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香奈兒投資波士頓初創企業,生產可持續蠶絲

Kim Bhasin, 彭博社 2019年06月17日

這不是法國奢侈品公司第一次釋放對環保的誠意。

香奈兒投資生態友好型絲綢技術。圖片來源:Budrul Chukrut—SOPA Images LightRocket via Getty Images

香奈兒是最近一家公開向環保產品致敬的零售巨頭,該公司投資了一家環保型化工公司,為了減少奢侈品對地球的傷害而做出努力。

服裝和化妝品行業都是廢棄物的重要來源,塑料微粒、穩定劑和紡織品整理劑等化學物質常用于制造布料和護膚產品。初創企業Evolved by Nature致力于用可持續的替代品取代這些有害合成添加劑,香奈兒將投資該公司(金額未披露),獲得了少數股權。

根據Evolved by Nature公司的說法,其標志性產品活性絲(Activated Silk)產自于真實的蠶繭,可以用于生產織物、化妝品和醫療產品。或許有一天,這種環保絲甚至可以用于生產香奈兒475美元一條的圍巾。

關于各大公司的環保宣言究竟是實質性的轉變還是只是裝裝門面,人們雖然可以有不同看法,但時尚、健康和美容行業一直在清晰地表達他們的興趣。一些品牌在把自己包裝成地球的朋友,行業中更大的玩家也開始朝著這個方向改進。

至于香奈兒,這家法國奢侈品公司并非第一次釋放對環保的誠意。

去年年底,香奈兒進行了另外一項可持續投資——生產塑料包裝生物降解替代品的芬蘭公司Sulapac。這家時尚品牌之前也曾經在現有的絲綢行業內采取行動:2016年,該品牌收購了四家高端法國絲綢公司以支撐其供應鏈。去年,香奈兒發布了一份關于如何解決可持續發展問題的報告,這在這家私營零售商的百年歷史中是第一次。

Evolved by Nature公司的總部設在波士頓,由生物醫學工程師瑞貝卡·拉庫蒂爾和化學家格雷戈里·阿特曼于2013年創立。他們的產品是液態純絲,由廢棄的蠶繭采用再生技術制成。自從2014年首次申請專利以來,該公司已經獲得了天然絲蛋白的數十種分子組合專利。

Evolved by Nature的投資人包括卡夫集團、杰夫·維尼克和羅伊·P·迪士尼。該公司拒絕透露它籌集的資金總額。

該公司表示,將利用新獲得的資金“探索創新材料,對各類面料進行機械和光學改良。”尚不清楚該技術將如何專門與香奈兒包袋、高級時裝等全線產品進行有機整合。阿特曼表示,與香奈兒的結合仍然處于研發階段。

阿特曼說:“他們足夠信任我們,才會進行投資,這顯然說明我們在做正確的事情。”(財富中文網)

譯者:Agatha

Chanel Inc. is the latest retail giant to make a public nod toward environmentally conscious products, investing in an eco-friendly chemistry company as part of an effort to make luxury items less damaging to the planet.

Both the apparel and cosmetics industries are major sources of waste, and chemicals often used to make fabrics and skincare products, such as microplastics, ingredient stabilizers, and textile finishers. Startups like Evolved by Nature, to which Chanel will pay an undisclosed sum for a minority stake, seek to replace these harsh synthetic additives with sustainable alternatives.

Evolved by Nature’s trademarked Activated Silk is derived from actual silkworm cocoons, which can be used in fabrics, cosmetics, and medical products, according to the company. Someday, the eco-friendly silk might even find its way into one of Chanel’s $475 scarves.

While people can debate whether planet-friendly proclamations by corporations are a substantive shift or window dressing, the fashion, health, and beauty sectors have been making their interest clear. Brands have sought to market themselves as friends of the Earth, and the bigger players are beginning to move that way, too.

As for Chanel, this isn’t the first time the French luxury house has sought to establish its green bona fides.

It made another sustainability investment late last year with Finnish biodegradable plastic packaging alternative Sulapac. The fashion house made earlier moves within the existing silk industry, too: In 2016, the label acquired four high-end French silk companies to shore up its supply chain. And last year, Chanel published a report on how it addresses sustainability issues, a first for the 100-year-old, privately held retailer.

Evolved by Nature, based in Boston, was started by biomedical engineer Rebecca Lacouture and chemist Gregory Altman in 2013. Their product is pure silk in liquid form, a regenerative technology made from discarded silkworm cocoons. The company has patented dozens of molecular combinations of the natural silk protein since filing its first application in 2014.

Existing backers include Kraft Group, Jeff Vinik, and Roy P. Disney. The company declined to say how much total funding it has raised.

Evolved by Nature said it will use the fresh funding to “explore innovative material, mechanical and optical enhancements of different fabrics.” It’s unclear how the technology will be specifically integrated into Chanel’s products, which range from handbags to haute couture. Altman said the Chanel link-up is still in the research-and-development stage.

“For them to believe in us enough to make a financial investment says we’re certainly doing the right thing,” said Altman.

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