Alchemie is revolutionising the fashion industry by significantly reducing the amount of carbon emissions and water pollution produced during textile dyeing. The fashion industry uses huge amounts of energy and water and is one of the biggest polluters on the planet – generating up to 10% of global CO2 emissions.
Generally when we talk about sustainable fashion, people immediately think of the issues around fast fashion – mass-produced clothing and underpaid workers – but many are unaware of the issues within the fashion supply chain.
The worst climate change offenders within fashion are textile dyeing and finishing – the processes by which colour and other chemicals are applied to fabrics, using chemical baths. Current processes are expected to contribute to 10% of global CO2 emissions by 2050 – which is more than the shipping and aviation industries combined.
Alchemie Technology’s “Endeavour” machine, which prints dye onto fabrics without producing any wastewater, reduces energy consumption by 85%. Just one machine can replace five traditional chemical dyeing baths.
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
I’ve always worked in roles that allowed me to use technology to solve industry problems, but I almost fell into setting up Alchemie by accident. I’d actually planned to retire, but had a ‘eureka’ moment when I was visiting China and saw first-hand the extent of how much dyeing houses were impacting local communities, and realised this was a huge global problem that was only set to get worse.
I set up Alchemie in 2014, with a genuine passion and vision to do something good to help the planet.
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How has the company evolved during the pandemic?
It’s been an incredibly busy time for Alchemie, and while the pandemic has been a difficult period for many businesses it was actually our key time to grow and succeed. In 2021 we secured investor funding from At One Ventures and H&M CO:LAB, H&M Group’s investment arm, to accelerate the development of our technology.
At the beginning of this year we were part of a project run by innovation platform Fashion For Good, which saw key brands and supply chain players trial Alchemie’s technology. We’ve also just shipped one of our machines to Taiwan, where it will form the centrepiece of a new Alchemie demo hub in Asia, ultimately starting our global revolution.
What can we hope to see from Alchemie in the future?
We are continuing to raise awareness of the issues associated with textile dyeing within the fashion industry, in the hope that more brands invest in sustainable solutions.
Alchemie is set to grow even further as we continue to set up demo hubs around the globe and expand our offering. Ultimately, our goal is to reduce the fashion industry’s impact on the environment before it is too late.