“Our current focus is on our mission to be ‘Relentlessly Responsible’ by developing sustainable products that have the power to change the whole textile industry.”
Sustainability has become a trending topic for outdoor and fashion/lifestyle industry brands that want to appeal to environmentally-conscious shoppers. US advanced material technology company PrimaLoft has launched what is says is the world’s first synthetic insulation made from 100% recycled and biodegradable fibres. PrimaLoft claims that its innovation leverages progressive end-of-life material science and demands the attention of every apparel brand interested in making a smaller environmental footprint.
Here, Liz Gyekye, Deputy Editor at Bio Market Insights, catches up with Jochen Lagemann, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Europe & Asia, of PrimaLoft (@PrimaLoft).
Liz Gyekye (LG): Welcome to 5 Minutes With. Can you begin with a brief description about PrimaLoft?
Jochen Lagemann (JL): PrimaLoft is an advanced material technology company based in Latham, New York with offices in Munich, Germany and Xiamen, China. We are a leader in research and innovative development of comfort solutions with high performance insulations and fabrics. We deliver feel-good products that are used in products by top global outdoor and fashion brands, home furnishings, work wear, hunting and military applications. Our current focus is on our mission to be ‘Relentlessly Responsible’ by developing sustainable products that have the power to change the whole textile industry.
LG: Before becoming senior vice president and managing director of PrimaLoft Europe and Asia, what did you use to do?
JL: In my current position at PrimaLoft, I’m responsible for the European and Asian operations. In my past eight years with the company, I’ve had different roles such as Sales & Marketing Director for Europe, while also helping to build up PrimaLoft’s presence in the Asian market. Prior to that I was sales and marketing manager at W. L. Gore for many years. Other stages of my career have included working for Nike and Marc O’Polo.
LG: What is the biggest challenge your company currently faces?
JL: Currently we have two big topics that we’re focusing on as we challenge ourselves every day to be Relentlessly Responsible. That means we are working hard to develop products which are as sustainable as possible, without compromising the high performance our brand partners are used to from PrimaLoft. With the recent launch of PrimaLoft Bio, the first ever 100% recycled and biodegradable synthetic insulation and performance fabric, we have achieved the next step towards our goals. We are also striving to reduce our overall impact on the environment as a company, to be as sustainable as possible throughout the complete supply chain, by reducing energy or carbon emissions for example. So, in other words, you are happy you have solved one problem, but during the process you discover the next challenges to drive sustainability to the next level – there is always more to do.
The other big topic is our fast-growing fashion business. More and more brands are embracing PrimaLoft products as they want to add functionality to their ranges and are attracted by the environmental and comfort benefits of our insulations and fabrics.
In the future, we want to be able to create more products that perfectly match the changing needs of the fashion industry.
LG: What is coming up next for your company?
JL: Having achieved another huge step in our Relentlessly Responsible mission with our PrimaLoft Bio fibres, they have now been proven to be renewable for use in a circular economy. With this achievement we take on a greater leadership role in sustainability to push the industry forward. As we are in the early stages of the circularity topic in the textile industry, we want to encourage all market players to work together on the most sustainable solutions for future product launches.
LG: What advice wold you give to somebody starting out in this space?
JL: First of all, you need to have an intrinsic motivation for sustainability, as a person and as a company, to consequently start a new project to support this approach. Investments will take some time to be turned into revenues and still a lot of brand customers and end-consumers are not willing to pay more for sustainable apparel or footwear. You need to be willing to take a margin in some areas, when implementing more sustainability in your product range or processes.
LG: What is your favourite bio-based/sustainable product?
JL: Well, apart from our latest PrimaLoft Bio products, I’m a big fan of my fruit and vegetables out of my garden!