Fashion research goes to forests

More than fifty percent of the textile fibres that are consumed on the global market today are produced from fossil fuels, primarily crude oil. The environmental consequences of such are high. Cotton fibre is the most common alternative to synthetic fibres, however even cotton production exerts great stress on the environment as, amongst other reasons, the cultivation of cotton requires large areas of land.

Within F3, the University of Borås cooperates with the textile and forest industries. The programme aims, amongst other goals, to increase the use of cellulose fibres which are essentially better than synthetic and cotton-based fibres from both a sustainability and environmental perspective.

The research into alternative fibres that is being conducted at the University of Borås breaks away from what is normal within the field, both in Sweden and internationally. The established approach to the problem has been technical and focused on the production of cellulose fibres.

However, despite the production of high class fibres which are well suited for textile materials, the consumption of textile products with fibres from reusable materials is marginal. Why this is so is asks the project leader for F3 Jan Carlsson rhetorically: “Could it be that until now we have focused solely on fibre production while design, consumption and commercialisation has been neglected?”

F3 builds upon the belief that an increase in the use of cellulose fibres requires that we find ways to make the material attractive for all participants in the textile value chain – from designers to end consumers.

“In our application for financial support to research financier The Knowledge Foundation (KK-stiftelsen), we emphasize that fibre consumption is a complex problem that requires cooperation across traditional academic boundaries. Therefore, F3 engages researches from a variety of fields including communications, production, logistics and sustainable development”, says Rector Lena Nordholm.

The F3 programme builds upon the creation of alliances and identification of unifying interests. The programme draws the University of Borås together with the Nordic countries’ unique scientific competence in the textile field with branch and product knowledge in the Swedish forest cluster as well as globally active fashion and textile companies based in Sweden. This coproduction can open doors to an environmentally friendlier future.