Insights / Fashion
”A critical emphasis lies in the establishment of sustainable production practices that leverage existing materials”
On the most critical issues to drive change in the textile industry
8 Nov 2023

You’re the Head of Innovation of Wargön Innovation. How’d you describe what you do?

— We’re an innovation hub for circular processes, textiles, and bio-based materials, as well as a development space for the industrialisation of textile sorting. We enable the future’s circular and resource-efficient textile and fashion industry by supporting small- and medium-sized businesses, says Düberg Martinsson. She continues:

— We’re dedicated to creating a circular and sustainable society. As an innovation hub, we support entrepreneurs, businesses, and public partners aiming to create and market groundbreaking products, processes, and business models. By collaborating with us, innovators, business leaders, and academic experts gain the opportunity to explore new technologies and methods. These advancements pave the way for circular business models and contribute to a resource-efficient textile and fashion sector. Our core competencies lie in orchestrating circular processes, leveraging textiles and bio-based materials, and pioneering industrial textile sorting. Notably, we’ve established a unique testing and demonstration facility in these areas, enhancing accessibility and driving progress. 

This also includes a unique AI sorting facility and you’ve also secured a bunch of awards and nominations.

— Yes, one of our primary objectives is to enable a sustainable and circular textile and fashion sector. This is accomplished through our active support of visionary entrepreneurs, collaboration with companies to enhance their best practices, and facilitation of the public sector’s transition. Our guidance in conceiving innovative business models, exploring new materials, and pioneering cutting-edge solutions is paving the way for fresh avenues to achieve circularity and long-term sustainability, says Düberg Martinsson. She continues:

— For instance, winning the Encouragement for Action award underscored our impact as a key driver in facilitating a sustainable transition. We’ve been dedicated to advancing our operations and enhancing our ability to extend support to a broader spectrum. The evident desire for transformation is inspiring, and we are thrilled to maintain our role as an agent of transformative progress.

In what part of the industry is it the most crucial to drive change?

— The entire textile and fashion industry has a significant journey ahead to achieve sustainability in the coming years. A crucial area of focus lies within production, as a substantial portion of the environmental impact is concentrated there. The industry should embrace sustainable business models. It is imperative that businesses pay attention to the utilisation of existing materials and the reduction of virgin resource usage in production. Additionally, enabling the possibility of material recycling is crucial. Equally important is designing for longevity, which allows for reuse, remanufacturing, remodelling, and service-based business models.

— Given the more defined legal requirements associated with textiles, coupled with the swift evolution of climate and environmental changes, it is important for the industry to collaborate swiftly to attain sustainable and circular practices. A critical emphasis lies in the establishment of sustainable production practices that leverage existing materials. To achieve this, it is significant to establish processes for sorting and evaluating textiles that are no longer in use.

— A robust and well-functioning sorting infrastructure is necessary to handle the substantial volume of textile materials in circulation and enable their continued use through methods like reuse, redesign, repair, and recycling. Accelerating the progress of textile sorting is crucial to prevent the sorting stage from becoming an obstacle to the industry’s transition.

Caroline Düberg Martinsson.

And for you, what’s next?

— We’ve secured additional funding from the European Regional Development Fund for a three-year initiative aimed at assisting small and medium-sized businesses in adopting circular business models. As a result, we will be further scaling up our operations throughout the autumn to extend our support to a broader range of participants.