Yoga meets sustainability

Caroline Zöller

Published on 08.02.2021

The majority of sportswear and activewear today is still made from synthetic materials such as nylon, polyester and elastane. All materials that are not biodegradable and consume large amounts of resources such as water and energy in their production. At the same time, global interest in sustainable and fair textiles is growing. This is also reflected in the search queries on the net. Last year, searches for the term “sustainable activewear” increased by over 150 percent. And according to the global fashion report by The Business Research Company, the market share of sustainable fashion is expected to grow by around seven percentage points by 2023.

Reason enough for textile manufacturers to rethink and develop alternatives to the standard range. In its global support programme TENKAN-TEN, the sportswear company ASICS is doing just that. Within the framework of the initiative, whose Japanese name means turning point, the group promotes young start-ups from the sports and wellness sector. The programme supports the young entrepreneurs with financial resources, coaching and free co-working offices at the ASICS location in Barcelona. In return, the start-ups give the group a stake in their companies, a say in the process and the right of first refusal on ideas and products.

The young textile manufacturer Pyratex Smart Fabrics from Madrid was a good fit for TENKAN-TEN with its mission to replace synthetic functional textiles with natural and more environmentally friendly alternatives. Thanks to their participation in the programme and in collaboration with ASICS, an innovative yoga collection was created last year. In particular, the sustainable production and processing of the fabrics combined with the conceptual idea of empowering women with ethically produced, sustainable fitness clothing convinced the sporting goods manufacturer to collaborate. The launch of the seven-piece yoga line took place – in keeping with the conceptual approach – on 8 March 2020, International Women’s Day.

The special thing about the yoga pants and tops: They were dyed in a traditional, natural process using only biodegradable dyes from plants and minerals. Indian madder root, Mediterranean gall apple and pomegranate were used to create the colours, which are reminiscent of earth tones.

The madder root gives rise to a pink. The root is the basis for one of the oldest red dyes known in the world. From the roundish gall apple, grey colour is created. The fruit also known as oak gall or leaf gall, which is processed here, is extracted from the underside of oak leaves in autumn. Iron powder is added as an additive to further darken the grey. A green-grey is produced from the skin of the pomegranate. All dyes are extracted from the plant fibres with water, cleaned, dried and pulverised. The dyeing process itself is non-toxic and uses less water than conventional methods. The additives used in the process, such as mordants and auxiliary materials, also consist of non-toxic substances. Alum, soda ash and chalk are used here.

Pictures: Pyratex Smart Fabrics