EXCLUSIVE: Ecopel Launches 100 Percent Plant-based, Chemical-free Material Called Flur

PARIS — Following a Paris Fashion Week with fuzzy “mob wife” outerwear emerging as a key trend, faux fur sector leader and innovator Ecopel is unveiling its next animal-free textile with a new material called Flur.

The new textile is a 100-percent plant-based, biodegradable and uses natural dyes to convey a shearling or mohair look.

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It’s a portmanteau play on words of fur and fleur, or flower, in French.

The company is eager to frame the textile as an entirely new, petrochemical-free material and not lumped in with faux fur.

Brands have already had a preview of Flur. It will make its big debut with an exhibit at Première Vision in July, and will be ready to scale up production at that time. Ecopel anticipates it will appear on a runway during the September shows.

“This is really a revolution for the market, and I believe more and more the customer who buys polyester or recycled polyester will move to this kind of product,” said chief executive officer Christopher Sarfati. He anticipates that both animal welfare and environmental concerns will drive customer acquisition.

“It’s not just some material to sell to the brands, but we also want to promote it as a new vision,” said Ecopel communications and sustainability manager Arnaud Brunois, highlighting the move away from synthetics. “It’s the beginning of a new era for us.”

A close-up of Ecopel’s new Flur 100-percent bio-based fur material.
A close-up of Ecopel’s new Flur 100-percent bio-based fur material.

The Flur textile was in development for five years, since the launch of Ecopel’s Koba faux fur product.

That material, made with DuPont’s Sorona corn-based fiber combined with a recycled polyester blend, has also been upgraded and is now constructed with a polymer made from regenerated vegetable oil.

With the addition of Flur and the new composition of Koba, Ecopel is taking a 360 approach to both animal welfare and sustainability.

When the company launched Koba in 2019, they expressed the intent to bring a plant-based product to market. The research and development process was long in order to meet the quality standards of fashion brands.

Along with launching Flur, the company is bringing on board a specialist in bio-design to concentrate on product development and create an extended plant-based textile line. They intend to expand into other textures that mimic fox, rabbit, mink and raccoon.

“We are happy to have opened a path to new ways of looking at fur. Neither fake fur nor animal, these textile furs represent the future of fashion — they solve the complex equation of promoting the end of synthetic while refusing cruel and obsolete animal exploitation,” Brunois said.

“We are certain that the fashion world will be at our side to develop this range and make it a new standard,” he added.

Ecopel has a history of working with luxury houses; it partnered with Stella McCartney on the launch of Koba, and the company has worked with more than 300 brands, including Vanessa Bruno, among others. Flur will sit at roughly the same price point per meter as synthetic faux furs in order to make it accessible to a wide range of brands across categories.

The company is on an expansion drive as it seeks to grow its mission. The Paris-based company acquired two Spanish faux fur specialists in recent years, including Silmatex in 2022 and Areto Textil in 2023. With these facilities, Ecopel will be able to quickly scale Flur production.

Another acquisition is in the pipeline as the company expands its production in Europe, in part to work more closely with luxury brands. Luxury brands are seeking near-shored supply chains that can produce smaller quantities in shorter amounts of time, as well as reduce their carbon footprints from shipping, Sarfati said.

Sarfati also noted that the company is moving to solar and recycling water at its factories, among other strategies, to reduce its environmental impact across the board.

The upgrades are a big investment, Sarfati said. “But this is the next step where we want to win and take it to the market to show them exactly what we are doing, and what is possible,” he said, of both the quality of cruelty-free textiles and the cleaner supply chain.

With Flur, Ecopel also plans to work directly with brands on product development.

“As we present the plant-based product, we will be able to present a full concept, from the fabrics to the finished garment. And that is very important for us to launch many partnerships,” he said.

Ecopel’s growth strategy also has it eyeing expansion into the U.S. within the next two years.

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