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Green colors

LOTS, 1 february 2019
Green colors

David is a physicist and advisor for the commercialization of scientific projects at the University of Cambridge and co-founder of the fashion-based start-up. He came to this industry not because of personal interests, but because of the arsenic. It’s harmless in small quantities, but when exposed to it for a longer time, one can get skin, lung, kidney or liver cancer. In the year 2000, arsenic took first place in the category of the largest polluters in history according to WHO. The problem concerns 100 million residents of Bangladesh, India and Nepal. It was found in water, which is drunk daily and comes from the dye-works. In Dhaka itself, 15 billion liters of sewage are discharged daily into the rivers. 80% of them is generated by the clothing industry, largely driven by our need to have the most fashionable coat in the season.

David spent two years working in Dhaka on the project "Arsenic Biosensor." Together with Dr. Orrem Yarkonim, a Portuguese biotechnologist, they genetically modified bacteria to detect dangerous levels of arsenic in the water. Today, they are partners at the Colorifix, a start-up which combines synthetic biology with clothing industry and environmental responsibility.

Inspired by their Bangladesh experience, they developed a method of dyeing fabrics, which - if it becomes common - will reduce water consumption by 90% and eliminate hazardous chemicals from the process. They will be replaced by natural pigments, produced by bacteria that are implanted with the DNA of any living organism, such as a fuchsia Bougainville flower. The bacteria are fed with molasses, an easily accessible waste from the food industry. Thanks to it, they reproduce and produce pigment, identical with that occurring in nature. The fabric is immersed in water with bacteria and the temperature is raised. This makes the microbes disappear and the color is fixed. After the whole cycle, there is only water left. It’s pure and can be re-used. - according to scientists.

Their company has already established cooperation with the Philippa K brand. The first clothes dyed in this innovative and close to nature way will probably be available for purchase in spring. Colorifix also worked with the famous sustainability icon Stella McCartney. At the last year’s "Fashioned from Nature" exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, there was a blue dress dyed using natural pigment, produced by amoebae.

The "Fashioned from Nature" exhibition showed the relationship between fashion and nature over the centuries. And Colorifix is ​​just one of the increasingly numerous start-ups, which demonstrate how to use the potential of nature with the help of science and technology while saving our ecosystem.

The company was among the exhibitors of the Innovation Forum, an event accompanying last year's edition of the Copenhagen Fashion Summit.

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