Frugi: Sustainable Durability testing to Guarantee Children’s Clothing

Frugi is a childrenswear brand that only uses sustainably sourced materials for their clothing including GOTS Certified organic cotton grown by farmers they trust. The brand is on a circular mission is to guarantee that their garments can be handed down again and again, for child after child to enjoy. To do this, the requirement to create a new sustainable durability testing protocol is paramount, thus enabling the brand to accurately determine the usable life span of any piece of children’s clothing.  

About the Project

Working with Future Fashion Factory, Mary Lawrence the Product Development Manager at Frugi has formed a collaborative team with Dr Mark Taylor a Research Fellow from Leeds University and Eurofins Modern Testing Services with the mission to develop a new sophisticated method to generate a more streamlined testing protocol, the project was able to examine the impacts of repeated washing and wear and tear testing on childrenswear. This shored up a streamlined and reliable method of predicting the sustainable durability of clothing.  

By this token, the collaborative R&D project was, in effect, an exercise in increasing sustainability in the durability testing process to ensure that such clothing is capable of being passed from one user to another for a considerable period beyond the initial user. Ultimately, Frugi could use the project as a platform to reliably guarantee durability over their sustainable childrenswear.  

The project was able to circumvent existing durability testing issues; prior methods for ensuring durability of clothing relied upon repeated laundering which involves the use of considerable volumes of water, chemical detergents, and energy to heat the water and dry the clothing. Replicating 1 wash per week over a 3-year life cycle would require 156 individual machine washes which is neither environmentally friendly nor commercially viable. Other properties such as abrasion, pilling, stretch and recovery and colour fastness have not been directly utilised, and the conventional tests carried out are not designed to assess long term durability of the product nor do they necessarily consider the different ways in which children interact with their environment (which, naturally, result in increased rates of wear when compared to adult clothing). 

As such, by identifying a robust means of predicting durability and sustainability of clothing but using less testing and less resources, Frugi have been able to successfully design out materials and garment designs which may be prone to premature failure, all while optimising the choice of materials and construction techniques to maximise the lifecycle of the clothing.  

Project Impacts

Developing clothing which can better withstand the rigorous use of children over a longer period can assist in reducing reliance on less sustainable textile fibres while also promoting the longevity and recycling of garments – as they are shared between siblings or donated to second-hand outlets.  

Through this innovative durability testing and prediction tool, unique to Eurofins Modern Testing Services there will be significant sustainability gains over current testing protocols, allowing for more sophisticated testing measures for wear and tear beyond those currently used.  

There will be a significant in-house gain for Frugi, by way of their circular design principles, allowing them to improve circular manufacturing within their global supply base, and allow them to educate their customers on conscious consumption and the circular journey of a garment. 

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