Innovation keeps revolutionizing the fashion world, especially the technical clothing one. The main desire of this sector is to reduce its environmental impact, that is why brands are constantly innovating. I Love Ski had spoke with Julien Durant, CEO of Picture Organic Clothing, a brand that uses a fabric partially derived from a plant: sugar cane oil or castor oil. Would it be possible to wear a ski jacket or technical pants made of sugar cane? Find out everything!
I Love Ski: The main goal of Picture Organic Clothing is to replace the conventional formula of MEG derived from petroleum, using the bio-sourcing technique. Can you explain what it is?
Julien Durant: the main cause of climate change is the combustion of fossil fuels (gas, oil, coal). Precisely, this energy is the one which helps to produce a garment or a raw material comes from these 3 fuels. We burn them for energy and transform them into materials. In Picture, we told ourselves that if 95% of climate change is linked to these fossil fuels combustion, we have to get rid of them as much as possible.
At the beginning of our collections, we chose to use recycled materials, even though the latter were initially derived from fossil fuels. Recycled materials allow us not to use conventional polyester. There is no step of extraction and transformation of the raw material.
Regarding our “lifestyle” collection, we mainly use natural materials that do not use chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides.
With regard to technical clothing, we wonder what would be the evolution beyond recycled polyester to completely come out of a material of petroleum origin. Besides, we are constantly looking for plant origin materials. Furthermore, these crops should not contribute to deforestation or intensive GMO agriculture.
I Love Ski: Can you explain us how your biological origin products are made with sugar cane or castor oil?
Julien Durant: There are different castor oil transformation processes that can be found. In particular we can find out this kind of process in the creation of perfume bottles. Castor oil is a plant that grows like quackgrass and does not need cultivation, so we collect the fruits with which we can make a nylon. It is a very interesting plant for the industry because it is not edible.
Bisedes, there are plants like sugar cane or beets that contain sugar. These are food crops but, currently, waste is used for two purposes: on the one hand, to produce biogas that will generate energy; and, on the other hand to produce biopolymers, that is, the polymer that is used to create fibers. The industrial process of the Picture Organic Clothing brand is based on this, but there are other solutions.
CURRENTLY, OUR PRODUCTS ARE A MIX BETWEEN BIOURCED FABRIC AND RECYCLED FABRIC.
I Love Ski: What are the obstacles to biological sources development?
Julien Durant: Biological sources are still used marginally in the global textile industry. In fact, we are facing a price problem because few manufacturers use it and the product is still expensive. That’s why we still mix it with recycled material.
OUR MID-TERM GOAL IS TO REACH 100% BIOLOGICAL BASED TO REALLY GET OUT OF THIS DEPENDENCE ON FOSSIL ENERGY AND EVEN FROM THIS DEPENDENCE ON RECYCLED PRODUCTS.
In the medium term, we are convinced that these are materials of the future. If the market consumes more and more of these materials, the impact of our products will be reduced and we will be able to distribute the products at a reasonable cost.
It should not be forgotten why Picture Organic Clothing brand initially worked. We wanted to sell organic at “non-organic” price. This means making some concessions, finding balances for the product to generate a margin to pay both retailers, employees, product developments, and the price is acceptable to the consumer. When we launched this concept in 2008, the costumer was ready to make this decision, but it shouldn’t cost a single euro further.
Attitudes have changed a lot in these 12 years. We choose to squeeze our margins, we avoid marketing campaigns with renowned athletes to promote above all the intrinsic value of the product rather than marketing around the brand.
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