Published 8 years ago.
About a 4 minute read.
If washing and drying clothes is a major culprit in the environmental waste wars, what if there were more natural fabrics that repelled stains, resulting in fewer washings? One such solution, introduced by Kelby & Co. at the Fashion Tech Lab demo day this summer, is being rolled out in the market next month.
Dropel fuses hydrophobic (water- & stain-repellent) nanotechnology with cotton fibers to create enhanced cotton that resists stains as stubborn as soy sauce and red wine. Spills can be rinsed off with a squirt of water.
Founders Sim Gulati and Brad Feinstein are working with cotton now, though they say they have the capabilities to blend all types of natural fabrics such as cashmere, silk, linen and wool.
“Maintaining natural feel (softness), breathability, draping and all other fabric characteristics are our differentiators,” Feinstein says.
He says Dropel is working in the types of innovation usually reserved for polyester.
“We want to move away from synthetics towards a world where we can use natural textiles with added benefits that require less energy and resources in the process,” he says. ”We've used synthetics for decades and we believe we're at a point now where we no longer need to resort to petroleum-based fabrics for innovative properties. We provide a sustainable alternative.”
The proprietary development process was designed in a research lab and adapted for mass-scale manufacturing. Feinstein and Gilutai have filed their first patent application for Dropel.
While the company is currently working with a handful of luxury menswear ecommerce companies, the team sees the fabric as being suitable for women's and children's wear, home furnishings, and uniforms. Dropel Fabrics is expected to come to market soon – the company has begun trials with several brands for Spring and Summer 2016, with some doing full garment manufacturing with the company and others sourcing the fabric. Regardless, the company says brands like that the innovative fabric with embedded technology is a purchase consumers can feel good about.
“We feel sustainability and environmental care are elements of our value proposition,” Feinstein says.
Dropel is the latest in a spate of recent fabric innovations aimed at decreasing the environmental impact of textile production and use:
Published Oct 27, 2015 2pm EDT / 11am PDT / 6pm GMT / 7pm CET