Photo courtesy of Ably.

“Whateverproof” sets a pretty high bar as far as textiles are concerned. But for companies such as Ably, a sustainable apparel and material firm, that’s exactly how its proprietary technology, Filium, is engineered to perform.

Filium resists stains and scents, which ultimately reduces the number of time garments need to be washed — but above all, Filium is amazingly and authentically waterproof. Raj Shah, cofounder of Ably, told WWD, “We developed Filium technology to offer an eco-friendly alternative to petroleum and plastic-based clothing across the apparel industry. We wanted to create an option that could provide superior performance and overcome the issues of breathability and odor that synthetics experience. After many years of research and design, we were able to create a technology that transforms all natural fabrics, like cotton, linen, wool and more, into supernatural fabrics that resist liquids, stains and odor without using any harmful chemicals.” Shah added, “From creation to disposal, we have found a way to positively remove the negative effects of waste and synthetic materials in the apparel industry.”

Knickey’s organic underwear in Midnight Moon. Photo courtesy of Knickey. 

Sustainable material innovation is even emerging in intimates, with newly launched companies such as Knickey, an organic underwear brand, offering eco-friendly undergarments for women available in four styles. Cayla O’Connell Davis, founder and chief executive officer of Knickey, said its products are made from certified organic cotton, explaining that “[organic cotton] is the superior fiber for close contact to the skin,” and that the material “[allows] us to prioritize environmental conservation practices in harvest, processing, manufacturing, and the workforce. By using safer materials and fair labor standards in the supply chain, we are making better intimates for all.” She added, “As a textile, organic cotton is a more sustainable fiber to manufacture than its conventional counterpart, ‘chemical cotton,’ and is far-less chemically intensive than the crude oil-derived synthetics that comprise most of the intimate apparel market.”

And larger firms such as Athleta, Gap Inc.’s premium fitness and lifestyle brand, define sustainability as materials that are either made with organic cotton, recycled synthetics, Tencel Modal, Tencel Lyocell, Responsible Down and Eco Primaloft, which includes textiles made in a Fair Trade certified factory or factory enrolled in Gap Inc.’s Personal Advancement and Career Enhancement program, all according to Athleta. As a B Corp.-certified company — that now offers Fair Trade certified apparel — Athleta has set lofty sustainability goals to meet by 2020 that include using 80 percent sustainable materials; 25 percent of products made using water-saving techniques; and that 80 percent of store waste is diverted from landfills.

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