Chemicals are used widely in activewear. Meet the startups creating natural alternatives.

Evolved By Nature is commercializing “liquid silk” as a natural alternative for activewear, and Gentrue just started selling gear using the technology.

Here’s a question: Is “activewear” an actual thing or just the fashion industry playing marketing jujitsu by mashing together 2 words?

Chemicals are used widely in activewear. Meet the startups creating natural alternatives.

As it turns out, it’s an actual thing.

But to create the sweat-wicking and quick-drying effect on your yoga gear, textile manufacturers treat the fabric with potentially hazardous chemicals.

Enter Evolved By Nature (EBN)…

… a “green chemistry” startup offering an all-natural alternative for activewear treatment. EBN has raised $51m from investors including retail giant Chanel, according to Business of Fashion.

The company’s flagship product is liquid silk — literally, liquified silk material — which is “biodegradable, sustainable… and usable in clothes, bed linens, furniture upholstery, personal care products, and skincare.”

Will it sell in the market, though?

Fashion brand Adore Me is about to find out

According to Vogue Business, the lingerie company just launched Gentrue, an activewear brand that “dips” its fabric in EBN’s liquid silk.

Gentrue will start by selling a line of leggings and tops with all of the same activewear properties we’ve come to love while not going to yoga studios during the pandemic.

The brand came out of Adore Me’s incubator program and — if successful — could pave the way for wider uptake of liquid silk.

It will be an uphill battle

The fashion industry has a long-established global supply chain that uses chemicals for all types of applications: dyeing, texture maintenance, shrinkage, antimicrobials.

However, consumer demand for environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) standards in fashion — like most industries — are on the rise.

Per Vogue, other startups attacking the problem include Green Theme Technologies, Dimpora, Huue, Checkerspot, Colorifix, and Beyond Surface Technologies.

If you see “natural activewear” become a thing in the future, it’ll probably be an actual thing and not some marketing ploy.

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