Vapor Apparel spins trash into sustainable fashion
September 20, 2012
The textile and fashion industries have a huge environmental footprint as their production cycles rely on oil, pesticides, and great amounts of energy and water. For that reason, some companies are looking for new manufacturing methods, including recycling, as a way to mitigate their ecological footprint. One of them is Vapor Apparel, a U.S. company specializing in performance fabrics and digital sublimation printing that is launching a new range of 100 percent recycled fabric during the upcoming EcoPrint show in Berlin, Germany.
Called ECO Spin, this performance fabric resembles dense cotton in terms of feel and it’s a bit trashy too, in a literal, positive sense that is. ECO Spin is made from reclaimed plastic and even parts of discarded furniture rescued from landfills. It’s an airjet spun fiber, which offers several environmental benefits over other methods such as rotor and ring spinning for being more efficient and requiring fewer production stages.
The company’s trademark technology is called PURE-tech – a permanent moisture wicking technology. This technology helps fabrics regulate temperature and offers long-term wickability, that is, the fabric can absorb and evaporate water or perspiration more efficiently and dries more quickly. PURE-tech is interwoven into the fibers to prevent them from fading or washing away with time, making them more resilient and durable ... although not compostable.
"Making recycled filament fibers removes six parts of the process compared with virgin poly," Chris Bernat, Vapor Apparel’s CRO, told Gizmag. The stages avoided include crude oil wellhead and refinery as well as other processes involving chemicals such as xylene, paraxylene and naptha. For every pound of recycled yarn, 0.2 gallon (0.75 liter) of water is saved because 23,000 BTUs are conserved compared with traditional poly process.
Vapor Apparel's production is based in Colombia, which is now the 10th greenest national on the planet according to Yale University's Environmental Performance Index (EPI). By being based there, the company also benefits from the country’s renewable energy resources and proximity to the United States.
The EcoPrint show takes place in Berlin on September 26 and 27.