Sapphire Group, a Pakistani global player in the textile and fiber market, is focused on finding sustainable alternatives in natural fiber growing and manufacturing.
The group has recently invested in drone technology to enable a more sustainable agriculture in its own country, while helping increase crop yields and support smaller growers in reaching better business stability. It actually started using drones for the cultivation of cotton to help save water, avoid the spoiling of water and use fewer pesticides while pouring these liquids more precisely without waste.
As part of its ambitions, Neela By Sapphire Fibres, part of Sapphire Group, has also started using fibers that are lower impact than cotton and that can be used as an alternative to it, as it estimates that growing enough cotton to make a pair of jeans requires about 1,800 gallons of water.
For s/s 2023, the denim specialist has developed Vegan Cashmere Denim, a new fabric made with maximum 20% soy fiber and 80% cotton. The fiber it uses is spinnable, as soft as silk, and composed of soybean hulls. It is of a natural cream hue and, as made by repurposing a waste product, it uses minimal toxic chemicals.
This fiber also has many aesthetic characteristics of natural fibers and physical characteristics that make it similar to synthetic fibers. It also has moisture absorbing qualities equivalent to cotton and excellent ventilation properties. It also has excellent washability, is fast drying and wrinkle resistant.
Hygiene is also a vital concern for denim wearers, and, as soybean fibers are highly resistant to Staphylococcus aureus (a cause of dangerous skin infections), Colibacillus (a cause of intestinal infections) and Candida albicans (a potentially dangerous fungus that causes yeast infections), jeans made with it can be great life companions. Amino acids present in these fibers also make them beneficial for the skin and for human health. Moreover, as soybean protein fibers activate collagen, fabrics made with it can prevent trickling and moisture loss.
Overall, the fiber is malleable and can be modified using molecular genetic techniques, which can enhance the fiber’s properties for specific applications, although many could object about the fact that soybeans are not entirely environmentally friendly.