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Infinited Fiber Ending the Cycle of Fashion Waste and Poverty

Fashion Waste and Poverty
Infinited Fiber is a Finnish start-up company developing new clothing from old materials. The impact of waste management for textiles is more than $1 billion annually, and garment workers globally receive, at best, mediocre pay. Infinited Fiber strives to create longer-lasting clothes to reduce textile waste while paying garment workers appropriate salaries. Longer-lasting clothes will be more cost-effective for the individual and help with the more significant issues of fashion waste management and poverty, including the ever-rising costs in the clothing market.

Poverty in the Fashion Industry

Fashion waste and poverty are significant problems in the fashion industry that Infinited Fiber is tackling. Garment workers are incredibly subject to poverty while working in the fashion industry. There is an overwhelming wage gap between garment workers and their company’s CEOs. The Industry We Want, an organization fighting for fair wages for garment workers, found significant wage gaps between the workers’ earnings and what they should be earning. Globally, garment workers earn only about 55% of the wages they need to have a living wage.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the treatment of garment workers worsened. Many garment workers went extended periods without receiving any compensation. When in-person shopping stopped globally, many factories paused operations, leaving the garment workers destitute. In those factories, garment workers deal with poverty regularly due to the economic status of their home countries. Still, the stopped income left them facing starvation. Fashion waste and poverty do not end with garment workers. Unfortunately, their poverty and economic struggles are a large portion of why Infinited Fiber seeks new techniques and practices in the fashion industry.

Devastating Fashion Waste and “Fast Fashion”

“Fast fashion” is cheap, easy-to-produce fashion that often goes to waste quickly. Fast fashion is a sector of the fashion market that employs exceptionally cheap labor. This form of fashion marketing took over the global-fashion market when large-name brands like Zara and Forever 21 began expanding business operations. Fast fashion proved to be a profitable market, causing fashion industry markets to see substantial increases in generated income. Despite the promising outlook of fast fashion, due to the quick turnaround in products, the industry will likely see decreases of up to $52 billion in profits due to waste management and textile losses. Management for textile waste costs up to $100 billion annually.

One of the methods for waste management that will also cut costs globally for waste management is transforming the clothing production process. There are calls to improve recycling methods for textiles, beginning with policymakers. Textile recycling is an expanding market for investment in the fashion industry. As of 2021, the textile recycling industry had a value of $4.5 billion in 2021, with expectations for fast economic growth. Thankfully, textile recycling also reduces the costs of dealing with textile waste management. While textile waste costs continue to mount and landfills fill up rapidly, textile recycling benefits all involved by taking the wasted textiles, cleaning them and repurposing them workers create a new product. The repurposed textiles save money in landfill and textile waste management and create new job opportunities as textile recycling grows in popularity. Infinite Fiber’s goal is to end the cycle of fashion waste and poverty through textile recycling.

Infinited Fiber’s Goal to Ending the Cycle of Fashion Poverty

The company’s founder and CEO, Petri Alava, hopes the clothing the company produces will be low-cost for the consumer, long-lasting and reduce textile waste. The company creates “circular fibers” by taking old materials, cleaning them and breaking them down to a polymeric level. The process requires fewer chemicals and leaves less waste than the typical processes of fast fashion.

Infinite Fiber is partnering with large-name brands, such as H&M and Inditex. Inditex is Zara’s parent company and is known not to pay its garment workers a fair wage. As the company is expanding and creating its partnerships, Infinite Fiber is receiving significant investment opportunities that are proving beneficial to the company, and its workers, while spreading its influence of eliminating fashion waste and poverty.

Infinite Fiber recently signed a new deal to develop a partnership with Patagonia, a U.S.-based clothing retailer with operations worldwide. One of the keys to operating with Patagonia is that Patagonia implements safety precautions that many garment factories do not. Patagonia also pays its garment workers fair wages. The connections Infinited Fiber makes with companies like Patagonia prove its commitment to a “Fair Trade” life with improved wages and social and economic improvement is on the horizon globally.

Infinite Fiber’s work creating new textiles is becoming a global operation, presenting job opportunities everywhere the company reaches. In Brazil, Infinite fiber’s work to erase fashion waste and poverty involves taking wood pulp and turning it into new textiles. The company’s goal is to slash fashion waste and poverty that result from waste. Infinite Fiber is dedicated to improving the quality of the fashion industry, which comes with living wages for all workers, minimal waste, and job opportunities worldwide.

– Clara Mulvihill
Photo: Flickr