Norwich Research Park business announces global tie-up with fashion retail giant H&M

Picture of Colorifix scientists working on the new technology to dye fabrics

Colorifix has developed a new technology to dye fabrics that’s capable of reducing the environmental impact and change the face of the fashion industry as we know it - Credit: Colorifix

Colorifix, a bio-tech company based at Norwich Research Park that specialises in developing sustainable methods of dyeing fabrics, recently announced what it hopes will be the first of a number of deals with global fashion brands to provide its dye technology for the production of more sustainable fashion. 

Having already collaborated with designer Stella McCartney, it has teamed up with H&M to contribute to their latest Innovation Stories collection - the Colour Story – to celebrate new, more sustainable methods of working with colour.  

H&M’s Colour Story collection showcases unique colours, patterns and prints, and features a “perfectly oversized” two-tone T-shirt dyed with Colorifix technology. The vision of the collection as a whole is to join forces with industry innovators to create a selection of contemporary pieces that raise awareness of the environmental impact of current dyeing and printing processes.  

The textiles industry is among the most polluting on the planet and the dyeing process in particular is one of the most environmentally damaging activities. Petrochemicals developed in countries such as China and India are used to dye fabrics that are then shipped all over the world, resulting in a massive carbon footprint. But it is not just the chemicals and the supply chain that are damaging the environment – the dyeing process as it currently exists is highly inefficient.  

Colorifix has developed an ingenious new technology to dye fabrics that’s capable of reducing the environmental impact and changing the face of the fashion industry as we know it. 

Orr Yarkoni, CEO of Colorifix, commented: “We are extremely happy to announce this landmark moment. This is all thanks to a big group of people working towards one goal and is a step towards the dream we all share of a cleaner industry.  

“Everyone along the way, from Barroso Malhas the dye house, the RDD mill and the brand H&M has really helped our team get things right and release a product we are really proud of.” 

Ella Soccorsi, concept designer at H&M, said: “‘Working with such interesting innovators and their wonderful ideas has been an incredible journey. Colorifix is the first company to use a natural, biological process to produce and fix pigments onto textiles. They’re launching worldwide with this collection. We’re thrilled that despite its state-of-the-art manufacture, the collection feels effortlessly modern and fresh.” 

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Colorifix established itself at Norwich Research Park in 2018 and since then has benefited from collaborations with the Earlham Institute, Quadram Institute and the Metabolomics Group within the John Innes Centre. 

OTHER NEWS FROM NORWICH RESEARCH PARK 

  • Professor receives prestigious international award  

Professor Wenbo Ma, of The Sainsbury Laboratory, has been awarded a prestigious international science award for her innovative research in and outstanding contributions to the field of plant pathology. 

The American Phytopathological Society honoured her with the Ruth Allen Award, which is given to those researchers who have changed, or have the potential to change, the direction of research in the field of plant pathology. 

Wenbo arrived at The Sainsbury Laboratory last year from the University of California, Riverside with an international reputation in effector biology research which aims to enhance disease resistance in crops to help secure more food for our future populations. 

She is the second person at The Sainsbury Laboratory to receive this prestigious award, following Professor David Baulcombe, who received it in 2002. 

Wenbo said: “I am thrilled and humbled to receive this award. This recognition belongs to all the lab members I have had the honour to work with. I consider supporting next-generation researchers as my duty and have thoroughly enjoyed the interactions with these talented young minds and learned a lot from them. This award is a motivation for us to make more exciting discoveries at The Sainsbury Laboratory.” 

  • New chair of Norwich Research Park appointed 

Dr Pete Jackson has been unveiled as the new non-executive chair of Anglia Innovation Partnership LLP, the body governing Norwich Research Park.  

Dr Jackson is an experienced UK life sciences leader and entrepreneur, having founded seven biotech companies after a career in research and business management at major international firms. 

He is the executive director at Infex Therapeutics, a company that acquires, develops and licenses innovative drugs to treat pandemic infections, based at Alderley Park in the North West of England. He also has strong connections with Norwich having gained his first degree in physical chemistry at UEA in the early 1980s and has a family home in the county. 

Dr Jackson said: “There is an enviable amount of critical research being carried out daily on the Park that can really benefit humankind globally. By creating more commercial successes from these innovations, as well as attracting more companies to locate to the Park, we will be able to bring substantial economic benefits to Norwich, East Anglia and the UK.  That’s more investment, high-value jobs and opportunities in the wider supply chain.” 

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