Traceability is a big deal when it comes to sustainability in fashion.
Luxury behemoth Kering has partnered with Italy-based textile specialist Albini Group to develop a new fully traceable organic cotton fiber, selected by the French conglomerate for its portfolio of fashion brands, which include Gucci, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen, among others.
Aimed at spotlighting the vertically integrated pipeline, the project, spearheaded by the Bergamo-based textile company and embraced by Kering, also involved American cotton producer Supima, which provided the organic cotton employed in the project, and Oritain, the international firm that shared its scientific technology to trace the origin of the fabric.
Each cotton product will be fully identifiable throughout its production process, starting from the material’s harvesting at Supima’s cotton fields and down to the final fashion pieces, through dyeing and weaving steps.
“Traceability of the supply chain in a global and fragmented sector, as fashion is, is fundamental to make a change,” said Cecilia Takayama, Kering’s Material Innovation Lab director. “This organic cotton-related, innovative technology will allow our Material Innovation Lab to better observe and verify the best harvesting techniques and the qualities of fibers; to grant the integrity of the supply chain and the alignment to our standards.”
Tech partner Oritain used forensic science to create a unique geo-chemical “fingerprint” univocal to the product’s point of origin that cannot be copied or tampered with, ensuring the highest level of security to the supply chain. “Traceability has been a recurring topic in fashion for so long, but there are still challenges to face.…We are happy to work together [with other companies] on this project contributing to set a new standard for traceability in fashion,” noted Rupert Hodges, Oritain U.K.’s executive director.
“We are proud to spearhead this revolutionary project and to bring it on a global scale. We decided to partner with the most authoritative scientific partner…and we are happy that such a prestigious and forward-looking luxury conglomerate shares our vision,” echoed Stefano Albini, president of Albini Group. The company, which feted its 140th anniversary in 2016, owns the Albini 1876, Thomas Mason, David & John Anderson and Albiate 1830 brands. Together they produce more than 20,000 fabric variations and export to over 80 countries, including the U.S.