In 2016, the Italian textile chemical company Officina+39 invented Recycrom™ — color powders made from 100% textile waste. Almost immediately, Recycrom was being rated as one of the biggest innovations in dyestuffs in the last 50 years. In 2017, the clean dye won the Keyhouse Hightex Award at Munich Fabric Start 2017, and was applied to the first of two capsule collections by Italian high-street retailer OVS. As interest in this start-up technology increases exponentially, Recycrom is now set for truly mass volumes.
Turning waste into colors Recycrom is a full range of colored powders made by recycling textile fibers from used clothing and manufacturing waste. Through an innovative and patented process, these fibers are upcycled into a remarkably uniform and solid powder that can be used as a pigment dye for fabrics and garments made of cotton, wool, nylon or any natural and most artificial fibers and blends. Recycrom can also be applied using various methods: exhaustion dyeing, printing and spray, with coating now under development.
The colors come out with a washed-out and natural look — making it very on-trend. Brands can also collaborate with the inventors Officina+39 to make custom dyes from their own scraps and textile waste.
Upcycling meets scaling After winning the Keyhouse Hightex Award at Munich Fabric Start 2017, Recycrom had the attention of the industry. Officina+39 began collaborating with Italian high-street retailer OVS, which has so far resulted in two capsule collections. Currently the company is talking to many other interested brands and retailers for a whole range of collaborations.
The story behind Recycrom’s development is featured in the newly released Book of Denim, Volume 2 (Amsterdam Publishing Int, 2018). Officina+39’s CEO Andrea Venier will also be a featured speaker, along with other supply chain disrupters, during the denim industry innovations summit Kingpins Transformers in Amsterdam on October 23, 2018.
Changing the game Based in the traditional high-end textiles town of Biella, one of the most important textile regions in Italy, the textile chemical company was founded by Andrea’s father, Roberto Venier, in 1992. “The long-term goal for Officina+39’s R&D center was always to invent a game-changer — one that could impact the whole textiles industry,” says Andrea. “And in the end, we found our inspiration very close to home.”
With its long tradition in textiles, Biella also has a long tradition in recycling. “One day I was visiting an old friend, Simone Gaslini, who has a spinning unit for regenerated yarn. He was showing me how he selected and sorted scraps and I suddenly noticed some powder coming from his machines,” recalls Andrea. “I took some and discovered that I could use this powder as a pigment, but a very poor one due to all the inconsistencies.” Hence, the Officina+39 R&D team set out to make a perfectly uniform solid powder — a huge challenge due to the famously stretchy nature of textiles. Eighteen months later, they came up with an eight-step process involving various machines that could transform fibers into powder.