Phat Plastic

2021

A closed-loop fashion production and management system designed to bring brands into the circular economy.

Business Enterprise, Systems Design, Mechanical Engineering, Fashion Design, UI/UX

Featured
Imperial College London Innovation Pitch (2020)
Exhibitions
Dyson School Open House (2021)
team
Harvey Upton
Puja Soneji
Tomas Knaze
Mentors
Niki Fotiou
Ruben Portz
Phat Plastic is a complete cradle-to-cradle system that helps brands transition towards the circular economy. It consists of four key innovations within the material, production, management, and recycling of garments, allowing brands to reduce their CO2 output by 80% compared to regular polyester garments. Phat Plastic uses a bio-textile, developed from organic waste streams, that is mechanically comparable to polyester. Garments are manufactured using electrospinning, allowing for seamless designs. Garments are certified and traced using a blockchain management system. And a returns scheme enables garments to be chemically recycled and remanufactured into new clothes.
Design Process
Currently, less than 1% of clothes are recycled, and 87% are either incinerated or sent to landfills, meaning that the fashion industry contributes to 10% of global CO2 emissions. Even more, the fashion industry is causing immense ecological damage through pollution, deforestation, and desertification. Research indicates that the fashion industry needs to cut its emissions by 50% within the next decade to avoid the 1.5°C limit set by the Paris Climate Agreement. As a result, 20% of garments need to be traded circularly by 2030.

The fashion industry has failed to take a systems approach to the problem, meaning that although there have been innovations at various stages of the fashion lifecycle, there has been little development of a fully circular and economically viable system. Therefore, we used a systems design approach, consulting with key stakeholders in material science, fashion design, commercial management, and recycling, to analyse existing problems and opportunities for development. Through this, we developed Phat Plastic.

Phat Plastic is a closed-loop production and management solution that helps luxury brands transition towards circularity. It comprises four key innovations that target different aspects of the fashion lifecycle. The fibres are developed from PHA, a bio-polymer sourced from organic waste streams that produce 80% less CO2 than comparable polyesters. Garments are electrospun allowing for a one-step process from fibre to apparel and eliminating the need for intermediaries. Garment certificates and environmental metadata are encoded into each garment and are managed within the blockchain system, allowing for the transparent trade of fashion items. Finally, garments can be exchanged back to Phat Plastic, where they are then chemically recycled and incorporated into future production.

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