Color on Demand
Color on Demand is a revolutionary dyeing platform that transforms how the fashion industry colors cotton – more sustainably, more effectively and faster than ever before.
Designed to help address water scarcity and pollution caused by cotton dyeing, Color on Demand is a multi-phased system with a clear ambition to deliver the world’s first scalable zero wastewater cotton dyeing system, enabling the recycling and reuse of all water from the dyeing process.
For the first time in the industry, Color on Demand also provides a more efficient and sustainable way to color cotton at any point in product manufacturing, rather than at the outset, enabling significantly shorter lead times for making product color decisions. By 2025, we aim to use the Color on Demand platform in more than 80% of our solid cotton products.
Most recently, as part of the first phase of Color on Demand, we released an open-source manual with Dow, one of our collaborators for the platform, that details how to use ECOFAST™ Pure, an innovative cationic cotton treatment, with existing dyeing equipment. This improved process significantly reduces the amount of water, chemicals and energy required to dye cotton. By openly sharing the manual with our industry, our hope is that our findings and solutions will help transform how we preserve and use water in global supply chains. You can download the manual and learn more about ECOFAST™ Pure here.
As part of our commitment to a more sustainable future, Ralph Lauren invested in Natural Fiber Welding, Inc. (NFW), a leading material science startup that is revolutionizing the reuse of natural fibers, such as cotton, into patented, high-performance materials. This investment enables Ralph Lauren to develop first-of-its-kind apparel made from recycled, plant-based materials as well as create and scale a new industry standard for natural fiber recycling, including a more circular economy for cotton.
Recycled cotton is often unsuitable for use in new cotton apparel due to the short fibers created during recycling. Founded in 2015, NFW has solved this challenge with an innovative process that welds short fibers into longer fibers to create high-performance cotton yarns which can incorporate cotton and other plant-based waste fibers. This patented process transforms these materials in ways that were never possible before, creating an opportunity to reuse post-consumer cotton waste and impart performance characteristics into the fiber. The resulting upcycled material outperforms synthetic fabrics while still retaining the comfortable feel of cotton.
Ralph Lauren has also collaborated with NFW to debut the use of MIRUM®, a leather alternative material made from renewable resources that include plant-based materials and agricultural by-products, such as ground cork and soybeans. Ralph Lauren plans to utilize this plastic-free, high-performing material across its apparel and accessories collections.
Through the partnership with and investment in NFW, Ralph Lauren is expanding its use of recycled post-consumer cotton and plant-based, leather alternative materials, helping to advance the Company’s progress toward sustainably sourcing 100 percent of its key materials, including cotton, by 2025 and integrating zero-waste principles across its business. Over time, the partnership will enable Ralph Lauren to replace and reduce its reliance on synthetics such as polyester and nylon, while scaling the use of recycled materials.