No wrinkle, no stink, no stain? No problem for this apparel maker
Posted June 4, 2020
By Rachel Raineri
In the age where technology is progressing at an exponential rate, producers and consumers alike are left wondering why some processes and products are still functioning and performing in the same ways they always have over the years.
This sense of frustration fuels a spirit of innovation, which is unequivocally displayed in the innovative design of Spain-based clothing company Sepiia. Textile engineer Federico Sainz de Robles decided it was time for someone to address the question of why shirts are still wrinkling, staining and retaining odor and created in a way that does not promote sustainable practices and recyclability.
As someone already working in research in the textile industry, Sainz de Robles was aware of the current level of contamination created within the industry, and also in direct contact with leading technologies. So in conjunction with the Lanzadera Accelerator, he launched a new line of smart clothing that supports the model of circular fashion.
The garments made by Sepiia do not wrinkle, do not stain, do not hold odor or show sweat stains, are breathable, stretchable, sustainable and easily washable, according to the company. The garments are made from 100 percent continuous filament polyester. The motivation for the use of 100 percent polyester is to allow for recyclability.
Sepiia collects the excess material from garment creation and additionally employs a recycling program to collect garments once they are at the end of their life. Users are encouraged with a buyback discount on their next purchase. These collected fabrics are sent to their thread provider who then recycles the pure fiber to give it another life. By using continuous filament fibers, the loss of microplastics to the environments from washing and processing is reduced.
The breathability, stretchability, anti-wrinkling and anti-sweat odor properties of the fiber are achieved through the filament cross-sectional shape and the knit structure of the material. Each thread is made from 47 continuous filament polyester fibers in a trilobal shape, allowing for ease of moisture transportation away from the skin and offering breathability through the synthetic fiber.
Silver nanoparticles are impregnated into each filament, giving it antibacterial and thus odor-eliminating properties. These fibers are then knit in a three-dimensional configuration with a series of micro-channels. In this way, the material is able to display great elasticity in four different directions and not hold wrinkles.
Atop the breathable inner surface of the garment, a proprietary and sustainable anti-stain treatment is applied. Although anti-stain treatments were already on the market at the time, Sepiia opted to develop a treatment that considered the environment and its human users by keeping it free of PFOA and PFOS.
In the spirit of bio-mimicry, the anti-stain treatment was designed based on the natural technologies of the lotus flower, which has an extremely hydrophobic surface. The treatment causes aqueous substances, such as coffee, wine and tea, and even more viscous matter, like most sauces and condiments, to slide right off the surface without leaving a stain.
Due to the lack of staining and odor retention from the silver nanoparticles and surface coating, the garments are soiled less frequently. Due to the stretchability, anti-wrinkling and breathability of the fabric, the garment maintains a fresh appearance.
With this combination, the need for laundering is reduced by 33 percent, according to Sepiia's recommendations, resulting in a reduction of water over the garment's life. Other methods in play to enhance the sustainability of the garment is the use of digital printing to reduce water use and keeping their supply chain local to reduce CO2 emissions through transportation. Sepiia's 14 providers are all located throughout Spain and Portugal.
In terms of material, the buttons on the shirt are made from recycled polyester and the shipping packaging is derived from recycled cardboard.
Responsible in every way
The circular fashion model is supported by making garments that are durable and not seasonal. In this way, they do not go out of fashion and are made to last. When the garment is no longer desired by the wearer, it is encouraged to be recycled back to Sepiia to begin another life.
Sepiia offers a wide range of garment types in both women's and men's wear. They offer both casual T-shirts and more formal dress shirts for women in a variety of patterns. Men's wear includes polos, T-shirts, formal dress shirts and ties.
As a company, Sepiia strives to be sustainable, ethical and socially responsible. Their research and products are scientifically validated by AITEX Textile Research Institute in Spain. In choosing local providers, they assure the working conditions are optimum and fair.
Sepiia offers transparency to their customers freely giving the information of their supply chain, where the material comes from and under what conditions, its environmental and humane implications, and the motive behind its price. In light of COVID-19, Sepiia partnered with local factories with the capacity to develop masks and donated enough material to develop 10,000 medical face masks.
After years of research and design, this month Sepiia celebrates its four-year anniversary on the market as a textile company that strives to change the face of the industry. As they continue to expand their collection and seek new ways to enhance their ethical and sustainable practices, they are making efforts to change the textile market into one that supports innovation and collaboration in harmony with humanity and its surroundings.
About the author
Rachel Raineri is a textile engineer and lover of expression. She believes there is no person who cannot show you a new perspective and delights in finding uncommon connections throughout and within life. In fact, human connection is her favorite reason for being alive! She is passionate about sustainability and has experience in integrated wearables and language teaching. After graduating from the N.C. State Wilson College of Textiles in 2018, she has spent the last two years in Valencia, Spain. Lately, Raineri is in absolute raptures over mycelium, the incredible network root system of mushrooms. To learn more you can read her articles on her webpage https://www.rachelraineri.com/.