Today I talked to Jan Leyssens a designer, entrepreneur, activist from Belgium. He focuses on circular economy and social innovations. We had a deep dive into different topics beginning with our passion as entrepreneurs and why it is important to be intrinsically motivated. Furthermore we talked about new business models for a circular economy. How can we get rid of the concept of waste through intelligent circular design? In other words – How can we go radically natural?
As Marianne de Trey puts it: “The satisfaction comes through the use of every part of oneself, hand and eye, brain and intuition, and through being always in contact with natural materials and the power of earth, air, fire and water.”
This leads me to the foundation or the reason “why” I believe that following our path to radically natural outerwear is so important. We see our approach to get rid of petroleum-based synthetics as a blueprint for the future of fashion. Our earth-to-earth concept means that we entirely use natural materials with a low-climate impact.
Nature is us. We are Nature. It’s our origin and our place of belonging. For us the use of regenerative natural materials is ground-breaking. Therefore we use either organic fabrics or natural recycled materials. On the other hand there are materials that were classified as waste, but now they can become new fabrics. Consequently creating value out of waste.
It can be re-born. Fabrics can be made to fabrics again and again. In their end-of-life, they become compostable. As a result they are building nutrients for the earth. That’s the idea of Bi-Circular™. Above all we want a shift from an economy based on material extraction, throughput, and waste to an economy of care and conservation.
Why is this important for us?
Synthetics are made from heavily processed petrochemicals. You can find polyester in over half of all textiles produced. Major companies are increasing the percentage of recycled petroleum-based synthetics in their products. That´s how some brands believe that they can show the customer that they care. And that they are more sustainable and greener. When we talk about those synthetics it’s often rPET. That is recycled polyethylene terephthalate. It’s obtained by melting down both post-industrial and post-consumer plastic waste and spinning it into new polyester fibre. Melting down recycled plastics releases volatile organic compounds that are harmful to the environment and wildlife surrounding the production site.
And what about the mix of toxic chemicals from antimony to bleach to fire retardments? Should this go next to your skin? Also, do you want to live next to a factory producing this? Or even work there?
Meanwhile we release between 640.000 – 1.500.000 individual microplastics per kg of washed fabric into the environment during standard home washing. Synthetic clothing is the number one reason for microplastics in the ocean. This stands in the way of transitioning to a truly circular economy. That’s the reason FreyZein decided to go radically natural.
What about the facts?
From the GFA and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s (SAC) Higg Index to Kering’s Environmental Profit & Loss (EP&L) tool, they all assert that plastic fibers are more sustainable than natural fibers. However, scrutinizing the publicly available part of the methodology reveals that the Higg MSI only looks at the impacts of fibers from cradle-to-gate – that is to say from production to sale. But that does not address what happens in the use and end-of-life stages, when microfiber pollution takes place, and the majority of clothes end up incinerated dumped in the environment or landfill.
Guess what we believe that there will be no fast winner in this controversy. The whole topic is complex and hard to evaluate. Ever heard of Lobbying? We believe in regenerative business. Our decision is to go radically natural. Creating clothes and innovating to leave no trace in nature. Because we can reuse them and in the end is compostable building nutrients for the earth!
We are here to stay!
It’s not our task to blame. We are a team of like-minded individuals. A Start-Up pushing boundaries and being progressive towards our cause! Establishing our niche. We believe in a different kind of love affair with “stuff”. A long-term relationship of appreciation, slow pleasures, care, and respect. Yes. We are here to make outerwear radically natural & bi-circular. We don’t believe in the future of petroleum-based synthetics for fashion. Join our cause!
Jan & the FreyZein Team