Canopy Brings Next Gen to Future Fabrics Expo

Last week, ‌Future Fabrics Expo 2024 in London showcased the fashion industry’s commitment to sustainable innovation. This year’s theme, “NEXT GEN REVOLUTION: Fibre Solutions to Keep Ancient and Endangered Forests Standing” emphasized the urgent need for low-impact materials to replace traditional fabrics.

Canopy’s Executive Director, Nicole Rycroft, participated in a standing-room-only panel titled “Getting REAL on price: What it’s going to take to scale Next Gen”, which drew over 300 attendees. Rycroft discussed the Next Gen Transition Initiative, a collaboration aimed at addressing the transition costs of Next Gen materials

“We must mobilize investment into the Next Gen Solutions space at an accelerated pace to combat climate change and biodiversity loss,” she shared.

Accompanying Nicole were fellow Canopy staff Theo Baker, Alexandra Poignand, Carol Steuri — all Senior Corporate Campaigners, and Fibre Solutions Strategist, Valerie Langer.

The Expo, beautifully curated by Amanda Johnston, featured an impressive range of innovations and scalable solutions. Panels addressed pressing issues, while the solutions space presented materials and innovations essential for achieving climate and biodiversity goals.

On day one, Canopy co-hosted an impact investors day with Fashion for Good and Laudes Foundation in collaboration with The Sustainable Angle. The investor sessions highlighted Next Gen innovators Luke Henning (Chief Business Officer, Circ) and Noel Hall (Chair, Bast Fibre Tech), along with their value chain partners Birla Cellulose and Spinning Jenny for an interactive session on their journeys to scale. The event provided substantive insights and experiences for 50 impact-motivated financiers. 

This solutions-focused installation highlighted the latest innovations, research, and opportunities in low-carbon, low-impact Next Generation feedstocks and fibre developments, including agricultural residues, plastic reduction initiatives, and circular feedstocks.

Key takeaways from Canopy’s Solutions Area Booth discussions included the need to mobilize private and public investment to enable innovations that are ready to go to commercial production scale, the importance of government grants, incentives, and financing for ‘first-to-market’ players and conventional industry to shift to lower-impact production, the necessity of unprecedented collaboration among supply chain partners, and the imperative for brands to act.

The event was packed with attendees from the fashion and textile sector. Participants were particularly excited about the return of Circulose, the world’s first textile-to-textile MMCF mill that faltered but has been bought and will reopen production. Our booth was a hive of activity, showcasing Next Gen MMCF solutions.

We hope the enthusiastic discussions and initiatives at FFE 2024 will prove to be a roadmap for scaling sustainable practices and innovations. By rapidly scaling Next Gen Solutions through brand implementation, financial investment, government support, and consumer demand, we can shift towards a more sustainable fashion industry. It will take the combined efforts of the public and private sectors to successfully transform the take-make-waste supply chains of old and build climate-resilient production for today and the coming decades.

Learn more: 

Photography credit: Sophie Harbinson and Paul Cochrane.