Smart thinking from New Zealand design company The Formary has met the needs of global coffeehouse Starbucks as it moves to enhance its store interiors.

The Formary has conceived and designed a revolutionary new fabric called “WoJo” which blends New Zealand Laneve wool with fibre from Starbucks recycled jute coffee sacks. Each square meter of fabric includes 70% wool, and 30% jute fibre.

The innovative, sustainable fabric will be used in a range of Starbucks seating, reflecting Starbucks’ commitment to ethical sourcing and environmental stewardship.

This five year programme will see WoJo initially being introduced to some Starbucks coffeehouses in the UK and to other stores in the EMEA region over time, with the aspiration of the textile being used in all Starbucks markets.

“We’re very fortunate and delighted to work with The Formary to help produce this wonderful sustainable product.  The unique production process, which overcomes many previous technical barriers, enables us to reuse our coffee sacks and reintroduce them into our stores in a way that further enhances their interiors for our customers,” says Thom Breslin, director of design, Starbucks UK and Ireland.

WoJo is being unveiled at UK Wool Week (11-17 October), and will be featured at Starbucks’ flagship Conduit Street coffeehouse in London’s West End.

The Formary’s director Bernadette Casey said that production of the fabric was the result of a collaborative effort from a partnership of international companies brought together from the US, UK, Italy and NZ.

“We knew from the outset that to deliver an exceptional product that was both scalable and met Starbucks’ needs, we needed a group of suppliers with a shared commitment to innovation and sustainability, and great track records in their specific fields,” says Bernadette.

Wools of New Zealand was selected for their sustainably farmed Laneve wool; Yorkshire-based weavers Camira manufactured the fabric; and Italian specialists in textile recycling equipment, Dell’Orco & Villani provided the expertise needed to “upcycle” the jute coffee sacks.

The Formary co-founder Bernadette Casey hopes interest in WoJo will help build awareness of the potential to extend the useable life of textile waste through clever and thoughtful redesign.

“We have been working with Starbucks for 18 months now to create WoJo, and are partnering with them on a number of other recycling initiatives. What WoJo proves is that when businesses are willing to innovate and make a sustained commitment to their environmental mission they can make a real difference,” she says.

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