How are you gearing up to join the Helsinki Fashion Week, which is the first ever 3D fashion week supposed to take place from July 27 to August 1, 2020?
We are mentoring two designers, Patrick McDowell (UK) and Kohji Taisuke (Japan), who will use Spinnova as part of their collections. So far this seems like a great collaboration despite it being all digital. The designers have now received our material, and at the end of July we will see what they have made of it. We are humbled and happy about their open-minded attitude towards a fibre that's still a work in progress, not that these are the first demos that we have had made.
You showcased the world's first wheat-straw based clothing in partnership with Fortum earlier last year. Any further innovation on that?
The wheat straw development is very exciting too, and brands as well as consumers seem to be very enthusiastic about it. However, the industrial development of this depends on the raw material suppliers, and we cannot comment this on behalf of third parties.
What's on the cards next? What new partnerships in pipeline?
We hope to be able to shed some more light on our commercial factory plans soon, and also are eager to announce new brand partnerships, too, but not quite yet.
How has covid-19 played out in your country? How has it impacted businesses?
Finland did not suffer from the pandemic as much as some other countries as we took a 'stay at home' approach early on. Finns are very good at doing what the government tells them. Of course businesses, especially small ones were affected, for example the service industry. But I think the real economic impact will be seen later on.
How has the lockdown impacted your company? What are the immediate concerns?
We didn't have a full lockdown, as the pandemic situation in our area was so good. A majority of our staff worked normally, of course paying extra attention to hygiene and distancing. All of our brand partners were affected, as they are in the textile and retail industry; however the pandemic has so far had very little effect on our collaborations. It's been humbling to see we have chosen brand partners who are so committed to a more sustainable future that they don't let a pandemic stop that development.
By when are you expecting the revival process to commence in Finland?
We are already out of the contingency situation and almost back to normal, so the revival process is already ongoing.
How has the sourcing of raw materials been affected by the lockdown?
So far not in any way. The only effects we had were in our R&D supply chain, i.e. yarn and fabric makers, but those were minor delays.
Based on consumer preferences, how are businesses going to get altered now? What role will technology have in it?
We believe that the pandemic has made us take a pause and think about the environment, climate crisis and how our lifestyles as consumers and companies affect that. Hopefully the textile industry will take a step towards a more sustainable future, and new technologies like our sustainable fibre tech will potentially be very disruptive.
This article was first published in the August 2020 edition of the print magazine.
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