Nike launches revolutionary new eco-friendly textile

With Nike Forward the brand introduces a game-changing approach to textile creation that sets a new standard for the future of sportswear and the environment, starting from its iconic grey hoodie.

When a few months ago Nike celebrated its 50th anniversary, there wasn’t much room for self-reassuring nostalgia but, on the contrary, we witnessed a brand with spirit and ethos anew. Taking inspiration from heritage to shape an unwritten future for athleisure lies at the core of the Beaverton brand that, despite its huge impact on streetwear and youth culture, still holds athletes – inclusively embraced from Olympic medallists to amatuers – as the driving force behind its innovations.

It is from talking to them that the issue of climate change rose as an urgent one, as a barrier to sport in fact. 

With less and less natural resources available and the unstoppable consequences of global warming impacting mercilessly on training, athletes’ performances are now at risk of being massively and irreversibly affected.

These are the premises that led Nike to work on something quite revolutionary to say the least. Nike Forward is more than a new fabric, it is a whole approach to apparel manufacturing that, by cutting down on intermediate steps, will reduce the carbon footprint released by the production of a first generation material by 75%.

The great innovation lies in leaving the traditional production cycle made of spinning the yarn, cutting and sewing behind, to transform the fiber straight into textile through needle-punch. 

Not only the reduction of resources needed for the production of the fabric will positively impact on energy consumption, but its lighter density is also pivotal in reaching the set goals.

“Nike Forward feels different because it is different. It is not a traditional knit or woven, but a completely new material that drastically reduces its carbon footprint,” says Carmen Zolman, VP Innovation Apparel Design, at NIKE, Inc.

Forward should also be praised for pursuing Nike’s dedication to the production of garments obtained from recycled textiles. Nike Forward, as explained by the brand, can “be made out of a diverse range of layers, including industrial and post-consumer waste”, resulting in a product composed of 70% recycled content by weight. 

To chase this new horizon of textile-making, consumption and upcycling, the first Nike Forward products will be designed without zippers, aglets or extra trims, making it easier for the garments to be recycled but also setting new aesthetic and performance standards for sports.

The brand’s aim is therefore that of an ever-evolving work-in-progress – hence the description of Forward as a “platform” rather than a fabric alone – to achieve its impact targets. A dedicated mindset that follows in the steps of the thirty years of innovation, which brought us concepts like the Space Hippie, Nike Air, Flyknit, Flyleather, Next Nature and Dri-Fit – after which, according to Nike, Forward is the greatest technological achievement in decades. 

As Janett Nichol, VP Apparel Innovation at NIKE,Inc. comments, “It’s game-changing platforms, like Nike Forward, that accelerate a culture of innovation at Nike to help protect the planet and the future of sport”.

Nike Forward debuts globally, from September 15th, on one of the brand’s most iconic garments: the grey hoodie, in both hoodie and crew styles.

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