopt it. For more on vegan leathers, see Materials for Vegan-Friendly Lifestyles.

  • On-Demand Design: New York-based fashion design platform Cala was launched in 2019 to help young designers build a brand from design to distribution. “We created Cala for today’s 15-year-old entrepreneur who is of the TikTok generation,” said founder Andrew Wyatt. The platform consolidates data management and design tools into a single database, making it easier for brands to monitor their inventory, and produce only what they are likely to need.

    Meanwhile, French design-tech company Lectra urged designers to adopt on-demand manufacturing. “Mass manufacturing isn’t going away, but the days of it making sense for every product line is over,” said Teodora Nicolae, Lectra’s marketing manager. For more on demand-led retail, see Demand-Only E-Commerce in Eco-Ethical Retail Tech.