Anne Charles Reboux hemp textile RBX Creations

RBX Créations, the revival of textiles, an industry that is turning to more respectful raw materials. Interview with Anne and Charles REBOUX, founders of RBX Créations

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The textile industry is facing a revival and some players such as RBX Créations are concretely triggering these changes. It must be said that the sector is subject to many environmental issues and it is now facing an awareness at all scales. The textile industry is one of the most polluting industries.

According to Youmatter, the most polluting dimension in the textile industry is the production of raw materials. Indeed, to produce the raw materials that make up clothing, the industry uses large quantities of water, pesticides and emits CO2 emissions. For example, to produce 1 kilo of cotton, it would take no less than 10,000 liters of water.

In addition, to this excessive consumption of water, we must add all the chemical treatments inflicted on the materials as well as the greenhouse gas emissions that result. Today, faced with the climate emergency, consciences are awakening and some players such as RBX Créations are developing solutions to transform and unveil a more respectful textile industry. Indeed, the Neuillac-based start-up develops raw materials for the textile sector with a low environmental impact. The founders Anne and Charles Reboux brother and sister, look back on their entrepreneurial adventure and the elements that pushed them to break the codes of the textile industry.

What prompted you to embark on the entrepreneurial adventure?

Originally the career of Anne and Charles, the two founders of RBX Créations started far from the textile industry. Indeed, Anne went to business school and worked as a consultant in a consulting firm. For his part, Charles works as a podiatrist. In connection with his profession, he is interested in the design of shoes, especially mountain shoes.

To push the reflection, he began research on raw materials. During trips to Asia, he had the opportunity to visit textile factories and drew a formative assessment. Indeed, when he gets closer to the industrialists, he faces an observation. The supply of recycled and ecological raw materials is almost non-existent. At the same time, Anne seeks to give meaning to her professional career while getting closer to her values. This is how the idea of valuing more respectful raw materials was born.

Faced with this observation we began to wonder about the production of hemp-based raw material.

Charles REBOUX, founder of RBX Créations

In 2015, it was with an ambitious vision that the two entrepreneurs decided to embark on the entrepreneurial adventure. A year later, RBX Créations was born in Neuillac. Its location is important first of all because it is the territory of origin of the two founders. At the same time, the proximity to the countryside and farmers keeps a foot firmly anchored in the sector. Today the team consists of 6 partners who provide advice and experience on strategy, development, accounting…

In the textile industry market, plastic and cotton account for 90-95% of the raw materials used and the figure does not change much

Charles REBOUX, founder of RBX Créations

If environmental awareness leads them to push the doors of entrepreneurship, it is also the common thread of their daily approach. Indeed, it fuels their motivation to improve the impact of raw material production.

What is the concept of RBX Créations and what solutions are being developed to create a revival of the textile industry?

RBX Créations develops respectful raw materials with the aim of using them in multiple application cases. The start-up divides its activity with two brands. On the one hand, there is Gorfoo which offers finished products such as bags, T-shirts, caps made of natural and ecological materials. Each product highlights a raw material. For example, there are cork bags or shoes with cinnamon soles. Behind this brand, there is also a search for originality and pedagogy.

Gorfoo products are original, easy to wear and comfortable products

Anne REBOUX, founder of RBX Créations
Anne Charles Reboux products RBX Créations
Anne and Charles Reboux with their products. Photographs: RBX Créations

On the other hand, Iroony constitutes 90% of RBX Créations’ activity. This brand is intended for the development of techniques to use hemp as a raw material. Indeed, if the awareness is gradually coming to manufacturers and consumers, there is also new knowledge about the techniques of production of more respectful raw materials. However, the development of these techniques requires a long process in order to permanently install these new methods. RBX Créations is therefore developing its concept gradually thanks to an R&D approach.

For Iroony, RBX Créations calls on French farmers. The brand uses 80% hemp and the rest is dedicated to flax. France is also the leading producer of hemp in Europe. The hemp used is Mellois hemp, this hemp crop is a group of farmers who have been producing hemp since 2005. It is a structure rooted in the economic landscape. It is stable and has growth prospects.

The manufacture of raw materials is done from a part of the plant, the stem. The seed is valued for food or cosmetics. RBX Créations has chosen hemp as a raw material because it is a plant that has interesting ecological agronomic advantages.

How is the R&D approach organized within RBX Créations?

The R&D principle takes place within the Iroony brand with the objective of making textile hemp more innovative and efficient. The aim of the approach is to remove the brakes on the agricultural and textile parts.

We are working to make hemp an innovative and efficient material through new processes

Anne REBOUX, founder of RBX Créations
Anne Charles Reboux hemp production RBX Creations
At RBX Créations, R&D is organized to produce innovative textiles. Photographs: RBX Créations

In order to develop this research, RBX Créations was able to benefit from the support of ADEME and the Nouvelle Aquitaine Region. They are a financial support thanks to innovation subsidies. RBX’s R&D is based on a network of laboratories, industrialists and the involvement of the two founders.

This work makes it possible to study application cases and determine a scale for production. At the same time, there is a real desire to facilitate the work of farmers and industrialists. Indeed, the objective is not to give more work to farmers and to allow manufacturers not to have to change their production machines. Hemp must be able to enter the production process without changing it.

It may seem simple, but it is complex to integrate a new material into the process

Anne REBOUX, founder of RBX Créations

The results of the research have so far made it possible to produce fibres and filaments with interest for users. Thus, partnerships will emerge in 2022 for different application cases. In addition, Iroony’s process was patented after a year and a half of research. The patent is owned by RBX and has been filed with Europe.

What are the development prospects for RBX Créations?

The Iroony brand of RBX Créations has the ambition to develop. On the one hand, it plans to expand its team, especially with materials engineers to be able to produce on industrial scales. Indeed, on the production side, the objective is to move fairly quickly to the development of a laboratory on a pre-industrial pilot scale by multiplying volumes produced. In 2024/2025 it also wants to set up its own production site.

At the same time, RBX Créations continues to present Iroony’s work at conferences. For example, she received an award with honorable mention at the International Conference on Natural Fibers. Last September, she also attended Première Vision, an important trade fair in the textile industry, and was a finalist for the Enterprise Europe Network award, among 9 European SMEs recognized as the most innovative. Finally, she plans to attend the International Textile Conference in Germany in November.

Thus, the two founders hope to see their project last over time. With optimism and rigor, they want to contribute to the building and see their preferred raw material fit into many application cases.

Sources:

Interview with Anne and Charles Reboux, founders of RBX Création, October 14, 2021

The environmental impact of fashion and fast-fashion” Youmatter, article of February 16, 2021

Gorfoo.net

Iroony.net

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