Photos by Janneke Tol
Fashion may be ephemeral, but our clothing doesn’t have to be. At least, that’s the philosophy behind “Removable Prints” by Refinity’s Fioen van Balgooi. The Dutch designer has developed a set of textile inks that can be stripped from a garment before it’s sent for reprinting. “We stop wearing our clothes when we are tired of them, while prints are permanent,” she says. “What would happen if we have the possibility to replace prints on textiles? In other words, to remove prints and add new ones to make fabrics last.”
Van Balgooi envisions a happy medium between short trend cycles and the longevity of raw materials. Together with Anne Noordegraaf and More Tea Vicar, van Balgooi created a capsule collection of garden-inspired pieces from Global Organic Textile Standard-certified organic cotton, Tencel threads, and corozo-nut buttons.
The machine-washable prints can be worn more than once, but they can also be replaced by a different design when you tire of them.
Neither the inks nor the special process used to remove them contain harmful substances, according to van Balgooi. The prints are machine-washable, meaning they can be worn more than once, but they can also be replaced by a different design so fewer resources are required for new items of clothing. Prints can also be removed before a textile is recycled, creating a fabric that can be shredded and re-spun into a high-quality, solid-colored thread.
Refinity isn’t done tweaking its system, however. Van Balgooi is working to adapt the inks for different types of fibers, create a take-back program for the resulting textile items, and close the loop on the printing and print-removal process. She’s also exploring the use of solar power to drive the service.