The Kuura textile fibre was a key raw material in Laura Rusanen’s M.Sc. thesis called “Merelle – Designer’s role in building a sustainable future”, which she finalised at the end of year 2021 as part of the Master’s Programme in Fashion, Clothing and Textile Design at Aalto University, Finland. The main research question of her thesis was to contemplate on the role and responsibility of a fashion designer in respect to improving the state of the Baltic Sea in the future.
The collection that she created, as part of the practical part of the thesis, focused on what future, Baltic Sea-friendly garments would look like. The collection combines old, traditional materials with new, innovative materials such as the Kuura fibre. It especially avoided the use of fossil-based raw materials that result in microplastic challenges in, for instance, various waterways. The yarn made using Kuura fibre exceeded all expectations by enduring the knitting machine without plying, resulting in a sheer and delicate knit. The thesis was supervised by Professor Pirjo Kääriäinen.
The development of the new Kuura textile fibre is currently in a so-called demo phase. This R&D-focused phase is a joint effort of ITOCHU Corporation and Metsä Group’s innovation company Metsä Spring. The joint venture company between the parties, which was set up in late 2018, is focusing on operating the unique demo plant in Äänekoski, Finland, whilst ITOCHU is assessing the interest in Kuura textile fibre on the markets.