Clothing with sun ultra-high sun protection

Sustainable textiles with UV protection: DESY starts cooperation with fashion start-up J-040

The start-up J-040 plans to develop sustainable clothing with a high SPF to protect those affected by skin and autoimmune diseases from high sun exposure. With its expertise on biomaterials and their nanostructure analysis, DESY supports in the field of materials research.

Going outside and enjoying the sunshine: What most people take for granted in summer can be a health risk for others. At least five million people worldwide suffer from systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the most common autoimmune disease among the so-called collagenoses, inflammatory rheumatic diseases of the connective tissue. The exact causes of the disease are not yet fully understood. However, UV radiation poses a significant risk; it contributes to weakening the immune system, damaging organs, and can even cause cancer.

Fashion designer Jennifer Johnsen herself is suffering from SLE. With her Hamburg-based label J-040, she plans to create collections that incorporate UV protection with SPF 50+ while being fashionable and sustainable. "Currently, there are no products made from exclusively biological substances for UV protection. Everything that exists so far limits fashion and health - mostly heavy, stiff and synthetic fabrics, often black. These even trigger the symptoms of chronically ill people. We want to change that," explains the founder. "Our goal is to create UV protection based on natural materials. We want to create something skin- and environmentally friendly, which would work with any any fabric, regardless of patterns or light summer fabrics." With her start-up, she wants to redesign fashion so that it has a positive effect on people and the environment. "My vision is to offer those affected protection with healthy textiles," says Jennifer Johnsen. Symptoms of other diseases such as albinism, neurodermatitis or the pigment disorder vitiligo are intensified by UV light as well, all these patients could benefit from these developments.

To expand knowledge about environmentally friendly and UV-resistant textiles, DESY and the start-up J-040 now want to launch a network for healthy textiles. "The aim of our collaboration is to encourage an exchange of information and discussions on the topic of sustainable fabrics with UV protection and to jointly build up expertise in this field," says Stephan Roth, head of beamline P03 at DESY and associate professor at KTH Stockholm, who is leading the collaboration on behalf of DESY. With his research group, he contributes his expertise in sustainable materials as well as their deposition and structural characterization. "The high-resolution X-ray light from our PETRA III storage ring is ideally suited for exploring the nanostructures from the biomaterials that are applied to the textiles - this allows us to optimize UV protection," explains Stephan Roth. "Using our specially developed spraying technology, we can also spray natural substances onto the fabrics over a large area on an industrial scale," he adds. Together, DESY and J-040 want to further develop the materials, application techniques and adapt them to fabrics. Both are now looking for additional partners from industry and science with expertise in textile technology and in the coating of textiles.

The DESY Start-up Office has included J-040 in its start-up program, in the context of the Hamburg-based platform 'beyourpilot‘, which provides knowledge-based start-ups with assistance and consulting services.


Network "Healthy Textiles":
Are you interested in joining our network? Please contact Dr. Nadja Kölpin:


  • 2022/01/21

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