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Orange Fiber: a revolutionary fabric from Sicilian oranges

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Sometimes an intuition can lead to a great project. Innovation, sustainability and quality to make the world a better place: these are the ingredients of the idea of two young Italian women, Adriana and Enrica. Their dream comes true by pioneering an innovative process to extract cellulose from citrus juice by-product, transforming it into a refined, high-quality fabric. Their project brings together two pillars from the Italian heritage, textiles and food, and responds to the need of innovation and sustainability in the fashion industry.

The idea

In 2014 Adriana Santanocito was a student of Fashion Design at AFOL Moda – Milano, specializing in textiles, materials and new fashion technology. She knew about the huge amount of citrus juice byproduct, the so-called “pastazzo,” thrown away everyday in her Sicily and proposed a sustainable fabric from citrus byproducts for her thesis. She shared her idea with her Sicilian roommate, Enrica Arena, so they started Orange Fiber, with the collaboration of Politecnico di Milano.

Orange Fiber is now a reality: it's the world’s first and only brand to produce a new and sustainable product from citrus juice byproducts, transforming them into beautiful materials reducing waste as well as pollution. It's surely one of the most  interesting approach to sustainable fashion in the world, an example of creativity for the safeguard of the planet to be proud of.

Orange Fiber for a better world

In Italy every year, more than 700.000 tons of citrus waste are produced and no one before had developed an alternative to disposal.

This enormous amount of waste caused many problems in the past leading to illegal disposal or to the closing of some factories due to the high costs of disposal practices. Orange Fiber is the answer to this problems as well as to the ever-increasing number of consumers demanding sustainable materials and to fashion brands seeking green innovation.

Orange Fiber solution, to extract a raw material from an industrial by-product, not rival to food, could be the answer to the increasing need of cellulose for textile. Their green production of cellulosic fabrics preserves natural resources, does not dispose an industrial waste and does not use natural resources.

Compared to existing man-made fibers from cellulose, either from wood or from hemp and bamboo, Orange Fiber does not require dedicated yields alternative to food consumption or dwilling on natural resources, but reuses a waste thus saving land, water, fertilizers and environmental pollution.

The fabric features

When used in its purest form, the resulting 100% citrus textile features a silk-like cellulose yarn  hand-feel, lightweight.

It can be opaque or shiny according to production needs. It can be blend with other materials, like cotton and silk, and colored and printed as traditional fabrics (inkjet printing and natural colors included).

The Capsule Collection Ferragamo

The very first fashion collection made with the exclusive, high quality Orange Fiber fabric has been launched during the Earth Day 2017 on April 22nd by Salvatore Ferragamo. The Florentine Maison has been the first luxury fashion label to trust in this project, sharing the ethical values underneath it and seeing in it both a challenge and an opportunity.

From this collaboration originates a Capsule Collection for the SS/2017 made up of shirts, dresses, pants and foulards in a silk- like twill, characterized by essential lines and cut, granting naturalness and comfort.

The project is catching more and more the interest and the appreciation of Fashion System, as shown by the current negotiation with FTL Venture Inc, the global venture capital fund founded by Miroslava Duma.

The company has also recently been awarded 150.000 € as the winner of Global Change Award – H&M Foundation: Orange Fiber project has been selected as one of the five winners by the expert jury on over 2,700 projects coming from 112 different countries.

Among the other awards we can remember the "Technology & Innovation Award at Green Carpet Fashion Awards, Italia 2017".

Martina Favaro | Pink Bubbles

www.pinkbubbles.it

info@pinkbubbles.it

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martinafavaro@pinkbubbles.it

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XXIV maggio 8 | 06023 | Gualdo Tadino (PG)

Are Luxury Fashion Brands Sustainable?

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Are you a lover of elegance? We all choose outfits to look the way we would like to express ourselves. Besides the beauty we look for elegance that’s why we often invest a lot to be elegant. What if I tell you that ethical is elegant. Speaking about elegance the first question that comes to my mind are luxury fashion brands sustainable? You might probably tell me, well, it costs because of the quality of the materials and that’s why they are luxurious or because of the uniqueness of the design.

The fact that the uniqueness of the design and the approach used by these fashion brands such as: Gucci, Hermès, Prada, Chanel, Versace and many more applying one of the aspects of sustainability which is quality material and it lasts rather than no quality. Quality over quantity; what about Corporate Social Responsibility? Even some fashion brands like Hermès they hire a designer for each product.  Sustainable fashion might be the future for luxury brands and even sustainability is at the heart of their business model like for Marks & Spencer.  For instance, Stella MCCARTNEY is the world’s first and only vegan luxury brand. They do not think that any animal should give their life for the sake of fashion. Also, they commit to sustainability in their business as described in their official website.

Indeed, I love the fact when it is clearly communicated on the official website of the brand. For some fashion luxurious brands, it is so hard to see clearly responsible communication. That’s the first step a luxurious brand should think about. If there is no information meaning either they have their own niche of consumers or they do not prioritize communicating sustainability or either they prioritize the uniqueness of the design and the collection. I think the best option would be to ask them, send emails if they do really care before buying if it is unclear.

Obviously sustainability covers many points that a luxurious fashion brand should communicate. Besides the luxury and the quality they should emphasize ethical trade, responsible business model, future sustainable plans, corporate social responsibility all these aspects matters in order to build a trust with the Eco-friendly consumer.

The answer to this question is mixed either there is a clear communication about sustainability like for these Brands: Stella MCCARTNEY, EDUNE, Tome, Eileen Fisher, G-STAR Raw. Also, it depends on how the strategy of the Brand is described including the mission, the vision and the values.

For most of known luxurious brands, they highlight la 'Haute couture' rather than 'sustainability'. Also, you might find  'corporate responsibility 'in the menu. I guess it is not enough. Nowadays, things are changing hoping that the luxurious fashion brands would highlight  'sustainability ' and  'Haute couture'.

'' There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger & unhappiness ''.  -Gandhi 

 

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How To Build a Sustainable Fashion Brand Strategy With Values?

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Outfits, looks and styles; we love that. Who behind these designs? Who are the workers behind this brand that we love? Who are the creators who designed this item that we expose to the world? It is an item that makes us warm, expressing ourselves, being confident, going for a date, or attending an event etc in order to feel good. It is simply a feeling that we tend to satisfy. Though, are the workers satisfied? Is our planet satisfied?

A bunch of questions, interactions which sustainability covers ; before all these outfits, looks, and styles there is a strategy, a business idea, a passion, a talent. However, if we combine talent, passion and responsibility we would think about a sustainable strategy before the creation of outfits, looks and styles.

What is a sustainable strategy? It is simply to express your passion responsibly. You would think about all along the process from the conception to the creation. It is a responsible road which leads to a responsible strategy.

For designers who are adopting these methods they think about all along the process. It starts from conception to market launch. The concept is simple; it is often mentioned on websites that a business has values which its commits to in the execution plan if they are sustainably committed.

For instance, let’s say a luxury fashion brand would commit to social corporate responsibility as a value will help them to put actions according to that. Fair trade which fair prices are paid to the producers; workers have great conditions at work place. Empowering women, women develop skills in suing if they have lack of education, charity and so on.

First of all, building strong values could help the right path to sustainability. The success of a sustainable strategy may therefore be measured in terms of its degree of its responsibility. It is all about responsibility.

These are the following values examples that could be adopted in order to measure the degree of responsibility:

• Corporate social responsibility ;

• Responsible innovation (is a large concept, but it could be a value. It is defined by the European Commission as a transparent and interactive process by means of which social actors and innovators must interact and work together in line with given opportunities, to ensure that societal ethical stakes are preserved ) ;

• Commitment ;

• Ethical ;

• Eco-Friendly ;

• Transparency;

Etc.

Moreover, an adequate understanding of these values is building in general a sustainable strategy. Thus, a deep understanding of which value corresponding for a specific fashion brand might be interesting.

There are too many that the brand could commit too. However, these examples depend on the condition of the brand to choose the right values corresponding with its responsibility in general.

The goal of these values is to improve sustainability, the environment and social being. Thus the value added is commitment to the path. All the actions, outfits, looks and styles will follow in the creation process.

Let’s empower ethical and commit.       

                                                                           

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Are You a Responsible Innovator?

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I often follow my heart when about choosing items; I look most of the time for credibility of the brand, story, and ethical values. Also, I require knowledge to differentiate so I exactly followed my heart for this article.

When you are a conscious person, you need knowledge, learning new things make us take conscious choices and you need that knowledge in order to realize the negative circumstances of our consumerism. I believe that without this knowledge we wouldn’t measure the impacts.

We usually talk about sustainability; you know that responsible innovation shares the same concept of sustainability? In order to be sustainable, it requires inclusion of stakeholders who support your idea or your brand in order to face the societal challenges. In addition to understand sustainability, an understanding of innovation environment might be interesting.

Responsible innovation is a new concept that is developed by policy makers, and scientists. It is important to identify innovation practices and processes if you are an innovator as long as a  creator is an innovator.

There are several reasons why to explore responsible innovation in the fashion industry? I found out that a designer, the creator and the innovator should know about this concept from concept to practice in order to stand out for responsiveness.

First the pollution caused by the clothing materials, with responsible innovation we could limit the pollution impacts and achieve zero waste by the tool of anticipation by which one of the strategies is to predict and to measure the possible implications of the innovation that is to be developed called anticipation.

Second, global responsible actions where the entire value chain is taken into account, the consumption of energy resources such as water and electricity.

I think the fashion industry create, innovate constantly. Thus, the inclusion of responsiveness and most importantly the consciousness and a better understanding of this concept might be vital in order to predict a better environmental future for the industry.

Though, it is a large concept and we could apply it in any context. Curiosity is one quality of an innovator make sure that you know about it. There are many books, scholars, articles related to the topic to explore it.  However, how would you know that you are a responsible innovator?

- A deep understanding of the concept and apply it to your business context ;

- An active engagement of stakeholders for the purpose which means engage with the stakeholders and the public and find out solutions for environmental challenges ;

- Discussion that lead to Decision-making. Alternate innovation possibilities with decision making strategy ;

- The most important one is responsiveness.

By this way, we could gather all the knowledge that we need to understand each concept then apply it according to its context.

‘’ Implementing a responsible innovation strategy correctly opens up new opportunities, effectively becoming a catalyst for creativity and providing major leverage to achieve innovation and performance within a responsible framework ‘’. - Xavier Pavie -Victor Scholten-Daphné Carthy

 "The more you know, the more you learn, the more you do better ‘’ .

 

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