Stella McCartney to Ralph Lauren Have Ventured Into Vegan Leather—Meet Their Supplier | Kanebridge News
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Stella McCartney to Ralph Lauren Have Ventured Into Vegan Leather—Meet Their Supplier

By Nadja Sayej
Sat, Aug 12, 2023 7:30amGrey Clock 3 min

As plant-based materials increasingly replace leather in luxury goods, NFW is one of the companies working behind the scenes to bring vegan materials to fashion brands like Ralph Lauren, Patagonia, and Stella McCartney

This self-proclaimed “material innovations company,” whose name stands for Natural Fiber Welding, is a leader in the wave of vegan materials. NFW’s founder and CEO is Luke Haverhals, who has a PhD in chemistry from the University of Iowa, but always had an interest in economics.

“I asked myself, ‘What is a reasonable way to replace the entire plastics industry, economically speaking?’” Haverhals says. “I was on a quest to make sure humans were less dependent on carbon high toxin materials, I thought what I could do to solve this problem?”

The answer was in plants. Haverhals founded Peoria, Ill.-based NFW in 2015, envisioning a plastic-free future.

“People think plastics are cheap, but they’re among the most expensive and toxic things that humans ever tried to create,” he says.

THE ITEM

NSW provides fabrics for many brands, including Stella McCartney’s MIRUM-made handbags, which are 100% recyclable and circular—meaning at the end of their life, the material can be reused to make something else.

The name of this fabric comes from the Latin word for “miracle,” Haverhals says. “We don’t call it ‘leather,’ but it’s a leather-like material. It allows us to work with fashion designers and brands and we aim to start well, stay clean, and end well with regenerative materials. We don’t add bioplastics or polyurethane.”

The collection of NFW’s Mirum-fabric includes the Falabella MIRUM Tiny Tote Bag and the Frayme bag. They were launched at the Fall/Winter 2023 runway show at Paris Fashion Week in spring of 2023, and are available for pre-order, shipping out this month. They’re the world’s first luxury handbags crafted from this new vegan, plastic-free alternative.

McCartney aims to source 100% of her products from recyclables by 2025. “McCartney has been instrumental to NFW, she is a guiding light to the industry,” Haverhals says. “If we can get more luxury brands onboard, it will be better for others to get clean materials into their products, as well.”

The collection is a “call-to-action to take a stand for our planet,” McCartney said in a statement. “I have long dreamed of the day when we would see a plant-based alternative to leather that does not kill a single creature and can be easily given back to Mother Earth, without creating waste.”

(NFW is also funded by the Collab SOS Fund, a US$200 million fund which invests in companies that power a more sustainable economy. McCartney is one of its co-founders).

THE PRICE

As an example of the luxury goods NFW provides materials for, the Falabella Mirium Tiny Tote Bag sells for US$1,170.

WHAT’S THE GOOD?

NFW uses natural ingredients like vegetable oil and citric acid. “They can easily be turned into natural polymers when they break down,” Haverhals says. “We use natural rubber, cotton, we source regenerative cotton, we use cork, leftover from wine bottles, we use rice hulls, which are thrown out, a lot of things that are overlooked in the supply chain.”

WHAT’S NEXT

The company is gearing up for a launch with Ralph Lauren. It recently opened a factory in Peoria, as part of their expansion, and plans to expand to Europe, Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, and China. “It’s important for us to be in China and we are proud to be partnering with them, helping take care of people and animals on the planet we share,” Haverhals says.

More than 1,500 brands reach out to NFW. “Everyone wants to better their brand,” he says. “When you think of shoes, bags and apparel, we are cleaning up the supply chain,” Haverhals says. “That’s our mission—to enable the world in a transparent, traceable way—where we don’t have any polyurethane goblins hiding in the closet.”



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Preparatory Work for UAE to Oman Hafeet Rail Project Commences at Full Speed
Preparatory Work for UAE to Oman Hafeet Rail Project Commences at Full Speed

Preparations have begun on the transformative UAE to Oman Hafeet Rail network, revealing significant construction details during a site visit.

Thu, May 16, 2024 3 min

The $3bn Hafeet Rail project between the UAE and Oman will feature 60 bridges and a 2.5km tunnel, making it an “architectural and engineering marvel,” according to CEO Ahmed Al Musawa Al Hashemi.

Hafeet Rail has announced that preparatory work is moving full speed ahead for constructing the transformative railway link between the UAE and Oman. This announcement was made during a site visit attended by key officials, members of the Asyad and Hafeet Rail executive management teams, project contractors, and consultants.

Key Highlights

During the visit, attendees were introduced to the main components of the project, including passenger, repair, and shipping stations, as well as major bridges and tunnel sites.

The Hafeet Rail project is set to play a very important role in enhancing local and regional trade, unlocking new opportunities in the infrastructure, transportation, and logistics sectors, and fostering economic diversification. It will also strengthen bilateral relations between the UAE and Oman.

The project will involve constructing 60 bridges, some reaching heights of up to 34 meters, and tunnels extending 2.5 kilometres. The Hafeet Rail team showcased the latest rail technologies and innovative engineering and architectural solutions designed to navigate the challenging geographical terrain and weather conditions while maintaining high standards of efficiency and safety.

The rail network will boost various industrial sectors and economic activities and significantly impact the tourism industry by facilitating easier and faster travel between the two countries.

Ahmed Al Bulushi, Asyad Group Chief Executive Asset, noted that the project’s rapid progress reflects the commitment of the UAE and Oman to developing and realizing the project’s multifaceted benefits.

Investment and Future Impact

Al Bulushi added that investments in developing local capabilities and expertise in rail-related disciplines over recent years have enabled the project to reach the implementation phase successfully under the leadership of highly efficient and professional national talent.

Hafeet Rail’s CEO Ahmed Al Musawa Al Hashemi emphasized, “The commencement of preparatory works for construction is a testament to the robust synergy between all parties involved in both nations, achieving this milestone in record time. We are confidently laying down the right tracks thanks to the shareholders of Hafeet Rail and the expertise of local companies in Oman and the UAE, alongside international partners.”

During the site visit, the visitors explored some of the key preparatory sites, including Wadi Al Jizi, where a 700-meter-long bridge towering 34 meters will be constructed. This ambitious project is envisioned as an architectural and engineering marvel in a complex geographical landscape.

Future phases will require more collaboration, with a continued focus on quality, safety, and environmental considerations in line with the international industry best practices.

The Hafeet Rail project represents the first-of-its-kind railway network linking two Gulf nations, marking a significant shift in regional goods transportation. This efficient and reliable transportation option will reduce dependence on slower and less sustainable road transport.

Hafeet Rail promises a 40% reduction in shipping costs and a 50% in transit times compared to traditional land transportation methods, as it will be connecting five major ports and several industrial and free zones in both countries.

This shift will reduce reliance on road transport by cars and trucks and promote more sustainable shipping practices. The establishment of the railway network will also create significant opportunities for SMEs in construction, engineering, and logistics support, acting as a catalyst for economic growth and innovation within the domestic economy.

By linking major ports, the Hafeet Rail project will enable local SMEs to import, export, and distribute their products more effectively, enhancing their market reach and global competitiveness.

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