Making Innovative Clothing Out of Plants
Made from wholly plant-based polyester fibers
Using plant resources to achieve performance thought possible only with synthetic fibers
General Manger, Fibers & Textiles Green Innovation & Life Innovation Business Department, Fibers & Textiles Division; General Manager on Special Assignment, Global Environment Business Strategic Planning Department, Toray Industries, Inc.
Note: job titles are as of June 2016.
As a manufacturer of synthetic fibers, the Toray Group develops innovative polymers and products made from biomass resources—plants instead of unsustainable petroleum—and is working to expand the business for these materials. As part of these efforts, the Group is especially focused on plant-based polyester fibers.
Polyester fibers are made by polymerizing ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid, which is then spun into synthetic fibers. The Group already supplies partly plant-based polyester fibers (with bio-based synthetic polymer content of approximately 30%) made from plant-based ethylene glycol. Now, the Group has succeeded in realizing the world’s first clothing made from wholly plant-based polyester fibers.
The wholly plant-based polyester fibers offer the same high performance as conventional synthetic fibers—sweat absorption, fast drying, water repellant, and waterproof-breathable. The cutting-edge synthetic fibers are the first of their kind to be made from sustainable biomass resources.
The Group is currently in the pre-marketing phases for the wholly plant-based polyester fibers, targeting advanced eco-conscious companies and organizations. We will eventually expand the applications to sports apparel, automotive interior parts, and the fashion world, aiming to launch mass production around 2020.
The environment has long been a point of emphasis at ASICS. Both our company and Toray are sponsors of the Tokyo Marathon. In this context, Toray reached out to us at just the right time about using their ecodear™ plant-based synthetic fiber. We first used it in the 2014 Tokyo Marathon for the volunteer and staff clothing, which generated very positive feedback from both ASICS employees and people outside the company.
We look forward to continuing our partnership with Toray and to future mass production of their wholly plant-based polyester, as well as to development of even more eco-conscious materials.
General Manager, CSR Sustainability Department, Global Legal & Compliance Division, ASICS Corporation