Graphene One recognized as Top 10 Innovative Suppliers of the year
SSACHS’s Innovations Editor Ruth Kelly recently caught up with Jorge Barros, Founder and CEO of Graphene- X, to learn all about his amazing journey so far, how living in a 60 square metre apartment in Hong Kong fueled his business, and how he’s challenging the status quo.
“We are a Materials Science venture that engineers all-round performance apparel from the strongest material on Earth to empower you to live a boundless life. We believe in quality, not in quantity. Our products are “scienced” to last.”
Four years ago Jorge and his architect wife Claudia moved from their home country Chile where space is not an issue, to Hong Kong, one of the most densely populated places in the world. Suddenly they were faced with the lack of space, that they had never encountered before, were decisions such as buying a new bike, are not only based on financial, technical and aesthetic criteria, but also on space. “Do I have the real estate to house this purchase?”
Jorge started to look at his closet, to really analyze the amount of clothing he owned, and thinking about the space it was taking up. He asked himself – do I really need all of these 10 jackets? Are they actually performing a separate purpose, or do I have multiple versions performing the same function? If technology is moving so fast why do we keep adapting ourselves to our clothing, rather than the other way around? Surely technology should be able to help us simplify our lives?
Reflecting on his own lifestyle, and his love of trail running – (Jorge describes himself as a “normal active guy” not an elite athlete or adventure) he was disappointed with the durability of some well-known brands products. Having spent $600 on an adventure jacket, that ripped on a branch, he wanted more durable product.
So unlike some of the big name brands that obsess with providing for the 0.001% of the population (i.e. the elite of the elite) Jorge wondered what it would be like to focus instead on the regular consumer and try to optimize product for them – with durability as a corner stone of anti fast consumption. Thus their business idea was born : streamline our closets down to key durable apparel pieces to enable an unrestrictive life with greater mobility.
With this notion in mind, Jorge visited the Canton Fair (the bi-annual massive trade fair held in Guangzhou China with more than 25,000 exhibitors, and 200,000 buyers). His mission was to find a supplier who believed in his vision. He’d recently come across Graphene and was interested in using this material with its marvelous properties to create a technical durable jacket with heat management capabilities. After meeting with a bunch of suppliers, he did exactly that, and despite his lack of funding and experience, found his garment supplier. The Alpha jacket was born 2 years later via the partnership formed with that manufacturer.
Having invested his time and created his proto jacket- “the right product”, the question was now “How do I get the right product to the right people?”
Jorge knew he didn’t want to work with investors, which would mean him compromising on his vision for his new brand, so he turned to crowd funding.
After evaluating the top performing brands in the Kickstarter world, Jorge was able to connect and talk with one of these successful founders. The biggest takeaway from that conversation? The most relevant element of your business to focus on is the product.
October 19 the Alpha jacket was launched. In just 30 days 2,000 customers in 70 countries pledged $250 (for a total campaign of half a million USD to the Kickstarter campaign of the Alpha Series jacket. Jorge saw this as a huge promise and responsibility, as these new customers had given their money without even touching the product!
With the second successful campaign for the graphene pants and now 5000 customers across 70 countries, Jorge is starting to need 48 hour days. However he hasn’t forgotten that advise and has worked very hard to obtain his 4.9/ 5.0 Kickstarter rating.
Customer service is so fundamental to his brand, that his first employee is looking after customer service.
So what’s next for Jorge? Well he’s not looking for or accepting investment. The plan is to grow, but keeping true to his core values and beliefs. In order to work with a diverse and engaging talent pool, Jorge has created the Backers Board of Directors. This is an innovative program were interested people (Data Scientist, Product Developers, CFO’s to name just a few) can apply to be on the board of directors for 1 year. In return for their time and knowledge, they will be rewarded with a 1% share of the revenues.
We can’t wait to see the new products that will be launched 2021-2022 from the Graphene-X team, that will take graphene integration to a whole new level.
Graphene-X is a corporate member of the Graphene Council. You can read more about Graphene-X’s Supply chain here.
QS Group, and through its subsidiaries Armor Guys and Graphene One has long been a pioneer in responsible and environmentally friendly manufacturing practices. Beginning in 1993 when QS Safety began operations, the company believed in doing its part to produce products in the most ethical and environmentally way possible. As the business has grown over the past 25 years, QS Safety remains committed to this and is still at the forefront in making investments that are viable for the business as well as the environment.
Wastewater Treatment Facility
As part of the overall manufacturing plan for QS and its subsidiaries, a state of the art wastewater treatment plan was designed and brought into operation. The on-site treatment facility allows QS to successfully manage their water and waste operations in accordance with government regulations and minimizing the impact to the surrounding environment.
Waste Gas Control Facility
Another key component of QS Safety operation’s is the use of an onsite waste gas control facility. The rapid growth of China as an industrialized nation, resulted in massive air pollution that has not been well regulated. QS Safety sought to do their part in managing the air pollution output by installing a state-of-the art waste gas facility that far exceeds the standards in China as shown in the table below.
In 2007, QS Group established QS Solar as a new entity to further pursue doing its part for the environment. After making a nearly $80,000,000 in USD capital investment to establish a 500MW production capacity facility, QS Solar has become one of the most well-known solar companies around the world. QS Solar produces state-of-the-art solar panels for domestic and international customers and has invested in its own operations to make them more energy efficient.
QS Solar manufacturing facilities are operating with more than 60MW of solar capacity, including 1.05MW of BIPV solar plants on our own factory roof (see picture below). QS Group is able to harness 50% of their demand for electricity from the solar energy. QS Group’s vision is to bring more green energy to the world and through QS Solar they’re able to do just that.
QS Safety’s operations are certified ISO 140001:2015 for environmental management and ISO 9001:2015 for quality management. QS and its subsidiaries are committed to producing the highest quality products in the most environmentally responsible manner.
Kyorene graphene fiber has been tested (in a safety glove) and has been Oeko-Tex certified to be completely free from harmful chemicals and safe for human use.
As performance and sustainability gain influence with consumers, suppliers like Advance Denim understand it is not enough to provide one without the other. And the mill’s solution is Kyorene Graphene Denim, denim fabric infused with graphene nano particles, “the lightest, thinnest, hardest and strongest material known to man.”
Kyorene Graphene Denim is essentially an all-in-one fabric, and its application is a low impact, environmentally safe process.
Described as a “super material” that is 1,000-times finer than human hair, yet is 100-times stronger than steel, the single-layer graphene fiber enhances denim with bacteriostatic and deodorizing properties, and effectively protects skin by blocking ultraviolet rays.
Fabrics infused with graphene also possess strong cooling and wicking properties, and have far-infrared heating which can improve microcirculation and promote metabolism.
Since its discovery in 2004 by professors at the University of Manchester in the U.K., graphene has been applied to batteries, spacesuits, cut-free gloves, high performance bicycles and activewear, but its potential for everyday apparel like jeans, said Mark Ix, Advance Denim director of marketing, North America, is just beginning, especially as consumers are seeking antibacterial alternatives.
“As we learn more of the benefits of graphene, we feel [there will be] truly be more exciting applications,” he said. “It truly is a future fiber.”
Advance Denim is deeply rooted in its heritage as the first denim mill in China, but it also has its eye on the future. Advance strives to be true to denim yet also endeavors to be innovative and groundbreaking at the same time.
We have been pioneering many sustainable innovations in the past three years as we look inward and invest in green manufacturing throughout our entire process. These sustainable innovations have been considerable, and we have introduced Big Box dying, closed loop finishing and the aggressive goal of using 90 percent green fibers in all our styles by 2023. Advance Denim will continue to invest in sustainability throughout our whole manufacturing process, but at the same time will continue to use our experience, vision and technology to bring our customers the newest cutting-edge innovations in denim.
It is a historically challenging period for the whole world with disruptions in every facet of our lives. The COVID-19 pandemic will certainly change many aspects of consumer and retail behavior. These changes will be widespread and unprecedented but will certainly take shape in the coming months.
Advance Denim is expanding its Advanctech line of technical denims in response to potential needs in the market. Answering customers’ requests, we have introduced two new concepts that center around safety and protection. These two groundbreaking concepts focus on protecting your health and safety but derive their active ingredients from two very different places.
The first product we are debuting is Kyroene Single-Layer Graphene Denim. Graphene is a super material that was discovered in 2004 by two physicists in the United Kingdom. These future Nobel Prize winners adhered a simple piece of tape to a block of graphite. When they pulled the tape off, they discovered the lightest, thinnest and strongest material known to man.
Graphene is only one atom thick and is bonded in a honeycomb lattice that despite being so thin and strong is an excellent conductor of both heat and electricity. The key aspect that we were interested in is that graphene acts as an anti-bacterial that actually destroys the cell membrane of bacteria on contact. The antibacterial properties of graphene are exciting, but it also acts as an anti-UV and anti-static, and it reflects far infrared energy back into your body to promote wellbeing.
Kyroene Single-Layer Graphene Denim uses a patented method of infusing the graphene into the fiber so its antimicrobial properties will last for the life of the garment. Advance feels that Graphene Denim is the fabric of the future that is perfect for today.
Advance Denim has also developed Careplus+C denim. Careplus+C is also an antimicrobial denim that uses fibers infused with chitin as its active ingredient. Chitin is a polymer extracted from marine algae and shells that prevents the growth of bacterial and fungal microorganisms. It does this by forming a polymer membrane that prevents bacteria from absorbing nutrients, thus preventing cell division. The bacteriostatic rate of chitin-infused fabrics can be as high as 99 percent.
Careplus+C denim not only acts as an antimicrobial and anti-odor but as a skin moisturizer that is safe and nontoxic, providing safety and comfort all in one fabric.
Advance Denim will continue to rely on its experience, technical expertise and vision to offer our customers the most cutting-edge denim styles that address the world’s changing needs. Styles like Kyroene Single-Layer Graphene Denim and Careplus+C add new options for personal protection but as with all of our styles, they do this without sacrificing the look and feel of true vintage denim. Cutting-edge technologies and true vintage shades and constructions create the Future Vintage styles that are the foundation of Advance Denim.
Click here to learn more about Advance Denim.
Graphene, as the thinnest, hardest, most conductive and new nanometer carbon material, has been praised as “black gold” and “king of new materials” in the industry . Graphene not only has excellent electrical properties (electron mobility up to 200,000 cm2/Vs at room temperature), light weight, good thermal conductivity (5000 W/mK), large specific surface area (2630 m2/g), young’s modulu s (1100 GPa) and rupture strength (125 GPa), but also has some unique properties, such as quantum hall effect, quantum tunneling effect, etc . Since 2004, when professor Geim’s group at the university of Manchester successfully obtained graphene by mechanical stripping, it has attracted worldwide attention and attracted numerous researchers to pursue the dream of new materials . Graphene can be widely used in lithium ion battery electrode materials, supercapacitors, solar battery electrode materials, thin film transistor preparation, sensors, semiconductor devices, transparent display touch screens and transparent electrodes, etc. (as shown in figure 1).Graphene is combined with ordinary fiber, which has special functions such as antibacterial, anti-mite, anti-heat, anti-cutting, anti-static, anti-ultraviolet, far-infrared heating and conduction cooling.