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Kering Material Innovation Lab, Vienna Textile Lab and Albini_next join forces to support more sustainable dyeing

By Simone Preuss

Sep 7, 2022


Image: textile dyeing / Teona Swift via Pexels

Supported by Kering Material Innovation Lab, Albini_next, the think tank of Italian shirting fabrics manufacturer, the Albini Group, and Vienna Textile Lab have announced a collaboration project in which they will explore the possibility of employing microbial colours for dyeing applications on cotton and other natural fibres.

The objective is to develop a more sustainable dyeing method to colour textile products, thus adhering to an increasing demand for more sustainable production methods with less environmental impact, which are becoming increasingly important for retailers, brands and producers alike. 

“The renaissance of biodegradable, nontoxic and natural dyes has come as we see a growing number of sustainable fashion brands and consumer sentiment impacting the sector. We see ourselves as an ‘enabler’ for all these different sustainability goals. Working together with strong industry partners like Kering and Albini helps us to understand how our microbial dyes behave on different fabrics. We learn so much through our close cooperation and can therefore bring our manufacturing method better and faster to an industrial level,” commented Vienna Textile Lab CEO and founder Karin Fleck in an announcement.

Microbial colours for dyeing applications on cotton and other natural fibres

“Our innovation hub is the starting point for reaching innovation’s new frontiers, which is possible only by collaborating with realities such as Kering and Vienna Textile Lab. Together, we can reach incredibly high levels of innovation and sustainability, as we are doing with the transformation of microbial colours into new innovative dyes, a more sustainable alternative to conventional synthetic colours. It is a long process: it takes time and effort, but together we will achieve unprecedented results,” added Albini Group president Stefano Albini.

Albini_next was launched in 2019 as the Albini Group’s think tank. It is dedicated to accelerating ideas and the technological transfer between science and industry by combining and reworking input, ideas and solutions from different sectors. The aim is to imagine and then create new products and processes, “with a creative and unconventional approach that seeks unprecedented solutions for specific problems in the textile field”.

Kering’s Material Innovation Lab was created in 2013 and is both a library of sustainable fabrics and a driver of change within a complex supply chain. “Much of the Lab’s work is working with suppliers to encourage traceability and the sourcing of more sustainable and innovative materials with lower environmental impacts,” according to Kering. Part of the Lab’s role is also to verify the level of sustainability of a given fabric or innovative material.

Vienna Textile Lab (VTL) is an Austrian biotech startup working to produce microbial dyes from natural occurring microorganisms for textile applications across the textile and fashion industry. The aim is to create a competitive and more sustainable alternative to traditional synthetic dyes and pigments. “With circularity in mind, Vienna Textile Lab enables their customers to create more sustainable products that are less toxic while supporting biodiversity and zero waste, as they shift towards improving production practices,” according to VTL.

Albini Group
Vienna Textile Lab