Jean genies have conjured up a method for quelling COVID-19 from textiles, apparel, workwear and footwear — and, according to Jeanologia, its new sanitization technology for retailers is the only one of its kind in the market.
Spain-based Jeanologia, a 25-year-old company that provides sustainable and detoxifying finishing technologies for textiles, coding, packaging and industrial applications, said its “Sanibox,” a sanitization chamber with a viral deactivation level of 98 percent, can sanitize materials swiftly and safely through its combined ozone technology and humidity control that disinfects, eliminates bacteria and deactivates the COVID-19 virus.
Sanibox is already available for purchase by retailers and can be used in both brick-and-mortar stores, as well as distribution centers for e-commerce businesses. But the story behind its technology began at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, when the Spanish government called upon Jeanologia to help sanitize protective facial masks for hospitals with its well-known proprietary ozone technology.
To get started, Jeanologia contacted a government lab called the CSIC — the Spanish National Research Council, which is the largest public research institution in Spain and the third largest in Europe — to analyze how long COVID-19 lives in clothing, inclusive of metal finishes and plastics, such as buttons or zippers.
After an arduous period of research, trials and accreditation processes, Jeanologia developed its sanitization technique quickly, as the company was already equipped with the technology and resources to hypothesize and experiment. Its rigorous testing found that the combination of dehumidification and advanced oxidation makes it possible to sanitize garments at the required safety level, enabling Sanibox to deactivate the virus on material surfaces — and its solution was approved by the Spanish government’s Ministry of Health.
And at the same time it was developing its technology for the government, Jeanologia received data about China regarding its reopening of retail shops that showed consumers’ apparel return ratio in brick-and-mortar stores increased from 6 percent to 15 percent; and online, it increased from 30 percent to 50 percent.
Enrique Silla, founder, Jeanologia, told WWD, “We thought it was a great idea to also guarantee that all these garments that are physically returned to stores and distribution centers from online shopping could be sanitized again before the garments are released back into physical or online settings.”
“We realized that the best service we can give to the textile community and provide to our industry is a technology that helps the consumer recover trust and come back to stores, and feel safe during their shopping experience,” Silla said.
So, Jeanologia converted its technology into Sanibox, and made it available as two separate modalities: a compact chamber for brick-and-mortar retailers that can fit inside a dressing room (it’s approximately three feet wide by five feet high and can hold up to 25 garments at a time), and as an automatic conveyer system for use in distribution centers that can handle higher quantities of apparel. Sanibox takes a mere eight minutes to desanitize materials and features a glass door, so users can see the “action” inside during the sanitization process.
Sanibox’s wide-ranging applications is what makes the technology so attractive. In addition to the aforementioned brick-and-mortar stores and distribution centers, the technology can also be used on apparel that was sent online to individuals, or [applied] to staff uniforms before use, the company said.
“Consumers will not buy again if they do not feel safe,” Silla explained. “We must unite all the parties involved in the industry to protect workers and consumers throughout the different stages of the production process by using sanitization.”
Sanibox has been certified by the CSIC and complies with AFNOR NFT 72-281, a French standard method that verifies the effectiveness of airborne surface disinfection systems and its utilized by the European Biocidal Product Regulation (BPR).
Prior to Sanibox, retailers could only achieve Sanibox’s level of sanitation via quarantine, which meant that garments would have to be isolated for a minimum of 72 hours or washed at 140 degrees each time they were in a public space.
“We’ve launched a product that will contribute to accelerating the recovery and generating consumer confidence, sanitization and sustainability will be the keys to the recovery of our industry. From the first moment, we studied the needs of the consumer after the coronavirus and of the textile industry in the short-term, and we set out to create a new technology for their future needs — putting people and the planet first.”
Its solution also sustainably protects the material itself, as the color, look and feel of the garment are maintained throughout the process, sans water or chemicals. Jeanologia said it has begun a proof of concept process with 47 retailers to test the product.
“We need to communicate, and create trust. The idea is to make shopping become an experience again. If shopping is not an experience, then the depression in consumption is going to be huge.”
“At the end of the day, we thought, this [need for sanitization] won’t last for one, two or three months. This will last for the next two or three years, or even longer. We think that sanitizing clothing after the fitting room will become like washing your hands,” Sillas told WWD.
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