CFDA Green Carpet, Aquafil

Italian synthetic fibers and polymer firm Aquafil Group said it has finalized its acquisition for 100 percent of O’Mara Inc., at $40.5 million. The deal was completed through its U.S. subsidiary, Aquafil USA Inc., according to the firm.

Aquafil funded its acquisition through a privately placed bond subscribed by Pricoa Capital Group, a member of the U.S. insurance group Prudential Financial Inc., for almost $45 million with a 10-year term, inclusive of an initial interest-only period of three years and an annual fixed rate of 1.87 percent. The firm said its newfound Stateside presence will enable benefits from trade agreements between the U.S. federal government and specific Central and South American countries, which allow for exemptions from U.S. tariffs on apparel produced in the aforementioned countries using yarns of U.S. origin.

Bringing Sustainability Back to Basics

Well-known for its sustainable textile and carpet products, Aquafil is one of the main producers of nylon in Italy and worldwide, as it has a presence in eight countries across three different continents, with more than 2,800 employees at 16 production sites located in Italy, Germany, Scotland, Slovenia, Croatia, the U.S., Thailand and China, the company said. Aquafil is responsible for the creation of sustainable materials such as Econyl — made of regenerated nylon — which is growing in popularity among sustainable fashion designers.

Aquafil Group’s NeoCon showroom. Photo courtesy of the Aquafil Group.  Chicago Commercial Photogtaphy

Its Econyl regeneration system is based on a process where nylon waste is salvaged from landfills and oceans located worldwide, including items such as fishing nets, fabric scraps, carpet flooring and industrial plastic. The rescued materials are then processed, which reveals a raw material, caprolactam, that is comprised of the same chemical and performance characteristics as those from fossil energy sources, the company said. Its polymers are then produced from Econyl caprolactam and distributed to Aquafil’s production plants, where they are transformed into yarn for carpet flooring and clothing, the company explained.

Founded in 1970, O’Mara Inc. produces nylon, polypropylene and polyester fibers mostly in solution-dyed colors in its Rutherford College, N.C.-based plant, the company said. The firm reported a turnover of $40.1 million in 2018, with margins “in line” with the Aquafil Group. What’s more, Aquafil noted that O’Mara’s “identity and market positioning are fully consistent” with the Aquafil Group, ensuring a compatibility that “accelerates the globalization process of the textiles business, with positive consequences for Econyl and Dryarn products, as well. O’Mara will provide access to a broader product range, thereby driving further development of the U.S. market in the sectors of athletic apparel, hosiery, fashion and accessories.”

Giulio Bonazzi, chief executive officer and president at Aquafil, told WWD, “Design can have a positive impact if it’s done with the end in mind. Econyl regenerated fiber produced by Aquafil is nylon that comes from waste, so its production will increasingly be connected to the way the nylon products are designed and to their recyclability. There is great importance on the role of designers for the next step in sustainable fashion design. At Aquafil, we hope to inspire the fashion industry and its leaders to rethink how things are made and redefine how they select, source and design with regenerated materials. Fibers like Econyl are the future of sustainable fashion.”

And Aquafil recently renewed its participation in the CFDA Fashion Awards at the Brooklyn Museum in New York in June, creating a custom-design green carpet. Its 11,600-square-foot “Millennial Pink” designed carpet is made with Econyl regenerated nylon and is “the latest in a series of green carpets developed by Aquafil for marquis fashion events from Milan to Los Angeles,” the company noted.

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