TOKYO -- Japanese trading house Itochu looks to promote sustainable sourcing among fashion brands in Asia through a partnership with Italy's Aquafil, the world's leading producer of regenerated nylon.
The two companies will build facilities in Japan and elsewhere in Asia to collect and reprocess post-industrial and post-consumer waste such as nylon. Itochu will help Aquafil market its regenerated materials in Asia, targeting sales of around 2 billion yen ($19.1 million) in the first year.
Aquafil collects and cleans scraps from apparel factories as well as fishing nets and used carpets. It processes this waste into nylon materials and synthetic fiber at facilities in Slovenia with its regeneration technology.
The company's regenerated nylon material under the Econyl brand boasts many fans in the fashion industry. Luxury designer house Prada intends to switch this year to using only Aquafil's products for all its nylon needs in the brand's bags and other items.
Aquafil's recycled materials account for about 1% of a global nylon market totaling 6 million tons, the company said.