ColorZen LLC wants to put the global dyeing trade on a low-salt diet.
And also reduce the amount of time, water and energy needed to bring color to fabrics and greatly cut back on the toxic output of the process.
Following 15 years of research and development, ColorZen will be introduced to the industry today as the Continuum show begins its two-day run in conjunction with Kingpins in New York. Essentially, the ColorZen process serves as a matchmaker between cotton fiber and dyes, manipulating cellulose at the molecular level, through nanotechnology, in a way that makes it more receptive to dye and eliminates much of the time-consuming and ecologically taxing procedure by which the fiber is bleached, rinsed, dyed and rinsed again before it can make its way up the supply chain.
According to Michael Harari, president of the New York-based venture with facilities in China, the substitution of ColorZen for conventional dyeing techniques reduces the time needed to dye a bale of cotton to 2.4 hours from 7.9 by eliminating the need for scouring, bleaching and rinsing prior to dyeing, and lowering the typical number of post-dye rinses to two from five. Independent tests by Hohenstein Institute America Inc., validated by Samuel Moore, managing director, pegged the overall energy savings at 75 percent and water usage at 90 percent. It’s been authorized to carry the Oeko-Tex mark, indicating the absence of harmful substances necessary for compliance with the Oeko-Tex Standard 100.
Perhaps more critically, according to the Hohenstein audit, ColorZen eliminates salt from the process as well as three-quarters of auxiliary chemicals that otherwise would be put into streams, rivers and local water systems.
“There is no natural affinity between cotton fiber and dye — you need auxiliary agents like salt and alkali compounds,” said Harari, who abandoned a career in real estate to head the venture pursued by his family, which has a long history in textiles and apparel. “If you don’t start with a lot of chemicals, you don’t have to remove them. We believe we’ve come up with a truly sustainable way to dye cotton.”
The need to do so is acute as emerging markets like China and India continue to endure harsh environmental penalties for their rapid industrial development. Tony Leonard, technical director of ColorZen, estimates that, using conventional methods, it takes 13 gallons of water to dye a pound of cotton, equivalent to two weeks’ worth of drinking water for a mother and child. The World Health Organization estimates that 1.1 billion of the world’s seven billion people lack access to clean water, making dirty water the single-largest cause of illness in the world. In China, estimates put the number of people without access to clean water at one in four.
The World Bank estimates that 20 percent of industrial fresh-water pollution comes from textile treatment and dyeing, a figure that tends to move higher in markets most dependent on apparel and textile production.
“Our approach to this has been ‘no more Band-Aids,’” said Leonard. “We’re really going to the root of the problem with this and it’s technology that’s applicable to all cellulosic fibers, with cotton of course being the most dominant. We’re saving water and energy but we’re also going beyond ‘zero toxic discharge’ with water to ‘no discharge.’ We’ve already seen an entire village in India — Tirupur — shut down because of the effects of dye houses on the local water supply.”
ColorZen bills itself as “The Power of Less.” Still, Harari feels that it’s got no commercial downside standing in its way. At Continuum and in its subsequent marketing, he hopes to attract the attention of retailers and brands who will direct their suppliers to the advantages of the ColorZen process to themselves and the communities in which they function.
“This saves the dyer time and money, reverses environmental impact and requires no additional investment,” he said. “If that’s not a win-win, I don’t know what is.”
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews