This week we had an exciting interview with our WORTH Partnership Mentor Aniela Hoitink who is the founder of NEFFA and MycoTEX. She has had an amazing career within the fashion industry, and has chosen to do things in her own way, resulting in positive changes in the industry.
We spoke to her to find out more about her work and what she can suggest to current and future WORTH Partnership Project participants:
You are the founder of NEFFA, what made you want to establish a company that goes against the grain of fast fashion?
For the past 10 years I have heard people talking about how we need to change the consumer and how the government needs to regulate things so the industry will have to change. I got a bit frustrated as there were always others to blame, and in the meantime hardly anything changed.
While working with ycelium, I discovered we could re-think not only the material, but also the production technique. I saw a solution that would enable us to produce better clothes with the option to be affordable in the long run as well. And for this I took inspiration of nature’s own consumptive behaviour. My solutions fit the reality that we live in, instead of an ideal world where I could tell every consumer to keep their garments as long as possible and they will.
Can you provide a brief outline of what your solution MycoTEX is?
There are 7 billion people on this planet that all need to be clothed. Many of us enjoy fashion and trends, but the clothes that we get rid of are a big problem. For MycoTEX, we went to the root of the problem. MycoTEX creates sustainable fabric from mycelium, the roots of mushrooms. With our 3D-modelling process, we create garments from this new textile that perfectly fit your body without the need to cut and sew. Our shorter supply chain eliminates the need for chemicals and pesticides. We reduce water usage by 99,5% and local production is reducing transport. We only grow what we need and have no textile waste during the production phase. And AFTER wearing, you can simply bury your garment in the ground and it will naturally decompose.
What would you like WORTH Partnership Project participants to consider in developing a concept that is also sustainable?
Think about sustainability as being part of innovation as without sustainability there is no innovation. Also don’t worry if you can’t change it all for the better. We have worked 200 years to get to this point; change will not come over night. Every step in the right direction is a good one. Just take the first step and keep on going. And sometimes a step back can mean more steps forward in the future.
What does innovation mean to you, and why is it important to the design industry?
Innovation for me is, first of all, collaboration, in particular with other industries. There are so many industries that we can learn from. I truly believe in the crossover of industries we will find the real innovative projects. And it is great that WORTH enables these kind of crossover collaborations as I was fortunate to have participated in the WORTH Pilot Project.
What are some industry trends that you like and would like to see further developed?
The current focus in (bio) material development is huge, however most are mainly working on replacing leather. I would love to see more material developments not necessary being a replacement of some kind of material, but also become a new material with new features.
Find out more about Aniela Hoitink here.
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