By and  on June 25, 2009

Italian jeans and sportswear brand Replay unveiled its new eco-friendly concept store and collection in Florence last week during the city’s Pitti Uomo men’s wear exhibition.

“We are addressing our customers at a sensorial-technological level,” Replay chief executive officer Gaetano Sallorenzo said during a tour of the store. “This is our new style, more modern, contemporary and simple. Our store image had grown a bit heavy.”

The company’s more focused drive to find alternative solutions to heating and cooling the venue, and its research in more ecological washes, also stems from Sallorenzo’s belief in a more sustainable lifestyle.

The nature-friendly mood is set at the entrance, with a cascade of water streaming over a wall and a luscious vertical orchard.

“We called the store Regeneration because we need to use resources we already have,” Sallorenzo said.

With a special energy-saving system, for example, the cooling and heating system springs from fresh air coming from a cellar below the ground floor, where a pool of running water is located.

“We save about 50 percent of energy this way,” said the ceo.

Geothermic panels, wood flooring, iron details, a hearth and grass strips add to the natural vibe.

“We are aiming at creating different corners where customers feel at ease,” said Sallorenzo, who noted store components all come from the area around Florence to cut pollution derived from transportation.

In the store, Replay displayed items made with a new kind of denim, under the Just Add Water moniker, whereby the fabric is washed in four tubs, not 12, and a less polluting ingredient than indigo is employed. The pieces are stitched with special turquoise seams.

“The water obtained by the treatment can even be drinkable,” Sallorenzo contended.

Replay has worked with its suppliers to develop new production and manufacturing processes that significantly lower the environmental impact for Just Add Water. According to Replay, traditional methods of dyeing, manufacturing and laundering denim require as much as 5,000 liters of water, or 1,320 gallons. To reduce that number, Replay worked with chemical provider Clariant International on a new dyeing agent that cuts down on the yarn dyeing process.

“The concept is to find a way to substitute the indigo with a different type of dyeing agent that is less invasive as a pollutant,” said Sallorenzo.

The process also keeps the waste water from being colored, eliminating the need for further chemical treatments to rid the waste water of harmful substances. For Just Add Water, Replay also worked with laundry Denim Village and Turkish denim mill Orta Anadolu.

Sallorenzo stressed Just Add Water is not a completely environmentally friendly product, but is a step toward making a more sustainable product and company.

Just Add Water will be a 35-piece collection that will hit stores in September. It includes T-shirts, jackets and denim. The line’s graphics and color palette will based on the water theme.

The store, located a few steps away from the imposing city cathedral, is also a viable business tool. Reopened after two and a half months of construction work, the venue generates yearly sales of about 1.5 million euros, or $2 million at current exchange. This store concept will be replicated in other locations, such as Milan, which just closed for renovations.

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