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Ralph Lauren and Dow partner for open-source sustainable dyeing manual

By Rachel Douglass

Oct 14, 2021

Business

Image: Ralph Lauren

Premium fashion house Ralph Lauren has released a detailed manual, in partnership with Dow, centred around the sustainable production of dyed cotton using the Ecofast Pure sustainable textile treatment.

The open-sourced manual hopes to encourage the industry to implement the eco-friendly dyeing process into further supply chains, with a step-by-step guide on how to use the Dow-produced Ecofast Pure system. The cotton treatment, first used by Ralph Lauren, was developed in response to the over-use of water in dyeing, with the company stating that the treatment utilises 90 percent fewer process chemicals, 50 percent less water and 40 percent less energy.

“As fashion supply chains look to recover from impacts of the pandemic, there is a critical window to build more sustainable practices into production processes,” explained Mary Draves, chief sustainability at Dow, in a release. “By collaborating today to scale a less resource-intensive dyeing process, we can help address pressing challenges, like climate change and water resiliency, in the long term.”

Ralph Lauren has already taken steps towards expanding within this area, with the introduction of its Color on Demand platform in March this year. The multi-phase system looks to create a scalable zero wastewater cotton dyeing process by bringing together four sustainable innovators, including Dow.

The premium brand has further stated it is aiming to use the platform to dye over 80 percent of its solid cotton products, by 2025.

“If we want to protect our planet for the next generation, we have to create scalable solutions that have never been considered before,” said Halide Alagöz, Ralph Lauren’s chief product and sustainability officer. “This requires deep and sometimes unexpected collaboration and a willingness to break down the barriers of exclusivity.

“We are proud to have partnered with Dow on this innovation and to share it openly with our industry, with the hope that it will help transform how we preserve and use water in our global supply chain.”

Ecofast Pure was first introduced into Ralph Lauren’s product categories as part of its Team USA collection for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Next to its commitment to water usage awareness, the company has also carried out additional sustainable initiatives through the creation of other eco-conscious collections, including within its recent Polo Ralph Lauren line for the US Open Tennis Championships. Items in the capsule were manufactured using recycled plastic bottles and tennis ball cans collected by the fashion house at the previous competition, with styles available for both players and staff alike.