This Pastel Dress Is Dyed From Old Scraps of Fabric

The pale blue hue in a new hoodie didn’t come from a traditional dye: Instead, sustainability-focused clothing brand Pangea worked with a partner to create the dye from scraps of blue fabric collected from its factory floor. A rainbow of other colors in the new product line, from pale pink and apricot to yellow and green, also came from transformed textile waste.

The brand’s partner, the Italian textile chemical company Officina +39, turns scrap and old clothing that would otherwise have been thrown into colored powder. Using a patented process, the recycled powder becomes a dye that can be sprayed, coated, printed or dipped onto new fabric.

“You literally chop up the garment, pulverize it into powder, and then mix in other secret sauces to turn it into a dye,” says Amanda Parks, chief innovation officer at Pangea. (Officina+39 does not publicly share details of how the proprietary process works.) Dyes from old fabrics can also be mixed to create new colors.

Three-year-old Pangea—which Parks considers a materials science company, not a typical fashion brand—has previously dyed clothing with pigments made from microbes, made sunglasses from captured CO2, and made streetwear from food waste. , which aims to underpin other innovations. Its environmental impact.

[Photo: Pangaia]

One of the biggest challenges facing the fashion industry is the huge amount of waste it generates. So while Pangea works to improve the footprint of its own products, it is also experimenting with new ways to handle waste fabrics, both in factories and in its consumers.

“We are committed to making our entire process circular,” Parks says. Some clothing waste can be recycled into new clothes. However, Officina+39’s technology also has the advantage of working with older fabrics that cannot be easily recycled because the fibers are not strong enough to be reused.

04 90775386 This Clothing Is Dyed With Textile Waste
[Photo: Pangaia]

It also has some advantages over the typical dye. It is non-toxic, and uses less water in the dyeing process. After it is used, it can be filtered out of water more easily than process with standard (and toxic) dyes, which can avoid wastewater treatment and polluted rivers and lakes,

In its current stage, the technology has some limitations – for example, it is difficult to create dark colors. But Parks says the process is still in development. With the new line, called Re-Color Capsules, the team at Pangea wants to demonstrate that it is possible to create consistent colors using a variety of scraps collected from the factory.

Parks concluded: “We want to be a model for brands to show that this technology can be put to best use when everyone up and down the supply chain is responsible.”

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