Natural Fiber Welding partners with Ralph Lauren to showcase eco-friendly performance technology at Australian Open

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A local eco-friendly textile startup is partnering with Ralph Lauren to bring its cotton-based performance technology to the world stage.

Natural Fiber Welding introduced a Ralph Lauren polo shirt made of CLARUS at the Australian Open, which goes until the end of January.

“When people think about moisture-wicking and quick-drying and breathable and things like that, typically people use synthetics. We’re not only doing that with cotton, but we’re doing with recycled cotton,” said Dr. Luke Haverhal, the company’s founder.

Haverhal, a former U.S. Naval Academy chemistry professor, said performance fabrics contain plastics made from petrochemicals. Their technology is recycled plant matter from cotton, a sustainable and all-natural alternative to petrochemicals that destroy the environment.

“Back in my days as a chemistry professor in the lab, I made a discovery about how we can use the most abundant low-cost, redundant, diverse natural resources that just exist already,” he said. “You know stuff that comes from photosynthesis. Then it unleashes a resource potential that lets everybody on the planet live better and low and with less cost of resources.”

Haverhal said hopes CLARUS will become the go-to textile for performance fabrics and beyond.

“We’re scaling up an ecosystem sort of approach to materials that’s going into textile markets and footwear and auto interiors and really pushing the boundaries of where you get your stuff from. Ralph Lauren is this an amazing partner putting us on the tip of the spear, so to speak, within the performance apparel world and making that systematic change that the world needs,” he said.

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