Natural fibre based high performance fashion materials - Innovation @ E2Expo
Natural Fiber Welding Inc., is a sustainable, material science startup company which develops scalable technologies based on the sustainable use of plants and natural fibers to create durable goods and textiles. The company has launched two high performance product technology brands - mirum - a vegan leather and clarus - a fabric made of recycled and organic cotton. The technologies can be used in the manufacture of handbags, apparel, footwear, automotive and more. The proprietary, closed-loop chemistry process involves imparting physical changes to fibers. Intrinsically safe chemistries are used to open fibers at the molecular level and fuse them together. Throughout the process, all chemistries are continuously reclaimed and reused, making this closed-loop process extremely efficient.
The company uses a circular model to manufacture mirum and clarus. Its technology helps in leveraging the durability of natural fibres to match the properties of synthetic materials. This also include enhancing cotton to exhibit properties of polyester with added antimicrobial properties for clinical use as well as leveraging hemp to be used as low-cost building material. Further, its clarus technology helps in revitalizing recycled cotton yarns while mirum made from natural rubber helps in displacing petro based polyurethane materials.
Dr. Luke Haverhals, the founder of NFW and a Ph.D with chemistry background, received Department of Defense funding to research on natural fibre based sustainable and durable materials. This enabled him and his team to develop new manufacturing technologies, while also starting the company. The startup has 20 full-time personnel with extensive knowledge in sustainable agriculture and materials technology.
The company has raised US$13 million investment from Ralph Lauren Corp. which will help scale its patented process of producing high performance apparel from natural and sustainable materials. The company has also worked with Porsche to produce a door cover for the automaker’s Taycan model, using its vegan leather substitute in early 2020. The company holds two patents for its mirum - vegan leather and clarus - fabric produced with yarn made of recycled and organic virgin cotton. The company has also been selected for Fashion For Good’s Scaling Programme