Material Matter: F-ABRIC From Europe

By Brittany DiBenedetto | Material Matter
Posted Nov 1, 2016

Two brothers searched to provide their employees with sustainable workwear, but what they developed has become something greater. Their products are grown and made in fair conditions, all within the EU border.

What started out as a bag company in 1993, has taken a new turn in sustainability.  Markus and Daniel Freitag, two Swiss graphic designers, began creating bags out materials like used truck tarpaulins, discarded bicycle inner tubes, and car seat belts. After years of developing the FREITAG company, the brothers searched to provide their production and distribution employees with sustainable workwear. Unsuccessful, they decided to develop their own form of conscientious and durable apparel. They sought to make a fabric that could be produced without the use of wasted resources, chemicals, or long transport distances. After five years of development and testing the two brothers, along with a team of textile experts, created a material that is tough, functional, and sustainable called F-ABRIC.

F-ABRIC is made in Europe within 2,500 km from its home in Zurich, Switzerland; grown in France, weaved in Italy, and manufactured in Poland. The material comes from a blend of bast fibers true hemp and flax, as well as modal of beechwood to create a softer feel in their products. These natural fibers have a smaller ecological footprint as compared to cotton, grown harmlessly and without excessive amounts of water corresponding with Product Class I of OEKO-TEX Standards.

The best part of this material is its ability to be 100% biodegradable, from fabric to fasteners (also read: Breaking Down the Biodegradability Myth in Fashion). The Freitag brothers developed all parts of their garments, in addition to the material, to be environmentally friendly. Instead of using a conventional polyester thread, FREITAG developed their own thread made of vegetable Lyocell. The buttons used on shirts are made from scratch of tagua nuts and produced in Germany. Finding buttons that were suitable for using on pants was more of a challenge for the team. Being individuals who see things through, Markus and Daniel developed and patented their own metal button that screws on and off, allowing it to be used again and again; they call it the “F-button”.

Due to these properties, consumers can take their F-ABRIC garments at the end of their useful life and put them in a compost heap. The garments will biodegrade within a few months without leaving behind any harmful residues. This returns the product to its original raw material, fertile soil, in order for the cycle to continue and new plants to be grown. What started as a search for sustainable workwear, has turned into the development of a closed-loop material achieving high sustainability standards. Be sure to check out all the amazing products F-ABRIC has to offer.

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