Exclusivity comes to environmental apparel arena

A new experiment underway at Target could eventually see the retailer making greater use of environmentally-sustainable fibers in such products as sheets, shower curtains, window treatments, table linens, decorative pillows and towels.

The company entered into an exclusive two-year development and supply agreement with Naturally Advanced Technologies Inc. to evaluate the use of something called “CRAIiLAR Flax” fibers in products. 

“Target represents a best-in-class partner for CRAiLAR in the domestic textiles category,” said Ken Barker, CEO of Naturally Advanced Technologies. “Also the fiber's performance in moisture management, shrinkage reduction, and dye chemical savings is in line with Target's sustainability efforts.”

According to the Vancouver, Canada-based company, its proprietary CRAiLAR enzymatic process turns such natural bast fibers as flax, hemp, jute, and kenaf into soft, finished textiles that are as comfortable as cotton, but more durable and eco-friendly. The result is a product that can integrate with existing technology for spinning, weaving, or forming fabric, which can be used across such categories as apparel, footwear, work wear and domestic textiles. Those are broader applications for the company’s products than were first envisioned in 1998 when the company was founded as Hemptown Clothing. The firm changed its name in March 2006 to Naturally Advanced Technologies.