Rapanui’s Groundbreaking Textiles Innovation

Our friends over at Rapanui clothing have some fantastic news.  In partnership with the University of Isle of Wight, they have developed something monumental.  A product that will change the face of textiles for ever.  Check out their press release…

Invisible T-shirt Breakthrough

An eco-fashion brand has taken an innovative approach to the issue of transparency and traceability within the fashion industry by developing a new fabric that can make t-shirts appear invisible.

In partnership with the University of The Isle of Wight, eco-fashion brand Rapanui has taken the light transmitting properties of optic fibres and woven a jersey fabric to create an invisible t-shirt. The technology captures light on one side of a garment and relays it on to the opposite side.

Martin Drake-Knight, Designer at Rapanui explains:
“The research has been around for a long time but the principle is actually quite simple – to take light from the front of the garment and relay it to the back – and vice versa. Optic fibres are simply light conductive threads. They capture the light in the space immediately surrounding the garment and relay them through the threads. If you can direct this light directly out of the shirt, as we have done, the result is a vivid perception of invisibility.”

The University of The Isle of Wight assisted with the project and hope to develop variants of the fabric for a wide range of applications. However Textiles specialist Professor Barry Green said it would be “quite some time” before the technology could come to market, adding that an early idea would be to make landfill sites invisible: “Sustainability is an out-of-sight, out-of-mind problem. We can throw invisible t-shirts in open-air landfill sites – or even just on the street – and nobody will know they are there.”

In a recent interview fashion designer Wayne Hemmingway spoke of the Award-Winning eco fashion brand:
“What Rapanui is doing is game changing; they are at the forefront of fashion technology. People will see what they are doing and will want to copy it.”

Rapanui Co-founder Rob Drake-Knight comments:
“We are delighted to announce this innovation; we hope it helps to raise awareness of transparency and traceability within fashion.”


Notes to Editor
For further information please contact Rob Drake-Knight, on 01983 409790 or email [email protected].

About Rapanui:

At Rapanui we design and make casual wear in line with the latest trends, but from more sustainable materials. We use ethically accredited factories that are powered by wind and solar energy – and by using cutting edge eco-textiles, we create products that have a unique natural softness and feel when worn.

The result is clothing that looks great and feels great too. Whilst the organic, ethical and low carbon approach to our supply chain is unique, our real contribution to sustainability has come from the traceability of our products, our work towards improving traceability in our industry and the conversation this has sparked between shoppers, brands and manufacturers. Using our trace mapping tool, at Rapanui you can find out exactly where our products come from, how and where they are made: From the seed being sewn, picked, spun, sewn and transported. It is traceability from seed to shop.


Rapanui is also working with MEPs to lobby the EU to develop a potentially industry-changing ecolabelling system to summarise the detailed and often confusing information on clothes packaging, and make it easy for consumers to shop quickly with a conscience. This ability to make a quick informed choice is something missing from, but entirely compatible with, the high street. This work has gained national recognition in the press and at awards ceremonies and has been taken on by high street brands looking to replicate our success.  A draft proposal is set to be presented at a parliamentary commission later this year, with a view to be proposed as EU legislation.

In just 3 years of trading, this exciting new brand has already made a substantial contribution to sustainable fashion and created real change in an industry plagued with bad ethics. Mart Drake-Knight, designer, sums up Rapanui.

“Fashion is like no other medium, in that you literally dress yourself in what you believe in. Rapanui gives people a choice to vote with their wallet for ethical fashion. We want to use the power of fashion to make eco cool, and design traceable, transparent products that let you shop quickly with a conscience.”

Rapanui was founded in 2008 by Rob and Martin Drake-Knight, now aged 25 and 27, with £200 savings. They feature on the Future 100 list of Top Young Entrepreneurs, whilst Rapanui featured on the Top 100 Start-ups list of 2008. They have sought no investment and make every effort to encourage other young people to believe in their ability to create successful, sustainable businesses.  For more information visit http://www.rapanuiclothing.com/ethical-fashion/eco-labelling-clothing.html

Buy RAPANUI at EthicalSuperstore.com

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1 Response

  1. 1st April 2012

    […] original here: Rapanui's Groundbreaking Textiles Innovation | Ethical Blog from … {March 31, 2012} « General Assembly budget impasse frustrates locals Palm Sunday […]

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