A material science company and a fashion label are working together to create sustainable apparel. With the help of 3D-printing technology, the two companies are developing compostable apparel to battle the issues surrounding the environmental impact in the fashion industry.

Balena and Variable Seams partner to create compostable apparel; Photo: Balena

Worlds Collide

Fashion and sustainability partnerships are trending. The material science company Balena helped create compostable shoes and shoe soles. and their collaboration with fashion label Variable Seams takes their efforts to another level. The Flextex3D which enables the 3D printing of fabrics and garments. Both companies believe the capability of 3D printing these materials reduces the environmental impact. CEO & Founder at Balena David Roubach said, “With FlexTex3D, we’re introducing a disruptive solution to the challenges of overproduction and environmental waste in the fashion industry.”

Clothing made from FlexTex3D technology is compostable and sustainable; Photo: Balena


Problem and Solution

According to Balena, there is a problem with overproduction in the fashion industry. With approximately 40% of garments going unsold annually, that amounts to 60 billion pieces of apparel unused. Using unsustainable materials, like polyester and nylon, worsens the problem because unused pieces of clothing made of these materials end up in landfills. As the amount of clothing going to landfills increases, so does the amount of fossil oil-based garments in landfills. Balena and Variable Seams want to revolutionize future materials that help develop a circular business model.

Balena and Variable Seams collaborate to create recyclable clothing; Photo: Balena

According to a survey, 78% of brands want to reduce overproduction. The solution and challenge is similar: companies need new ways to create a circular life for clothing and materials. Through this partnership, Balena and Variable Seams believe they can do this. 3D printing the clothes means each garment can be personalized and produced on demand. But, finding the right materials for this endeavor is somewhat tricky.

To help solve this problem, Balena presents the FlexTex3D technology: a biobased, compostable, and recyclable thermoplastic material. The material, labeled as revolutionary, combines sustainability and fashion. Moreover, it introduces a circular life for clothing materials that address the needs of the industry. Roubach said,  “This advanced material not only offers exceptional performance but also aligns with our commitment to sustainability, contributing significantly to the promotion of a circular fashion economy.”