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Gloucestershire Business News

Fast fashion crackdown good news for alternatives

Gloucestershire advanced materials firm Versarien says new European Union proposals to make clothing longer-lasting backs the work they have been doing in creating more 'sustainable' products.

Fast fashion has been put on notice by the European Union as it seeks to make clothes, furniture and smartphones sold in Europe last longer and be easier to repair. Although the UK is no longer in the EU, anyone trading in Europe would be affected.

Neill Ricketts, chief executive of Versarien, said: "We have been aware for a while that there is a need for textiles to be more friendly to the environment, the use of valuable resources needed in the current methods of production are simply not sustainable."

The EU initiative, if approved, would be a boost to the market for sustainable textiles. It will also crack down on misleading environmental claims from manufacturers or so-called 'greenwashing'.

In November Versarien, which is based at the Longhope business park in the Forest of Dean, announced a partnership with top fashion brand Superdry , Julian Dunkerton's international company based in Cheltenham.

The three-year commercial collaboration deal will pioneer the production of graphene-enhanced garments, using Versarien's Grapehene-WearTM technology, with a view to importing graphene's thermal and moisture management properties into clothing.

The European Environment Agency says clothes use in Europe has on average the fourth highest impact on the environment and climate.

Textile consumption requires nine cubic metres of water, 400 square metres of land, 391kg of raw materials, and causes a carbon footprint of about 270kg, it claims.

Neill Ricketts said: "We have been working with the industry to introduce new materials that are either based on alternatives to fossil fuels or using recycled materials. By adding graphene we can improve the mechanical properties to give much better performance.

"We need to use far more recycled materials, be far more efficient with virgin materials and be far more aware of the damage we are doing to the environment."

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