Sustainable Innovations

Chiengora instead of Angora


15. October 2021

Yarnsustain by Ann Cathrin Schönrock & Franziska Uhl

Often, solutions for ethical and sustainable are not used, even when they are the most obvious one. Fashion and knitwear designer Ann Cathrin Schönrock and textile engineer Franziska Uhl have searched the market  in vain for sustainable and at the same time high-quality yarns which led the duo to get creative themselves: They founded the company Yarnsustain to revolutionise the fashion and textile industry with yarns and fabrics made from dog hair.

“The wool industry currently imports high-quality fibers from around the world, while the source is often walking directly in front of our faces. With us making this resource available to the textile industry, we are able to correct this systemic error. Pet-based high quality wool enables everyone out there to contribute to a better textile future.“

Back in 2017, Ann Cathrin Schönrock, who is a dog owner herself, started working with her dog’s wool – because why shouldn’t this material, which is actually considered waste, also be used for clothing or to fill home textiles? Together with her co-founder Franziska Uhl, she developed the high-quality Chiengora®, a yarn made from the undercoat of long-haired dogs. Support by funds from the German government, the organisation was able to collect more than two tonnes of undercoat this year alone and process it into yarn.

Behind the company are the NGO Saving Lost Resources e.V., Yarnsustain and the brand company modus intarsia. In this triad, the founders contribute to animal welfare, produce high-quality yarns and sell garments made from dog hair – to further promote consumer acceptance and establish garments made from dog hair on the market.

Key Conversations: Recycled Material Solutions

Interview with Material & Product Designer Sarmite Polakova

26. June 2021

We first met Sarmite Polakova in 2018 as the Latvian designer showcased PineSkins at Munich Fabric Start’s Keyhouse. Presented as part of the sustainable innovations forum, her project featured a collection of pine bark products with unusual aesthetic as a way to break down existing stereotypes of traditional bark products. Read more on her PineSkins project here. More recently, Sarmite continues to investigates unconventional approaches to developing textile materials and product solutions. Her body of work mainly focusses on transforming unassuming, natural materials to reveal a new purpose and with her latest work undergone at Studio Sarmite as she seeks to fill the gap in the textile recycling systems for high-value recycled material solutions.

Read below the interview with Sarmite Polakova as well as watch the latest episode of our ‘Key Conversations’ video series which features Sustainable Innovations curator, Simon Angel in talks with Sarmite on her latest projects, watch the full video here.

Sarmite Polakova

Can you tell us how your project PineSkins has grown since you exhibited at Keyhouse in 2018? 

I have such good memories of Keyhouse 2018! I received a lot of interest, inquiries as well as good feedback on PineSkins project. It really helped me to grow my network, start collaborations as well as understand the potential for a material like PineSkins in the future of this industry. My work in this area also led me to develop further investigations in the use of byproducts from the timber industry. Such as the glass-like composite call Pine Resin, which I developed into a collection of vases, so to let the designs become the main carrier of the narrative to push the boundaries on what we think is possible when using existing natural resources.

Tell us about your consultation process, how do your projects develop together with your clients?

Typically, it can involve a mix of processes and can involve a consultation to find the right methods, optimising processes, as well as sourcing sustainable materials, but it can also be a hands-on collaboration to create new materials or implement my processes. Especially over the past few years, I have been growing my knowledge and experience with sustainable materials, production methods and business practices. I believe in sharing our knowledge and therefore am looking for ways to help other companies implement circular economy models and practices. This is the next phase of my development as a material developer and am already I’m involved in several collaborations. In this way I excited to share my knowledge to the benefit of others and to see how this develops further in future!

Tell us about a project you are currently working on at Studio Sarmite?

In 2020 I joined forces with designer and friend, Mara Maizele as together we wanted to see whether we can do something about the growing amount of textile waste, piling up in our landfills. While investigating the current textile recycling system, we realised that there is a lack of high-value materials made of recycled textiles. Unless they go through a complete re-spinning process, post-consumer textile fibres they are considered a low-quality functional material typically suited for upholstery, filling and insulation. We wanted to challenge this status quo and instead focus on the qualities of the material. For example, its insulation capabilities could be an amazing characteristic for garments and accessories.

Through research and experimentation, we combined techniques from traditional textile making with use of natural binders and slowly we arrived at the marble-pattern bio-textile that we call “Pre-Loved Wool”. The resulting material has a smooth, leather-like feeling and can be created in various thicknesses, color and pattern combinations. It is water repentant, can be sewed, glued, folded with exciting potential as an alternative to leather within clothing and accessories.

Can you share any particular challenges you faced while developing this new project?

During the process we learned that the current post-consumer textile fibre industry is quite closed, so to say. It caters mainly for extremely large businesses selling huge amounts of fibres, and often only in a few separate fibres per colour. This involved a lot of research and networking to find companies who would be willing to support our project through smaller quantities – a huge shout-out goes to Inretex in Spain, Altex in Germany and Eco Baltia in Latvia!

It also became clear, that the current textile recycling system might be doing more harm than good with their current recycling practices. Cheap clothing often consists of mixed fibers – cotton, polyester, elastane mixed together in a single thread. To separate such fibres is already difficult and can only be done chemically. Whereas, textile recycling centers can often only downcycle old garments down to a fibre and as a result they create an even bigger mix of fibres, at which point there is no point of return in terms of fiber separation. This is how we realised, that we should simply accept the fibre for what it is – a new type of a textile that is the sum of all individual fibers. It is no longer about the exclusivity of fibers but rather it is about inclusivity. Together they form a new identity with new aesthetics and nuances.

Who is your dream company to collaborate with and why?

A company who is heavily involved in their own material and product production and one that puts sustainability at the forefront. Many come to mind, but definitely established brands like Adidas, Ikea and even fashion brands like Max Mara or Balenciaga. I’d love to collaborate with a fashion brand who wants to turn their textile waste into a new Pre-Loved product. Already I can imagine the unique patterns and colour combinations. Imagine a Pre-Loved-Chanel, how amazing would that be?

Our thanks to Sarmite for her insights and joining us in conversation as part of the Key Conversation series with Sustainable Innovations curator, Simon Angel. If you’re interested in the projects mentioned or processes mentioned here by Sarmite Polakova feel free to contact her here:

Let’s keep the conversation going … did this project spark an idea or do you have any questions? We’d love to hear from you, send us an email to

Key Conversations: Consulting on Sustainable Production

Interview with Sustainability Consultant and founder of Cocccon, Chandra Prakash

12. June 2021

When you meet Chandra Prakash for the first time and ask him ‘What do you do?’, he answers ‘sustainability consultant’ but it only takes one conversation with him to discover that in a moment he goes from working in the fields as an organic farmer to researching and developing sustainable agricultural methods in the production of natural fibers at the India-Nepal border and even more recently, securing the certification process of natural fibers using blockchain technology. Suddenly you realise ‘sustainability consultant’ doesn’t quite sum up the full scope, reach and vast nature of his work. In this interview we scratch the surface to reveal insights into his latest projects, challenges he is facing and his passion for true sustainability.

Can you tell us about your work as a sustainable fashion consultant?

I am deeply engaged with sustainable fashion and have gained invaluable insights on the its complicated supply chain from many perspectives; as an organic farmer, a textile designer, a fashion designer and as an entrepreneur selling textiles and fashion garments as the owner and founder of Cocccon specialising in the production of non-violent silk fashion. The creation and knowledge of short- and long-term sustainability road maps are my strength as a sustainability consultant.

You are currently researching other sustainable fibers and production methods, can you tell us what you are focused on?

My research is on natural fibers, in particular how they can be grown using as little water as possible and without chemicals. My current project aims to make the most sustainable and luxurious linen, kenaf & sisal fiber production located at the India-Nepal border.

You appeared in the Key Conversations video series with Simon Angel and  introduced your latest technology solution to support the certification process for fabrics. Can you tell us more?

The challenges facing certification bodies have been further compromised by COVID-19. Most cotton fields are on isolated or rural terrain which means it is not possible to oversee or control the entire land. Data collection and entry is still based on trust, with no cross-verification methods. In the current system, it is not possible to authenticate the materials in the pre-fiber stages, such as the agricultural processes for growing fibers like cotton, linen etc. The lack of physical visits due to COVID-19 has resulted in the increase of greenwashing.

The technology I am currently developing can ensure auditing can be easy, safe and much more reliable. Data can also be collected at the agriculture stage. To ensure authentication, surveillance will be carried out at three different stages. Together, the use of AI technology, Blockchain technology and a smart physical auditing system will make the certification process of an organic product fool-proof.

Watch the Key Conversations episode between Chandra Prakash and Simon Angel here.

Tell us about the biggest challenge you face in the development of this new digital system?

This is very ambitious project. Traceability at raw material stage is supposed to be next to impossible. I took it as a challenge and worked hard on realising it. Connecting different kinds and levels of technology is always a challenge. Let’s just say we are working on it! We will need to work with partners from the fashion Industry including raw material and blockchain experts as well as crucial investors. We are currently looking for a CFO to join us as well.

How important is it for brands to offer transparency and traceability to their consumers? i.e adopting blockchain technology.

The number of people willing to buy authentic sustainable garments or fashion accessories has increased drastically. The young adults, teens and children who are protesting at Fridays for Future and climate strikes across the world are our future clients. They want to know who made the clothes they wear. They want to know if everyone was treated well in the supply chain. They want to know if their organic t-shirt is really an organic. Traceability will be the new normal soon. Our AI & machine learning technology can help everyone from brands to end consumers. Using Blockchain can ensure certifications are reliable and authentic.

Germany will introduce new Supply Chain laws with increased focus on human rights. Can your technology help avoid human right violations?

Current regulations have limited say and access to controlling social or human factors during the production stage of raw materials. There are also challenges in checking for forced or child laborer’s at cotton and flax-linen farming. 80% of cotton farmers working in developing nations are from local tribal communities and have no government approved ID cards. On paper, they do not exist, hence regulations are not applied to them. Our IoT based technology can help organise farmers and brands to overcome these challenges. This makes our technology suitable for fool-proof, real time traceability platform from farm to fashion.

Our thanks to Chandra for his insights and joining us in conversation as part of the Key Conversation series with Sustainable Innovations curator, Simon Angel. If you’re interested in the topics discussed here by Chandra Prakash or to find out how you can support his work you can contact him here:

Let’s keep the conversation going … did this project spark an idea or do you have any questions? We’d love to hear from you, send us an email to

Key Conversations: Seamless Production with Mushroom Mycelium

MycoTEX: The sustainable innovation driving seamless production using compostable mushroom mycelium

24. April 2021

Dutch designer Aniela Hoitink is on a mission to change the way we use textiles. Known as the living material, with MycoTEX Aniela harnesses the organic and living properties of the compostable mushroom roots. Showcased in our forum for Sustainable Innovations in 2018, MycoTEX® is the ground breaking automated seamless manufacturing method allowing for custom-made products made from compostable mushroom roots.

As is the nature of living things, change and progress is a constant. From the early beginnings until now, Aniela takes us on her journey and talks us through the evolution of this sustainable innovation. From founding her own company, NEFFA, to scaling up production of MycoTEX, here’s how Aniela is changing the future of textiles.

MycoTEX seamless jacket - design in collaboration with Karin Vlug credits: Jeroen Dietz

How has your work evolved since you exhibited at our innovation hub Keyhouse in 2018 as part of the Sustainable Innovations forum?

Based on feedback we received from brands and consumers, we have changed our growing method and successfully created samples which are smooth and can feature a variety of textures for unique placement options. Now further on, the first reactions from potential customers are very promising. We are working towards the development of a pilot collection over the next 12 months. Even more exciting, we have now established our company NEFFA. We have expanded our team and are raising a first funding round to produce the pilot production.

Have you seen a change in the way companies approach collaborations in the last few years?

The interest in sustainable materials has grown extensively. The goal is to find out how sincere this interest is. Do they really want to start working with your materials and products or are they just filling up their library?

What is the difference between MycoTEX and other (mycelium) materials?

Most companies are interested in developing sustainable materials that fit into the conventional supply chain, as this is the easiest way to make an impact. This conventional production method is based on cutting & sewing and overproduction. This way of production generates a lot of waste, waste that once needed water, nutrients and CO2. Our holistic approach led us to the development of an automated seamless manufacturing method for biomaterials. This allows us to make a bigger impact in terms of sustainability rather than using sustainable materials alone. As our method is not based on cutting & sewing, we do not have this production waste. Furthermore, our supply chain is much more flexible and allows for personalisation at mass production scale.

MycoTEX seamless jacket at the Growing pavilion credits: Eric Melander
Aniela Hoitink working in the lab credits: Aniela Hoitink | MycoTEX

You are now in the process of scaling up the production of MycoTEX, can you share the highs & lows as well as the challenges you face to make this a reality?

Developing any company from scratch is hard but rewarding if you have a vision to follow. For us, the highs are all of the steps we take in the right direction. From finding the right partners who agree with your vision from the very first slide you show, to improving the material and achieving the result you like and more importantly seeing potential customers liking those results too.

The challenge is getting investors on board. A small ROI (return on investment) is something that most investors don’t like. The search to find the right investors takes a long time, trying to find those who are willing to join us and make an impact in the fashion industry. Clients are now used to sourcing sustainable materials and are approaching us for that reason. MycoTEX offers a product made using a seamless manufacturing technology which differs from the usual offer of fabrics by sheet or by meter. It can be challenging to convince them that our method is actually much more sustainable and worth the trouble to work with such an innovation.

MycoTEX wins the Global Change Award. credits: Aniela Hoitink | MycoTEX

MycoTEX was recently awarded the Solar Impulse Efficient Solution Label, can you tell us what this will do for MycoTEX?

To receive the “Solar Impulse Efficient Solution” Label, MycoTEX was thoroughly assessed by a pool of independent experts according to 5 criteria covering the three main topics of feasibility, environmental impact and profitability. It is an external validation of our solution, which helps in attracting customers and investors, as this is a proof of high standards in profitability and sustainability.

MycoTEX first compostable mycelium dress credits: Aniela Hoitink | MycoTEX

Who is your dream company to collaborate with and why?

We would like to work with innovative companies who are eager to rethink products being made, companies like Alexander McQueen, Martin Margiela or Mugler. Imaging the different shapes you can make if there is no need for seems, not even a shoulder or side seam. Kim Kardashian would be our dream type. Her curvy body is quite a challenge from a pattern-drawing point of view. With our seamless manufacturing method we could create the perfect fitting jacket for her.

Our thanks to Aniela for her insights and joining us in conversation as part of the Key Conversation series with Sustainable Innovations curator, Simon Angel. If you’re interested in a collaboration with Aniela Hoitink, she’d love to hear from you! Find out more here:

Let’s keep the conversation going … did this project spark an idea or do you have any questions? We’d love to hear from you, send us an email to

Key Conversations: Natural dyeing as a future fundamental

The Atlas of Sustainable Colours: A guide to the future of natural dyeing

17. April 2021

Colour researcher Julia Kaleta is dedicated to strengthening colour communication and exploration into natural dyeing as a sustainable alternative for the fashion industry. What began as a passion project, the Atlas of Sustainable Colours now addresses a real need in the industry by providing comprehensive colour referencing and inspiration for natural dyeing.

Julia Kaleta sat down with Simon Angel as part of our Key Conversations video series to talks us through the evolutions or the work, the challenges of integration with design libraries as well as the realities embraced by sustainable fashion brands and designers making the move towards sustainable alternatives in dyeing.

Can you tell us how you work and the atlas itself has changed since you exhibited at Keyhouse in 2019? 

During the exhibition I made a lot of new connections and shared a lot of inspiring conversations which made me ask myself more questions about sustainable colouring. Since then, the project changed a bit, but its main goal to be a catalyst and facilitate the debate on sustainable colouring in the textile industry has stayed the same. I am currently working on a digital platform for the Atlas of Sustainable Colours, nevertheless, it is a side project which I am developing in my free time so this is still in the development phase. I keep in touch with researchers and designers in the field to stay up-to-date with new possibilities and challenges of colour innovation. Recently, I applied for a grant to further develop my research but unfortunately didn’t secure the necessary funding which would speed up production of the Atlas of Sustainable Colours, to make it available for those who would benefit from having it in their design libraries.

What is the next step to this project?
The project itself sparks a lot of curiosity as people are very interested in what the project has to offer, usually following up with messages about how to get their hands on a copy. This shows that small brands and independent designers are in need for a guide into alternative colouring. My focus now is on production and realising my dream to make this book available to buy. In the meantime, I offer services as a sustainable colour consultant to help brands navigate the challenges of natural dyeing. While it is not the first catalogue of natural colours, the Atlas of Sustainable Colours is indeed the first compendium and comprehensive guide to colours made with alternative dyeing methods.

Photo credit: Bananenmuseum

Tell us what you’re currently working on, is there something in particular which is new and challenging you have to tackle?
Last year was particularly challenging for me. Especially while undergoing work to realise the digital platform, it is much bigger project which is still looking for funding to take the project forward. I was invited as a guest lecture to speak with students on the topic ‘Ecological debate in fashion through the prism of colour’. It was an extremely fulfilling experience that has led to my decision to study for a PhD. From here I would say that the most challenging thing will be to remind myself to keep developing the project also way that is sustainable for me.

What’s your viewpoint on colour in fashion?
I look at colour as a tool to create an aesthetic experience. Therefore, I encourage every designer who is in the unique position of power to create new objects, to ask themselves not only about the origin of textiles but also to wonder where the colour comes from and how it was produced. It’s not always easy to find that information, but in the process, you will think more in depth about the complexity of the fashion industry and the importance of questioning the origin of the resources we use. These are the kinds of questions we must ask if we want to make more sustainable products and secure a sustaining life on this planet.

Do you have any advice to brands making the shift from synthetic to natural dyeing processes?
The best way is to open up a conversation with your textile supplier. In the end the goal is to recreate the fashion system, and if you are working with a textile supplier ask if they have in their offer colours made with natural ingredients. If they don’t have it, they will at least notice a demand for change. If your brand’s DNA focuses on optimizing waste and being more circular, it is great to look for fabrics dyed with waste from the food industry or embrace the process of making it on your own. It is important for a designer who wants to work with alternative colours needs to embrace the unpredictability of the outcome of the dyeing process. From a design side of things, it is important to consider the fact that natural colours may gradually fade away. Lastly, locality is a very important sustainable value. What does it mean in the context of dyeing? Look for local dyers in your country and start amazing collaborations with local studios who will dye your collection with indigo, madder or turmeric for example.

Who is your dream company to collaborate with and why?
Oh I would love the Atlas of Sustainable Colours to be in every design school both as a reference and inspiration. Besides that it would be amazing to collaborate with Natsay Audrey Chieza, one of the pioneers in bio-dyeing and a very inspiring woman, who works in a field of biotechnology and design.

Our thanks to Julia Kaleta for her insights and joining us in conversation as part of the Key Conversation series with Sustainable Innovations curator, Simon Angel. If you’re interested in a collaboration with Julia, she’d love to hear from you! Find out more here:

Let’s keep the conversation going … did this project spark an idea or do you have any questions? We’d love to hear from you, send us an email to

Sustainable Innovations presents Key Conversations

Launch of our digital Sustainable Innovations forum with Key Conversations

10. April 2021

As the curator of the Sustainable Innovations Forum, Simon Angel keeps an ear close to the ground when it comes to the latest material developments and emerging design concepts. It’s no surprise then that from years of experience he is an expert in cultivating relationships and bridging conversations to strengthen connection and progress in the world of Sustainable Innovations. Don’t miss to read about last seasons’ developments presented physically in the Sustainable Innovations forum at MUNICH FABRIC START.

“I’ve always thought of the Sustainable Innovations Forum as a podium, the forum is a place where we can have conversations, discuss ideas and share information. It has become a place for connection and collaboration. In times when designers and sustainable innovators are isolated and we cannot meet as before, it is important that we do not lose this connection.

Simon Angel, Curator of the Sustainable Innovations Forum

Together with Simon, we have initiated a new video series we are calling ‘Key Conversations’ as an extended platform of the Sustainable Innovations forum. Hoping to provide designers and innovators with the opportunity to prompt and exchange ideas. 

Even though designers may feel a sense of disconnection as they work alone in their studios, there is still so much exciting progress being made. By inviting designers to join him in conversation, Simon hopes to resolve this paradox and once again create another platform for connection and facilitate an open exchange of unique insights and experiences.

What is Key Conversations?

Simon will invite designers and innovators from his network as well as past and present members of sustainable innovations community to join him in video conversation. We can look forward to the same lively and friendly interaction which is key to getting to the heart of the projects which Simon will bring on board here. Our goal is to offer tangible insights which can led to real life applications and collaborations by sharing these conversations with our online community.


What is the goal of these conversations?

Collaboration through conversation is key. By revealing insights and sharing an open dialogue there is an opportunity to connect and broaden the scope of what we believe is possible for designers and brands. We hope readers of this blog and viewers who watch our videos can connect with the projects on a deeper level and jump on the profiles and websites of the designers to learn more. There is always a chance to take part in the conversation by sending an email to Simon Angel or the designers featured.


What innovations will we hear about?

We are keen to provide our community with an update from our previous participates of the Sustainable Innovations Forum. Especially, we will hear about the progress and growth of their concepts since joining us at the Keyhouse. As well as this, Simon will speak with innovators in the fields of organic material development, natural dyeing solutions, and the use of natural resources in technology, among many more unique and diverse topics.


What now?

New videos and interviews will be shared on our social media channels and Munique Blog. We will feature upcoming articles here in an easy collection coming soon!

Let’s keep the conversation going … did this project spark an idea or do you have any questions? We’d love to hear from you, send us an email to

A Look Back at 2020



26. January 2021

It is popular to indulge in the mindset that we must put 2020 behind us and as quickly as possible. Ready to leave 2020 in the past and look only to the New Year for the future. As if there lays hope in 2021, like a magic wand it would undo and restart the world anew. But we must look back in order to look forward which is especially the case for creative innovator. In a year confronted with radical change, I can look back and break down general defining responses into three categories as:

Those who ‘endured’ change.

Those who ‘embraced’ change.

Those who ‘ignored’ change.

I think, as an allegory, this is what designers and developers ‘do’ every day. It is part of their daily practice: endure, challenge and ignore. From this perspective the majority of society is now familiar with the same practices designers have faced working in their studios’.

Looking back at 2020 among the broad network of designers and students, I am pleased to see that they have continued their practices. Perhaps you’ll be surprised to hear that a lot of them even made profit from the changes that Corona brought us. Designers from the sustainable front were celebrated. Shy geniuses were noticed and people who were previously unaware of the major flaws in the fashion and textile industry, could no longer ignore the cracks in the system: 2020 revealed the cracks and broadened awareness.

A positive response to change: the focus on sustainability and the sense of urgency to work in this way has never been clearer and has never before revealed the system ‘as a whole’ as clearly as it seems ‘NOW’. In previous articles, I pointed out that designers have a natural instinct to reflect on their contribution, to focus on their niche-solution but to observe the system as a whole. Discover the Sustainable Innovations series on the Munique Blog.

Now, however, the designers are no longer the front runners and exhausted messengers, screaming alone into the dessert. Instead, the industry: mills, dyers, production factories, governments and consumers seem to join forces and come together to solve the bigger problems in the system. This sense of urgency is a huge call for collaboration.

Meaning that our designers are free to take up a new position, leading innovation to new frontiers without the frustration of static movement from the industry. More and more, designers are re-thinkers and importantly, value collaborators. From this perspective I am very hopeful. We are still in a stage of responding to the established system, economy and behaviours … BUT I am very sure that the movement of change will continue to get stronger and broader than ever.

The challenge for now is to keep the focus on virtue, value and volume which has been the focus of our Sustainable Innovations forum since the January 2019 edition of Munich Fabric Start.

Virtue: having an idea about what you do, why you act and how this impacts society and our planet in a positive way

Value: the added value to the system, others and the whole as an effect on a certain act

Volume: think modest and act from need, not from greed

Read the full article here.

Simon Angel , Curator of Sustainable Innovations

So, the actual risk in times of corona is to stress the choice between polarising OR collaborating; You are either ‘for’ or ‘against’. You are ‘in’ or ‘out’. The nuances, differences and challenges disappear from the stage. In the textile industry there is only one way: bridging the differences, uniting our similarities and cherish our authentic strengths, reminding me of the ‘Reach out and touch’ song.

The textile industry, as a front runner on fashion, can serve as the blueprint for a changing society and business practices. The ‘good’ practice. Connecting with the fact that all throughout history there exists no closer relationship to the human skin as textiles.


“I’m always keen to bring inspiring topics and sustainable projects into the spotlight through my work at the Sustainable Innovations forum at Munich Fabric Start and with each of my contributions to the Munique Blog. Check out @simonangelmfs for more sustainable projects, inspiration and discovery.“

Simon Angel |

From Trash to Treasure by Youyang Song


7. October 2020

Dutchman Simon Angel has found a talented designer whose innovation makes it possible to create textiles from recycled bioplastics. The curator of SUSTAINABLE INNOVATIONS presented these and three other developments during the FABRIC DAYS.

„More and more, we are moving towards an era of adhocracy. Transferring this into the material and textile world: Materiality and comfort will experience a comeback”, explains Simon Angle in our interview with him.

An example of this is presented here as part of the SUSTAINABLE INNOVATIONS:


How can innovative products be created without using new resources? How can we stop growing mountains of waste? Use the old to create the new: The designer and materials researcher Youyang Song has set herself the goal of helping to develop an ecosystem consisting of purely biodegradable materials. Handbags made of banana peel, lampshades made of soy milk – the designer processes organic waste into new recyclable materials. This results in products that can be returned to the natural cycle at the end of the product life cycle.

„Our goal is to establish a circular economy regarding the materials and follow the sustainable development guidelines to create our products.“

Youyang Song

Song has developed the “Cooking new materials” technique, in which fruit peels or soy milk are mixed with a natural binding agent. “APeel” is the name of the soft, innovative material created by this process. The natural product is also waterproof and robust like real leather, smells fruity, has a natural texture and is completely biodegradable. Protecting the environment in style: With her project, Song wants to show that environmentally friendly products can be not only practical, but also aesthetic and stylish.

Perfect Imperfection by Studio Mend


30. September 2020

FABRIC DAYS presented futuristic innovations of international manufacturers. Besides, Sustainable Innovations curator Simon Angel introduced innovative developments of young designers in the SUSTAINABLE INNOVATIONS forum.

“Rethinking old traditions and adding a contemporary note to them can create innovation – sometimes you don’t have to come up with something entirely new to be innovative”, states Simon Angle in our interview with him.

An example of this “traditional innovation” is:


A new pair of jeans for 29,99€, a t-shirt for 7,99€. Constantly changing trends, synthetic fabrics and inferior quality: Since fast fashion conquered the world in the 1960’s, new clothes are available everywhere and at all times. What is broken is thrown away and what is no longer in fashion lies unused in the cupboard. More than two million tonnes of textile waste are generated annually in the European Union alone. When did our relationship to clothing change in such a way? This question was asked by the young fashion designer Sunniva Amber Flesland. She founded Studio Mend in 2019 to bring back the emotional and material value of what we wear.


“I am excited by raw material, old crafts and traditions, beauty, and looking for potential where it’s not easily seen.”

Sunniva Amber Flesland

Appreciate, repair, refine: At Studio Mend, traces of wear and tear from through the lifespan of the garments are repaired in a very special way. Island Weave, Edge Mend, Pinstripe Patch, Crossover Stitch: The customer can choose between these four carefully developed technical styles to make his or her damaged favourite piece whole again. In combination with individual colour designs, valued and unique pieces are created. The acceptance of transience and imperfection – this is the basic principle of the Japanese philosophy Wabi Sabi, which served as inspiration for Flesland. Instead of hiding faults, they are celebrated as signs of an eventful life. Visibly and ingeniously, the artist creates valuable, aesthetic and unique pieces as a statement for a better fashion world.

Solar Self by Pauline van Dongen


Every season, Simon Angel is searching for the four most futuristic SUSTAINABLE INNOVATIONS.

These four sustainable developments have been presented at FABRIC DAYS – one of them being this textile innovation that combines technology and fashion in a unique way:


A dress to recharge your smartphone? What sounds like utopia is already tangible reality. For their project “Zonnestof” (“Sun Dust”), Pauline Van Dongen and Maaike Gottschal have developed a woven textile with thin, flexible solar cells, thus creating new aesthetic qualities and material properties. A play on colour, texture and transparency: By combining the solar cells with different yarns and various weaving patterns and techniques, a wide range of textiles can be produced.

“The creative process invites people to participate, to explore their dreams and wishes as well as to show what role solar energy can play in their daily lives. All participants become owners of the project through their contribution and thus part of a larger movement.”

Pauline van Dongen

But the Dutch fashion designers and researchers are not only interested in embedding technology in fashion. The initiators of the project are much more interested in the social experience of working with solar fabrics and wearing technology on the body. In workshops, the project invites the participants to create their own piece of “solar design” and weave a sustainable future. Instead of seeing nature and technology as opponents, Van Dongen and Gottschal want to make technology something that goes without saying. And it is not only fashion that can gain unprecedented added value from solar fabric: The textile can also be used in architecture or interior design, for new transport concepts and in public spaces as well as for events and festivals.