“Monomaterials” might be a word you’ll be hearing more of in product design. The advantage of textiles that are made from 100% of any single material is that they are more likely to be recycled at the end of their life. However, there are usually very good reasons for mixing materials (and especially mixing the natural and the man-made), from increased durability to a better handle, so the challenge is to create fabrics that deliver the same feel and performance in a product where only one material has been used.
German brand Kinnasand, part of Kvadrat’s stable of brands, set out to solve this conundrum with its latest collection. Monotypes. The fabrics are only made from 100% hemp, wool, recycled polyester made from post-consumer plastic bottles (pictured above) and Lyocell (made from cellulose fibre) – with Kinnasand undertaking considerable research and development to make sure that each is the best best quality it can be. “We wanted to focus on the essence and the beauty that lies in each material, but also focus on on the most circular and modular approach, using responsible production methods,” says the company’s creative director Isa Glink. “The simpler and purer you get, the more complex it is in terms of performance.” Instead of chemical finishing treatments, natural alternatives have been used, including steam, tumbling and exposing the textiles to big changes in temperature.
Pictured above from Monotypes are ‘Highland’ a fluid, almost silky wool that borrows its finishing technique from luxury fashion; ‘Repeat’, made from recycled polyester and with a precise net-like weave; and ‘Nomen’, a lustrous hemp that drapes beautifully. The palette for each material subtly reflects its origins: while the wools come in colours that you might expect to see on the back of a sheep, the recycled polyesters are more vibrant, with green, lavender and dark inky blue reflecting the fabrics’ man-made origins.
Kvadrat has one of the textile industry’s strongest commitments to the planet, publishing an annual sustainability report detailing its initiatives across everything from packaging to the use of renewable energy. It also has a stake in Really, a company set up to find innovative uses for textile offcuts, including acoustic felt and high-density board.