Revolutionizing industries with antimicrobial, sustainable, and high-performance textiles

Published on 2023-08-03

Startup Story

Interview with Mirella, CTO of Respectlife: a fabric that revolutionizes industries with its antimicrobial, sustainable, and high-performance properties, offering a new standard of comfort and environmental responsibility.

As an individual with firsthand experience in the healthcare sector, I have witnessed the profound impact infections can have on patient outcomes and treatment. One significant concern revolves around bacterial contamination of fabrics, as frequent contact often leads to cross-contamination. Additionally, the textile industry's ecological footprint poses a significant challenge. With these issues in mind, Cristina, our textile expert, Alberto, our CEO, and I embarked on a journey to create a groundbreaking solution.

We identified a material commonly used in surgery for its remarkable ability to inhibit bacterial growth. This material not only possesses exceptional antimicrobial properties but is also highly sustainable and fully recyclable. Combining our expertise and passion for making a positive impact, we have developed a textile that addresses the challenges we set out to solve.

The potential of respect life fabric: revolutionizing comfort, sustainability, and performance

In our search to redefine textiles, we have uncovered a multitude of advantages and proven benefits associated with Respectlife fabric.

First and foremost, let's address allergies. Respectlife fabric, crafted from polypropylene, is completely hypoallergenic. With its long-standing reputation in the surgical field, polypropylene boasts outstanding qualities such as strength, inertness, biocompatibility, and seamless integration with human tissues, eliminating the risk of toxicity. When it comes to infections, our fabric's super-hydrophobic nature acts as a barrier against bacterial colonization while remaining impervious to viral retention. Furthermore, Respectlife fabric offers protection against harmful UV rays, ensuring a safe and shielded experience under the sun.

Our meticulous approach considers the end use of garments. We carefully select polypropylene accessories and maintain the material's purity throughout the production process. Leveraging our in-depth knowledge of the raw material, we create elastic fabrics without the need for elastomers. Advanced technologies, such as ultrasonic welding and seamless cutting, allow us to deliver garments without hems or stitches. Additionally, any waste generated is either repurposed for other products or directed towards recycling initiatives.

Comfort is a paramount focus for us as it reduces stress and enhances attentiveness. Our fabrics are soft, smooth, and minimize friction against the skin. They adapt to the body's contours, providing a cool and fresh sensation while resisting odors, dirt, and color fading. These fabrics remain unchanged over time, ensuring a consistently pleasant wearing experience.

The fiber used in Respectlife is hailed as the most environmentally friendly among natural and man-made alternatives. It outperforms others in standardized measurements of environmental, social, and labor impacts, as reflected in the "Higg Index."

We have also revolutionized the dyeing process. Our dry coloration technique eliminates the need for water, significantly reducing energy consumption and preventing pollution from colored wastewater. Our fabrics boast excellent color fastness ensuring vibrant and long-lasting hues.

When it comes to end use, Respectlife shines once again. It is fully recyclable and transforms into a valuable second raw material, contributing to the circular economy.

Now, let's turn our attention to the proven benefits of Respectlife. It offers a lifespan far surpassing that of cotton, making it a durable and sustainable choice. The fabric's lightweight and breathable nature provides exceptional comfort and wearability, while also offering insulation to regulate body temperature.

Specifically in terms of washing, Respectlife exhibits remarkable stain resistance, resulting in reduced energy, water, and detergent consumption. The washing process becomes quicker and more efficient, making it an eco-friendly choice.

Proven benefits include hypoallergenic properties, resistance to bacteria and viruses, and the absence of fiber dispersion or lint. Respectlife stands as a testament to our commitment to revolutionising the textile industry by embracing comfort, sustainability, and performance.

As we continue to push the boundaries of innovation, Respectlife sets a new standard for excellence, offering a world where fashion and responsibility effortlessly intertwine.

Benefits across industries and stakeholders: some examples

The benefits of adopting Respectlife fabric extend to various stakeholders across different industries. Let's explore these advantages and provide a case study showcasing our solution in action.

Stakeholders in the sportswear industry can leverage our fabric to create high-performance apparel that ensures comfort, breathability, and antimicrobial properties. Similarly, in the fashion industry, our fabric enables the production of stylish and sustainable garments that prioritize both aesthetics and ecological responsibility.

Another notable application lies in school uniforms, where our fabric promotes hygiene and reduces the risk of infection transmission among students. 

Additionally, the use of Respectlife fabric in bed sheets within operative settings, such as San Matteo Hospital in Pavia, demonstrates its potential in healthcare facilities. 

Ethical committee-approved study protocols have validated the fabric's antibacterial and antiviral activity, and its non-dispersive nature ensures no release of dust particles. The fabric's utilization in intensive care settings further emphasizes its versatility and effectiveness.


The versatility of Respectlife: revolutionizing multiple industries

Our aim is to cater to a wide range of businesses, offering services that meet their unique needs. While the fabric's antibacterial properties make it a natural fit for the healthcare industry, its applications extend far beyond that realm, even encompassing the fashion industry.

By combining the traditional essence of the textile industry with our innovative approach, we have created a fabric that is adaptable for various purposes. Our fabric finds immense value in enhancing hygiene within care facilities, ensuring a clean and safe environment. Its high-performance characteristics make it an ideal choice for sports activities, providing stability and durability. Additionally, its sustainable qualities make it a perfect fit for the fashion industry, aligning style with environmental responsibility.

One particular achievement that fills us with pride is our denim fabric, suitable for crafting all types of jeans. By infusing this staple of fashion with our Respectlife, we offer a unique blend of comfort, style, and sustainability.

Whether it's healthcare, sports, or fashion, our fabric opens up new horizons for businesses, delivering solutions that promote hygiene, performance, and ecological consciousness. We strive to make a positive impact across industries, revolutionizing the way fabric is perceived and utilized.


Respectlife fabric differs from traditional textile materials


Respectlife fabric outperforms traditional textile materials in terms of environmental footprint. It significantly reduces energy, water, and detergent consumption, offering a sustainable alternative.

Moreover, when it comes to infection prevention, our fabric takes the lead. Cotton and polyester, commonly used materials, have been shown to facilitate the spread of infections. In fact, the median survival time for bacteria and fungi on these fabrics can reach up to 26 days. In contrast, Respectlife fabric possesses inherent antimicrobial properties, preventing infection transmission without the need for chemicals. This crucial feature ensures the safety and well-being of individuals while limiting the spread of drug resistance, safeguarding both human health and the environment.

Redefining disposable protection and minimizing environmental impact

Disposable gowns are commonly used in healthcare settings as a protective barrier. However, their frequent disposal is necessary to prevent cross-contamination and maintain infection control. Unfortunately, proper disposal is not always ensured, leading to potential environmental hazards. Our startup provides a compelling solution. With its inherent antimicrobial properties, Respectlife fabric serves as a viable alternative for low-contamination scenarios in everyday clinical practice. By utilizing Respectlife fabric, healthcare facilities can minimize reliance on single-use disposable gowns, reducing waste generation and contributing to a more sustainable future.

Looking beyond healthcare, we are also working on developing a waterproof textile specifically for surgical theatres. This innovative fabric will provide a reliable protective barrier, ensuring optimal infection control during surgical procedures.

Driving positive social and environmental change

When considering the overall impact of our solution, both from a social and environmental standpoint, the numbers speak for themselves. From a social perspective, the issue of microbial resistance to antibiotics is a pressing concern. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that by 2050, 10 million lives will be lost due to antibiotic resistance.
By utilizing Respectlife fabric, which inherently prevents infections and limits the spread of resistance without the use of chemicals, we contribute to combating this global health challenge.

In terms of environmental impact, the numbers become equally significant. Within healthcare facilities, the production of disposable waste is a significant concern. On average, one to two kilograms of disposable waste per day per patient is generated. By adopting Respectlife, we can significantly reduce the volume of waste produced, minimizing its environmental footprint. Comparatively, the water consumption of Respectlife fabric is remarkably lower than that of traditional cotton. The production of 1 kilogram of cotton requires approximately 10,000 liters of water, whereas Respectlife fabric only requires 0.6 liters. Similarly, when it comes to coloring cotton, around 150 liters of water are needed. In contrast, our dry coloration approach eliminates the need for water entirely.

Overcoming challenges for a sustainable and innovative solution

Our journey in developing Respectlife has not been without challenges. From finding the right prototypes to refining the design and collaborating with the healthcare system, we have encountered obstacles along the way. However, with the support of a dedicated team of passionate and competent professionals, we have tackled these challenges head-on.

One of the main hurdles we faced was the need to produce a mono-material textile at low temperatures using only mechanical processes. We aimed to achieve optimal dimensions, stability, and elasticity without the use of additional substances. Through perseverance and a commitment to excellence, we have made significant progress, and our team is confident in the readiness of our manufacturing process.

Collaborating with the healthcare system has also presented its own set of challenges. However, the support and expertise provided by healthcare professionals have been invaluable. Their guidance and insights have helped shape the development of Respectlife fabric, ensuring its suitability for use in healthcare settings.

As we reflect on the challenges we have faced, we are proud of the progress we have made. The development of our fabric has been a journey of innovation and collaboration, where every obstacle has presented an opportunity for growth and improvement. We remain dedicated to overcoming challenges and refining our fabric to deliver the highest quality and performance to our customers.

Looking forward, we are excited to continue pushing the boundaries of textile technology and making a positive impact in various industries, including healthcare, fashion, and beyond.


About the author

Mirella Civardi

CTO at Respectlife