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Smart Stitch, the heat-dissolving thread

Posted on 27 November 2018.

Sometimes it does not take much to give a helping hand to the circular economy. In the fashion industry it could even be hanging on a thread! Literally.

Recycling made easy could be the slogan of Resortecs, a Belgian start-up founded by Cédric Vanhoeck and Vanessa Counaert.

The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. Some ready-to-wear brands, included big fast-fashion names, are, however, trying to reduce their impact on the environment and are turning to the circular economy.

Among the solutions developed, recycling used clothing helps reduce waste and pressure on natural resources. But recycling is a complicated business; clothes need to be unpicked piece by piece which is very labor-intensive. Take a pair of jeans for example, the zip and buttons have to be unpicked by hand, which is both time-consuming and expensive...

Recycling made easy could be Resortecs's slogan. Founded by Cédric Vanhoeck, engineer and designer, and Vanessa Counaert, sales engineer, this Belgian start-up proposes to solve the problem thanks to ... a sewing thread. This thread, called Smart Stitch, dissolves in heat making it easy to disassemble clothing.

Sewn using Smart Stitch and heated to a certain temperature (160-190°C, clothing having a fusion temperature above 200°C), our jeans will readily give up their zip, buttons, and pockets which can then be recovered and upcycled. Taking another example of a jacket, its silk lining and cotton body could be separated in a flash.

As such, Smart Stitch also optimizes sorting and facilitates the repair, reuse, and recycling of used clothing.

Resortecs won one of five awards at the 2018 Global Change Award with this ingenious innovation which is still in prototype stage. Launched by the H&M Foundation, this competition aims to support initiatives to accelerate the transition to a circular fashion industry. The start-up is currently working on a prototype shoe that can be entirely disassembled: JOAN, the most circular of shoes!