An image from the Reda ad campaign.

“The sustainable journey has one key asset: the people,” Ercole Botto Poala, chief executive officer of Reda Group, told WWD. The executive was referring to the employees of the Biella, Italy-based woolen mill who are constantly adapting to tune in with the company’s sustainable goals.

Coinciding with the first day of Milan’s textile trade show Milano Unica, running until July 11, the firm will today [July 9] unveil its latest ad campaign, which portrays some of the mill’s employees, their faces superimposed on images of the Alps and of the territory in the Piedmont region where the textile firm was established in 1865.

Botto Poala described the Finnish photographer Christoffer Relander as an artist, and asked him to shoot the campaign flanked by the catchphrase “Your Future is Our Present” and accompanied by the dedicated #redapeople hashtag.

“I believe every decision we make for a sustainable future is important, no matter the size of it, or who you are. What matters is to acknowledge it, take a side and stand for it. I hope that through these artworks we can remind ourselves that we are Nature,” explained Relander.

The campaign is conceived as a celebration of the efforts the company has made toward a more responsible and eco-friendly business, according to Botto Poala, who added workers were “proud to be featured in the images as we’re still a family business with a strong focus on human resources, whom I prefer to call people.

“We’ve embarked on this [sustainable] journey since 2004 when the fashion industry wasn’t much talking about it and on the contrary we were securing our first certification: the EMAS [Eco-Management and Audit Scheme],” Botto Poala said. Other certifications have followed, including the EPD protocol based on the Life Cycle Assessment standards.

“Our goal is to fully trace the ‘sheep to shop’ path. Data will allow us to do it,” said Botto Poala, noting today the firm can trace its products back to the farms in Australia and New Zealand, easing the quality control process.

In addition to traceability, the executive touted Reda’s efforts toward a circular manufacturing process as the environmental footprints are mainly connected to the materials’ transformation. “Starting from the assumption that at some point raw materials would not be available anymore, I said to myself that maybe to become more competitive, we needed to waste less,” he said.

An image from the Reda ad campaign.

An image from the Reda ad campaign.  Christoffer Relander/Courtesy Photo.

The ad campaign is intended to not only spotlight the textile firm’s sustainable assets, but also to educate the industry and end consumers, according to Botto Poala.

“Because our products come with a label, everybody can find us, on the Internet and social networks, and they need to find all the information of transparency and traceability,” he explained.

“We’re living a moment of transition when big players should set an example…the change is fast-paced and the industry should act as a system to support the value of Made in Italy,” contended Botto Poala, who also serves as president of the Milano Unica trade show.

Noting end consumers’ awareness of  the environmental impact of fashion is increasing, the executive stressed he expects business to be impacted, as well. “We need to act now and do it fast. Should the whole sustainable conversation explode at some point, we would still treasure the efficiency, zero-waste approach we set in motion,” he underscored.

At Reda, sustainability has been implemented across processes and products, according to the executive. Product-wise at Milano Unica, the company will further expand its Flexo range of stretch fabrics by introducing the recycled carded flannel, which comes from Reda’s own production wastes blended with the Roica V550 cradle-to-cradle stretch fiber. In keeping with the circular approach, other wastes will be employed for paddings.

Reda Group generated revenues of 118 million euros in 2018 and while Botto Poala said 2019 has started more slowly, he expects the sustainable assets the company can leverage to sustain the business.