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Hugo Boss invests in sustainable fibre technology to replace polyester and nylon

Camilla Rydzek
16 February 2022

Hugo Boss has invested a total of £6.7 million ($9 million) in sustainable textile company HeiQ AeoniQ which produces a cellulosic fibre that could in the long term replace the brand's use of polyester and nylon.

This is the first sustainability-linked investment for Hugo Boss, with the company likely hoping the investment will increase its list of sustainable materials, a key part of its sustainability targets.

Of the total investment £3.7 million ($5 million) were put up as equity investment while an additional £3 million ($4 million) were contingent on performance milestone arrangements.

HeiQ, which was founded in 2005 as a spin-off from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH), will use the funding to scale up and commercialize its fibre technology. The company says it can produce a cellulosic yarn that is designed for circularity and closed-loop recycling, uses no toxic chemicals and does not draw on arable land, pesticides or fertilizers for its feedstock.

It further claims that for every ton of polyester & nylon substituted by HeiQ AeoniQ, up to 5 tons of CO2 could be reduced and that it could ultimately substitute oil-based fibres completely. 

The company currently has seven manufacturing sites and plans to build its first commercial giga factory in Central Europe by end of 2024. It has also announced that the LYCRA company has become its exclusive distributor following an undisclosed investment.

Daniel Grieder, CEO of Hugo Boss said: "Our exciting partnership with HeiQ on HeiQ AeoniQ represents yet another important milestone on our journey towards becoming the leading premium tech-driven fashion platform worldwide. Consistent with our bold mission statement 'We Love Fashion, We Change Fashion', this game-changing collaboration with HeiQ enables us to further push innovation and sustainability across our brands' offerings, thereby driving measurable impact for environment and society alike."

Carlo Centonze, co-founder & Group CEO of HeiQ commented: "The financial commitments by such prestigious companies as Hugo Boss and The Lycra Company are strong endorsements of HeiQ AeoniQ's game-changing potential. This also demonstrates our ability to commercialize our HeiQ AeoniQ IP, now valued at US$200M. HeiQ AeoniQ yarn is a versatile alternative to polyester and nylon and its climate positive qualities create a very exciting market opportunity for HeiQ, as fashion brands and retailers come under increasing pressure to do their part in decarbonizing their products and reduce their environmental footprints."

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