Textile Industry Transformation – A More Sustainable Future
A new research project aims to make Denmark a leader in sustainable textile production. The outsourcing of production in the Danish textile industry resulted in a significant loss of knowledge. With 17.5 million Danish kroner from the Innovation Fund, Project READY seeks to generate new knowledge about sustainable textile production and position Denmark as a global leader in the field.
Currently, municipalities are actively collecting used textiles from households across Denmark. However, there is a lack of knowledge and skills to recycle textiles in the most responsible way, not only in Denmark but also globally. The Innovation Fund has invested 17.5 million kroner in the research project READY, whose main objective is to provide new insights into how used textiles can be recycled into durable new ones. The project also aims to explore how new production technologies can ensure responsibility throughout the textile production process. The project is led by the Research Center for Creative Industries and Professions at VIA University College.
“We don’t know enough about how we can use new technologies to recycle textiles into new ones and create sustainable production methods. We need to figure that out, and we’re in a hurry because the EU is introducing new legislation in this area that virtually no one can currently comply with,” explains Poul-Erik Jørgensen, Research and Development Manager at the Center for Creative Industries and Professions and responsible for READY.
The entire value chain will be further developed.
In addition to collecting knowledge and methods, researchers will investigate how locally produced fibers, such as hemp, can be incorporated into new textiles. Currently, hemp is processed in Italy, but the future doesn’t necessarily have to be that way, according to Poul-Erik Jørgensen.
“As part of READY, we are establishing an R&D Factory on VIA’s campus in Herning. This will enable us to develop and test new and optimized production methods and simultaneously develop and test prototypes of new fibers, yarns, and fabrics that the industry can subsequently scale up—both in Denmark and abroad.”
The research group will also develop new designs that are both sustainable and have a long lifespan. Additionally, the researchers will develop new circular business strategies and models. The entire value chain within textile production is integrated into Project READY.
VIA University College leads the project, which also involves the Technological Institute, Lifestyle & Design Cluster, the Royal Academy, the University of Southern Denmark (SDU), and Aalborg University as collaborators. The following companies are also participating in the project: Bestseller, Kvadrat, Nybo Workwear, Sontex Textile, Kjellerup Væveri, HAACK Recycling, and Textile Change. All parties contribute financially to Project READY, bringing the total budget to 29.5 million kroner.
Funded by Danish Innovation Fund
The textile industry in Denmark has been a billion-dollar growth engine for 70 years, but the industry is undergoing a transformation because the future demands more sustainability throughout the value chain. Developing and testing new solutions and materials requires new knowledge, better infrastructure, and technical facilities. Therefore, a group of partners has come together in the research project READY.
The goal of READY is to develop knowledge and support scalable solution proposals that can enable the textile industry to mature recycled and local raw materials, as well as new fibers in a circular loop. This aims to create products with longer durability, better utility qualities, recyclability, and free from harmful substances.
Partners in the project include NYBO WORKWEAR, BESTSELLER, KVADRAT, Kjellerup Væveri, SONTEX, Textile Change, HAACK Recycling, and knowledge institutions VIA University College, Danish Technological Institute, Lifestyle & Design Cluster, The Royal Academy, University of Southern Denmark, and Aalborg University.