Japanese sportswear firm Asics has taken a stake in Spanish startup Pyrates Smart Fabrics which develops advanced and responsible eco-friendly knit fabrics. Pyrates develops its fabrics, some of which are certified by Oeka-Tex, from vegetable, upcycled and biodegradable fibres.

Asics, which is investing in the company through its Asics Ventures Corporation subsidiary, is planning a capsule collection made from Pyrates fabrics that will launch in early 2020. It continues Pyrates’ journey with Asics after it took part in the first edition of the Japanese company’s Tenkan-Ten Growth Catalyst incubator last year.

Founded by entrepreneur Regina Polanco in 2014, Pyrates’ innovative approach helped it receive funding from the European Union’s Horizon2020 research programme. The Spanish company was one of five startups to receive mentoring, financial support and networking opportunities through the specialist programme.

Following three years of research and development, it has developed a range of nine knitted fabrics designed for the fields of sportswear, underwear, prêt à porter and athleisure. An Asics statement read: “At Asics, sustainability is in our DNA. We aim to include social and environmental considerations in all our business decisions. “Asics continues to introduce advanced technology for our products to improve both sustainability and functionality, and shift to sustainable materials.”