DuPont Sorona

At last, sustainability is becoming fashionable. As brands and retailers seek ways to adopt sustainable products, practices and materials, they are now looking down to the minutest details: eco-friendly polymers that is being used in intimate apparel, denim and ready-to-wear.

Companies such as DuPont Industrial Biosciences, a fiber and polymers firm, developed a sustainable polymer called Sorona, a product utilized by yarn spinners, manufacturers, designers and consumers worldwide for its “eco-efficiency” and exceptionally soft hand. Differentiated by its unique stretch recovery and buttery soft texture, Sorona is becoming a popular choice for companies pivoting toward greener alternatives.

Thirty-seven percent of Sorona is made using annually renewable plant-based ingredients via an “eco-efficient biological process,” the company said. Sorona uses 30 percent less energy and 63 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to Nylon 6. And compared to Nylon 66, its process uses 40 percent less energy and releases 56 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions, all according to the firm. Additional attributes include quick dry, durability, stain resistance, color vibrancy, shape retention, wicking properties and easy care.

Sorona’s versatility makes it applicable for ready-to-wear, denim, intimate apparel, swimwear, yogawear, performancewear and insulation. And Sorona blends well with cotton, wool, bamboo, rayon and viscose, among other materials. The polymer is used by denim brands such as Seven for All Mankind, Paige and Levi’s, as well as The North Face, EMS, L.L.Bean, Bonobos and prAna.

DuPont partnered with Unifi in Oct. 2017 to create a high-performing “renewably sourced” garment insulation for cold-weather products with Dupont’s Sorona polymer and Unifi’s Repreve, a fiber made of recycled materials, which includes plastic water bottles.

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Photograph courtesy of DuPont Sorona. 

Michael Saltzberg, global business director for Biomaterials at DuPont, said of the collaboration, “The combination of Sorona and Repreve provides brands the opportunity to use a high-performance, durable insulation that dries quickly and keeps its shape even after washing. The new insulation’s unique warmth and durability will bring customers streamlined outerwear, made from eco-friendly materials, while maintaining maximum warmth and breathability.”

Ning Hongjun, president of Unifi Asia-Pacific, added that “This collaboration will give customers the freedom to choose a new type of garment insulation — one that is better for the environment without compromising performance. With our expertise in recycled polyester staple fiber and DuPont Industrial Biosciences’ industry-leading Sorona, we look forward to seeing this breakthrough technology be widely adopted by leading brands.”

And also in late 2017, DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products, a joint venture between DuPont and Tate & Lyle, a renewable food and industrial ingredients company, partnered with Invista’s Cordura brand to create a series of eco-efficient textile solutions, featuring materials with long-lasting abrasion resistance and bio-based Susterra propanediol coatings and membranes.

Renee Henze, the global marketing director at Dupont Industrial Biosciences, said that “Together, we are creating a legacy of innovative, eco-efficient textile solutions. DuPont Sorona fibers will be an excellent addition to the Cordura and Susterra collaboration. Sorona fibers define softness, with exceptional resilience and is built on the same bio-based science as Susterra propanediol, making it a natural extension.”

The companies unveiled its latest product, a new soft-shell fabric development that integrates the Sorona polymer, at the A+A Show in Düsseldorf, Germany.

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