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Melbourne – Tennis players competing at this month’s Australian Open are wearing knitted polo shirts made from the “world’s first cotton-based performance material”, according to luxury fashion brand Ralph Lauren.

The New York firm has developed its RLX Clarus polo shirt using recycled fibre processed by Natural Fiber Welding (NFW).

Ralph Lauren’s chief branding and innovation officer, David Lauren, commented: “With the introduction of the RLX Clarus polo shirt, we are using our most iconic product as a canvas to launch an industry-changing and scalable textile technology – a high-performance apparel product that is created with natural fibres for the first time.”

Ralph Lauren’s ‘sustainable’ performance apparel has been made possible by NFW’s proprietary technology.

NFW's Clarus patented technology uses a closed-loop chemistry process to engineer yarn structures in radical new ways which it says allows natural fibre to compete with synthetics on performance.

What’s more, because the recycled yarns it uses are composites of 100 per cent natural materials, NFW says Clarus fibres are entirely recyclable and designed for endless circulation.

Ralph Lauren invested in NFW’s technology in 2020, with the view to scaling the solution and is now benefitting from the results.

Looking forward, the brand will look to further leverage these ties as it works towards a 2025 target of ensuring all its key materials are sustainably sourced.

“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Ralph Lauren. Through this collaboration, we are paving the way for complete circularity with resulting materials that perform similarly to plastic-based synthetic fabrics,” said Luke Haverhals, CEO at NFW.

“We are pioneering an entirely new system that simultaneously enables all-natural performance fabrics while reducing waste and eliminating the need for synthetic plastics.”

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