PYRATEX® is an R&D company and textile supplier, headquartered in Madrid, that uses natural resources to improve the aesthetic qualities, functionality, and sustainability of knit textiles. The company, established in 2014 and run by Y-generation women, develops and distributes eco-friendly and high-quality PYRATEX® fabrics.
The company's goal is to replace synthetic, functional textiles with natural, environmentally friendly alternatives. They collaborate with a wide range of companies, including athletics, ready-to-wear, undergarments, and children's clothing.
PYRATEX® textiles are high-end knits made from vegetal, upcycled, or biodegradable fibers. All PYRATEX® are knit in Europe, improving their capacity to control and have full traceability of their manufacturing chain and processes from start to finish, which helps in minimizing the distance between each step and therefore reduces CO2 emissions.
Our recent interaction with Regina Polanco, Founder & CEO of PYRATEX®, reveals information on various features of their sustainable smart fabrics and how they ensure sustainability and traceability in their production supply chain.
YnFx: What is the inspiration behind the brand - PYRATEX®?
Polanco: PYRATEX® was born with the idea to transform the fashion industry and move away from synthetic materials.
A few years back, I realized I could only find either functional yet synthetic fabrics in the market or natural ones with no functionality.
Because of this, I undertook 3 years of R&D which led to the launch of our first PYRATEX® fabrics: functional knit fabrics made with innovative, natural fibers, which would be better for the wearer and the planet.
YnFx: What makes PYRATEX® fabrics unique and sets them apart from other smart fabrics?
Polanco: Our PYRATEX® are unique because they blend European tradition and innovation. Receiving the EU's Horizon2020 grant allowed us to be recognized as textile pioneers at the forefront of the fashion industry's transformation.
Our fabrics stand out because their functionality comes from the incredible natural fibers themselves, such as seaweed's free radical elimination, or bamboo's antibacterial properties.
However, aside from offering our usual PYRATEX® range, our core is R&D: any brand can develop a fabric with us to specifically address their needs in terms of composition, properties, or structure. This happened for example with Phillip Lim a few months ago: they needed a natural mesh, and we developed PYRATEX® cosmetic VII for them, blending seaweed and bamboo.
Communicating the story and technology behind innovative materials can be difficult, and supporting our clients in communicating the PYRATEX® ingredient really sets us apart. This ensures the end consumer can clearly understand the fabric's innovation, and why the garments they are buying are so special.
YnFx: What are the different materials that you use in manufacturing sustainable fabrics and how do you source various raw materials?
Polanco: We use a wide variety of natural fibers, such as kapok, nettle, or banana tree. We look for regenerative plants with properties such as antibacterial or UV protection, always testing the final fabric with independent textile institutes to make sure the plant's properties are still there.
Managing the entire process, from the innovative fiber to the final fabric, allows us to have the highest traceability of our fabric formulas.
We also know that the transition from synthetic to natural can be difficult for some brands, as natural fabrics may have different technical characteristics. For this reason, we introduced our PYRATEX® active range: made from recycled synthetic materials, it is the perfect stepping stone for those looking to move forward in their responsibility journey.
YnFx: What are the various initiatives that you take to ensure sustainability and traceability in your production chain and techniques?
Polanco: The first thing to do when looking for sustainable materials, is to work with third-party certifications, such as Bluesign, OekoTex, or GOTS. These ensure the material is traceable and has been produced respecting the health of our planet.
Maintaining a close relationship with every step that makes up our production chain also means we can use responsible techniques, such as reactive dyes which use less water and energy, recycling the water used in the process, or finishing our fabrics with water vapor instead of harmful chemicals.
YnFx: What are the current major markets (geographically) for PYRATEX® and how can various brands collaborate with you?
Polanco: Our fabrics are available worldwide. We currently produce them in Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Mexico for our American clients. However, our goal is to produce locally for our clients worldwide, so this is just the beginning!
We work with Ready to Wear, Sportswear, Underwear, even Kidswear brands of different sizes, so any brand who would like to collaborate with us can simply reach out to [email protected] We would love to hear about your collection!
YnFx: What do you think are some of the biggest obstacles faced in making smart and sustainable fabrics affordable?
Polanco: Just as with any innovative product, one of the biggest obstacles is demand. When introducing a new fiber in our range, we always focus on it being scalable, so that when the demand increases, we can quickly adapt to it and make it more affordable.
This happened to us from the beginning, and thanks to the growing demand for innovative and eco-friendly materials, our fabrics are much more affordable now than they were when we first started.
YnFx: What’s next for PYRATEX®?
Polanco: Natural, functional garments make you feel good when wearing them. We are convinced they will replace those we're wearing now, and become the norm in our wardrobes.
Our goal is to keep innovating to expand our range and increase our collaborations, so there comes a time when all of us may wear many different plants, which take care of us in many different ways.
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