News | October 13, 2021

Ralph Lauren And Dow Open-Source New Process To Transform How The Fashion Industry Dyes Cotton

Companies jointly launch a manual to open-source an improved dyeing process that significantly reduces the amount of water, chemicals and energy required for cotton dyeing to accelerate change in the industry

Dow and Ralph Lauren Corporation today released a detailed manual on how to dye cotton more sustainably and more effectively than ever before using ECOFAST Pure Sustainable Textile Treatment. With this manual, Ralph Lauren and Dow are opensourcing this improved dyeing process to encourage adoption in the textile industry and help standardize a more sustainable and efficient cotton dyeing system for positive environmental impact.

The co-developed, step-by-step manual details how to use ECOFAST Pure, a cationic cotton treatment developed by Dow, with existing dyeing equipment. Ralph Lauren, the first brand to use ECOFAST Pure, partnered with Dow to optimize and implement the technology in its cotton dyeing operations as part of its new Color on Demand platform.

Conventional fabric dyeing processes require trillions of liters of water each year, generating roughly 20% of the world’s wastewater.1,2 Pretreating fabric with ECOFAST Pure helps significantly reduce the amount of water, chemicals and energy needed to color cotton, by enabling up to 90% less process chemicals, 50% less water, 50% less dyes and 40% less energy without sacrificing color or quality3.

“As fashion supply chains look to recover from impacts of the pandemic, there is a critical window to build more sustainable practices into production processes,” said Mary Draves, Chief Sustainability Officer at Dow. “By collaborating today to scale a less resource intensive dyeing process, we can help address pressing challenges, like climate change and water resiliency, in the long-term.”

“If we want to protect our planet for the next generation, we have to create scalable solutions that have never been considered before. This requires deep and sometimes unexpected collaboration and a willingness to break down the barriers of exclusivity,” said Halide Alagöz, Chief Product & Sustainability Officer at Ralph Lauren. “We are proud to have partnered with Dow on this innovation and to share it openly with our industry, with the hope that it will help transform how we preserve and use water in our global supply chains.”

Ralph Lauren began integrating Color on Demand into its supply chain earlier this year and first launched product utilizing ECOFAST Pure as part of the Company’s Team USA collection for the Olympic & Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. Designed to help address water scarcity and pollution caused by cotton dyeing, Color on Demand is a multiphased system with a clear ambition to deliver over time the world’s first scalable zero wastewater cotton dyeing system. By 2025, the brand aims to use the Color on Demand platform to dye more than 80% of its solid cotton products.

Download the manual and learn more about ECOFAST Pure here (https://www.dow.com/en-us/brand/ecofast.html?cid=WEB:RalphLaurenMedia:11385:202110_DIS_NA_PRO_ECOFASTProcessManual:TLN:NA:na:na:na:na:na:DIS:PRO:f18bcdeb-f41f-ec11-b6e6-0022482467d0).

Drew, Deborah and Genevieve Yehounme. “The Apparel Industry’s Environmental Impact in 6 Graphics.” World Resources Institute, July 5, 2017. https://www.wri.org/blog/2017/07/apparel-industrys-environmental-impact-6-graphics

Rep. A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning Fashion’s Future. Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Circular Fibres Initiative, 2017. https://ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/a-new-textiles-economys

A full third-party reviewed and validated life cycle assessment is available by request at www.dow.com/ecofast

Source: Ralph Lauren Corporation