Textile News

Case Study

Takihyo Co., Ltd. and Iris Textiles, S.A.

What impact has your work?

Our textiles are 100 percent natural, free of synthetics, chemicals, and dyes. We have created a fully closed-loop industrial mill, among the first worldwide. Circular economies are crucial to fight back the causes of environmental destruction. In one year alone, we upcycled 834,474 pounds of discarded materials. Saving 7.57 billion liters of water, 800,000 pounds of toxic chemicals and 7.57 million pounds of carbon dioxide prevented from entering the atmosphere. Upcycling reduces the use of our natural resources and the consumption and dependence of new virgin raw material exponentially. More than a mechanical process, it is a visionary journey to lead us in changing our practices, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use.

How does your process differ?

Recycled fiber is challenging to spin due to its short length. Most upcyclers today add synthetic fibers during their process to be able to spin these into yarns. Our upcycling process is synthetic-free, making our yarns and fabrics compostable and avoiding microplastics to enter our oceans and freshwater resources. Our own waste from production is donated to coffee farmers to use as compost to grow specialty coffee in the highlands of Guatemala, proudly operating under a circular economy with zero waste – transformation and renewal. Our process saves up to 20,000 liters of water for every kilogram of upcycled material we use. It is also a dye-free process, where all colors come directly from the original color of the waste collected.

What do you think are the biggest challenges in the sector?

The challenges are endless – materials, waste, consumption, education, design, and again – the age-old narrative that we must sacrifice our ecosystem to live pleasurably. But just as we have all these challenges, we see a tremendous opportunity to explore and manifest new platforms. We must not forget that throughout history, civilizations who have failed have abused the system that sustained them. But we must not forget either that cultures who have thrived have withstood significant challenges, and with creative collaboration and resiliency came earthshaking changes for the better. Humanity has a sustainable design encoded genetically in our bodies. We have the power to change our course in time. We hope we live to see it.

What advice do you have for others?

The industry is in desperate need of innovation. As creatives and industrialists – we must question our vision and perspective of what is happening around us. We created a system that puts out massive amounts of material – therefore, we must create a parallel system that can recover and reprocess it. If we want humanity to move forward, we must build ideas that contribute to a collective economy. We must encourage upcycling in our businesses, our homes, and our daily life activity. The world cannot continue absorbing our waste. We do not need more stuff – we need new proposals, new systems, new ways of life. In today’s reality, upcycling is the epitome of freshness – it has the power to make us return to our natural state of conscious behavior.

What achievement(s) are you most proud of?

Our grandfather, Joseph Peter – “Abale” – came to Guatemala from Poland after WWII, he was a Holocaust survivor. He carried an infinite amount of mourning during his entire life, but above this, he was a dreamer. He passed on to us the appreciation for the simple and ethereal pleasures of life, the results of hard work, the solidness of family, and the beauty of being alive in this chaotic world. He was everything – the boldest and warmest. He taught us all we ever need to know—mastering the art of adapting to change and springing from it. His character remains as the fundamental law of our everyday work. We live for the rebirth of our grandfather’s work, polishing and elevating sustainable textile production, design, and development.

Joanna Engelberg,

Head of Business Development,

Takihyo Co., Ltd. and Iris Textiles, S.A.

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