Lululemon Athletica Inc. has introduced what it calls its first garments made of sustainably sourced, plant-based nylon, in an effort to attract customers looking for more environmentally friendly clothes.
The revolutionary material was introduced on April 18th. According to the Vancouver-based company, it was created by "fermenting plant sugars into the chemical building blocks used to form nylon."
The products are the outcome of their partnership with Genomatica, Inc., a supplier of eco-friendly materials, in which Lululemon has held ownership since 2021.
Together, the companies used biotechnology and fermentation to turn plant-based resources into the constituent parts of nylon.
Nylon is frequently produced using petroleum that is derived from fossil fuels like coal, natural gas, or crude oil, which are known to cause global warming. Instead, biologically based microbes will be used to create the new shirts from Lululemon.
Lululemon's first two plant-based nylon products are the "Swiftly Tech Short Sleeve" shirt for women and the "Nylon Metal Vent" shirt for men.
Esther Speck, senior VP of global sustainable business and impact at Lululemon, said that they've been working on plant-based nylon with their partner Geno for almost two years.
The price of the shirts, which is US $ 78 for men and US $ 68 for women, is similar to that of its traditional fabric-made equivalents. The short-sleeved shirts are made of 50% nylon derived from biological sources, 40% recycled polyester, and 3% elastane. Plants are used to make 30% of the elastane component.
Christophe Schilling, the founder of Geno, said that today marks a major achievement: Biotechnology has successfully fermented plant sugars into the chemical building blocks used to make nylon, bringing to life a renewable, plant-based nylon.
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