Ebeltoft, Denmark – If you hear anyone say that the EU wastes millions of tonnes of textile each year, it’s no exaggeration – in one year alone, the estimated waste member states generate is approximately 16 million tonnes. Last year, the UN reported that nearly 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean annually. With a clear public visual of that devastation alone, it’s almost unfathomable to imagine the textile equivalent. Designers in the garment industry are scrambling to find solutions, and, from upcycling to biotech couture, the possibilities bring a sense of hope – but how can this urgency translate over to interior textiles, too?
Innovators at the renowned Danish interior textile company Kvadrat have an idea. Beyond that, they have something to show for it – their Re-wool collection, designed by Margrethe Odgaard. The Copenhagen-based designer is constantly searching for new ways to explore colour and pattern in materials, and this project was no exception. Utilising 45 per cent recycled wool, the Re-wool textiles are crafted from spills collected from the spinning process. Typically, when end-of-life or waste textiles are used for new products, their fibres are never as long or strong as they were originally – but, with Kvadrat’s recycling strategy, the fibres are not compromised, and the quality does not falter.
Because the fibres used for the recycled yarn are collected from a variety of different spinning processes from other textile collections, the mix, or rather, the new raw material, always results in a dark grey shade. In order to give the textile collection stronger aesthetic value, Odgaard also incorporated a non-recycled wool yarn dyed in vibrant shades. The result is a veritable rainbow of fabrics, richly woven and incredibly durable – quantified at 50,000 Martindale, the textile is extremely resistant to abrasion and can withstand heavy wear. For Odgaard, developing the palette was all about finding the right balance between warp and weft.