In fashion, sustainability is a spectrum – and that’s why Reda Group, a manufacturer of sustainable pure Merino wool fabrics, is differentiating through an all-encompassing approach to greening its products.

Reda Group told Fairchild Studio that its calling for sustainability is “conveyed through continuous and constant efforts toward safeguarding the environment through the creation of sustainable fabrics – and a transparent manufacturing cycle that is respectful of the environment.”

The brand emphasized that embarking on sustainable growth means taking on government and process responsibilities, monitoring current and prospective risks, and “paying the utmost attention to integrity, safety, and protection of people, respect for the environment, and traceability of the supply chain” – which for Reda Group means leading the sector by obtaining hard-to-reach certifications, such as B. Corp status, which it achieved last year.

Here, Ercole Botto Poala, chief executive officer, Reda Group, talks to Fairchild Studio about its lengthy catalogue of achievements in sustainability, how the brand pivoted during the coronavirus pandemic, and its fast approaching in-person presentation at Milano Unica.

Fairchild Studio: Would you discuss some of the ways Reda differentiates in the fine fabric sector through its devotion to sustainability?

Ercole Botto Poala: Our journey towards sustainability started back in 2004, at a moment when no one was talking about sustainability and traceability. Throughout the years, our commitment to protect the environment has only grown stronger – and we officially became the first textile company in Italy, and one of the first worldwide, to receive the B Corp certification.

That is why we started our sustainability journey in 2004, obtaining the first certification, Eco Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS); and since then, we have invested to improve our performance in all areas, from the reduction of environmental impact to continuous analyses (such as LCA and EPD), to the creation of our Sustainability Report in 2020. As one of the leading brands in the textile industry, we have the power and responsibility to promote change through sustainable innovation, environmental awareness, and social progress to ensure a stable and secure future for the next generations.

ZQRX Merino Wool. 

Fairchild Studio: How did Reda pivot during the pandemic?

E.B.P.: In 2020, amid closures and a global pandemic, we had to determine how best to get back to doing business and create a system that would drive meaningful action toward a better, even kinder, more positive future for the planet. For this reason, in September 2020, we launched the Reda 4.0 digital platform that allows our clients to access every collection: this is an innovative tool designed to allow users to access our wide fabric offering with a few simple clicks.

By accessing Reda 4.0, users can browse collections in a sustainable, smart, efficient, and independent way. The contingent situation we faced made us think about creating dedicated samples for each customer based on the selections made on the app – this resulted in allowing us to significantly reduce the production waste of samples, and to focus only on choices.

In terms of recycled fibers, we presented at Milano Unica already in 2019 with the recycled carded flannel, a high-quality textile that stems from the desire to reuse and give new life to excess fibers that comes from our production cycle. This allows for the reduction of waste and represents concrete steps toward a circular economy, which is becoming an unavoidable demand in the fashion industry.

Fairchild Studio: What are you hoping to achieve at Milano Unica, and how will this in-person presentation differ from picking fabrics virtually?

E.B.P.: The upcoming Milano Unica fair offers an opportunity to start seeing each other again and to be able to touch our fabrics live, to perceive all their qualities. In our opinion, it is important to participate in Milano Unica because it represents an important sign of recovery, a new beginning, and a return to normalcy. The Reda 4.0 app is still fundamental in terms of visibility and for reaching all our customers who unfortunately cannot travel yet.

We are very proud to present new products as we always try to innovate our fabrics, creating materials that are easier to handle and provide customers with solutions to their needs. For fall/winter 2022, we are offering ideal fabrics for head-to-toe looks that suit a wide range of needs and occasions. Infused with a strong formalwear spirit, the Cosmopolitan range is ideal for sharp business suits, while Winter Edit is all about warm and cozy styles. The Back2Life, Made in Nature and #BeStretch capsule collections offer high performance and respect for the environment. Part of the Leisure range, Reda Active’s jersey and woven fabrics, is ideal for versatile and comfortable garments. Functional and smart, our pant fabric is stretchy and machine washable.

Back2Life by Reda. 

Fairchild Studio: What is the process for obtaining a B Corp certification, and what does it mean for the company?

E.B.P.: It’s almost a year since we have obtained the B Corporation certification – Reda is the first textile manufacturer in Italy to achieve it and amongst the first worldwide. B Corp companies follow a sustainable development scheme, achieved through the sharing of value generation (economic sustainability), personal growth, and a positive impact on the communities in which it operates (social sustainability) and respect for the ecosystem (environmental sustainability). Performance, transparency, and responsibility are the key values that drive a B-Corp company, with the double objective to have a positive impact on people and the environment, beyond mere profit.

The certification was obtained after successfully overcoming a thorough evaluation and control process that involved all areas of the company and considered the procedures, initiatives and results obtained in five major areas: governance; employee relations; customer relations; role within the community; and environmental sustainability of processes and products, without operating any change in preexisting processes.

Fairchild Studio: What are some of the new certifications Reda is hoping to achieve for its farms in New Zealand? Are there any sustainability-related agricultural programs that Reda participates in?

E.B.P.: One of the most important innovations that we are presenting at Milano Unica is The New Zealand Merino Company’s ZQRX Platform. The ZQRX platform helps wool growers with the implementation of regenerative agriculture, aiming to create a progressive, solutions-oriented framework benefiting the planet. The impact of clothing on the environment is becoming more evident every day.

We believe that using solutions like ZQ-Certified Merino wool, a renewable natural fabric, is paramount. Since 2009, we have partnered with the New Zealand Merino Company, buying wool exclusively from ZQ certified farms. ZQ Ethical wool was the first worldwide certification that combines the natural performance of wool with an accreditation program to ensure environmental, social, and economic sustainability, along with animal welfare (non-mulesing) and traceability back to the source.

Now we are working with them to focus on ZQRX. We apply ZQRX to our wool growers and their farming systems, challenging them to go beyond sustainability and deeply understand the complex interactions between their livestock, soils, climate, ecology, and community. This new program focuses on regenerative agriculture, driving performance outcomes across fifteen key indicators in environmental, social, and animal welfare.

The program is especially designed to monitor and incentivize improved environmental performance, including the reduction and removal of the carbon footprint of wool production through active management. We will be working with The New Zealand Merino Company to support our growers in applying strategies to continually improve their performance. For growers, ZQRX is a journey of improvement, accuracy, and shared knowledge – ensuring they remain one of the world’s best producers of the world’s best fibers.