Petri Alava previously worked for huge firms, where he sold everything from gardening supplies to magazines.

While managing a Finnish start-up where wearing socks to work is common, he proudly wears a round-neck T-shirt made out of recycled material tucked into some loose shorts. His company, Infinited Fiber, has made significant investments in a method that might turn textile waste—waste that would often be burned or dumped in landfills—into fresh fabric for garments. At the moment, fiber, also known as Infinna, is used by international companies including Patagonia, H&M, and Inditex, which owns Zara. According to Mr. Alava, it is a high-end textile material that eliminates a significant waste issue and feels and appears natural, like cotton. According to the non-profit Global Fashion Agenda, 92 million metric tons of textile waste are reportedly produced globally each year, and if present trends in the production of clothing are maintained, this quantity is predicted to increase to over 134 million metric tons by 2030.

Although the majority of the science needed to produce fiber has been known since the 1980s, recent rapid technological developments have made large-scale production more possible.