NEW YORK — CLASS, the Milan-based eco-textile consortium, aims to bring sustainability in the sector to advanced proficiency.
The group, formally known as Creativity, Lifestyle and Sustainable Synergy, was in New York this week, as part of its third “world tour” bringing the collections and innovations of global fabric, yarn and materials companies to seven cities.
Giusy Bettoni, founder and chief executive officer of CLASS, explained that the common theme among what she called “smart textiles” is their commitment to the environment. This includes recycled fibers made from plastic bottles, pre-consumer materials repurposed into fibers yarns and fabrics, and reconstituted waste materials.
Also common among the innovative materials is the water and energy savings they achieve, and the limits to waste stream that result.
“This is the first season with CLASS that we are getting the materials from yarns and fabrics into the brand’s finished products,” Bettoni said at a presentation at the offices of the Italian Trade Commission, which is supporting the tour.
Ecotec by Marchi & Fildi, based in Biella, Italy, has developed a cotton yarn production process that takes pre-dyed, pre-consumer textile clippings and transforms them into Ecotec yarns available in an array of stock colors.
The company estimates that using these materials, which have the same hand, durability and other characteristics of standard materials, reduces greenhouse gasses and energy consumption by 47 to 57 percent, and reduces water usage by 62 to 78 percent. Ecotec is Oeko-Tex 100 and Global Recycled Standard certified.
“By using leftovers of cotton, we don’t need to grow new cotton or dye new cotton,” said Bettoni. “Even organic cotton needs to be grown and use water.”
She noted that Ecotec cotton yarns, which are created using a process that breaks down the fabric into new fibers and yarns, is also available in a Modal blend.
In addition, the “transformed” materials save on costs because fabric companies then have a market for their waste.
Re.Verso, the line of reengineered wool and cashmere materials that bowed a year ago, is making its retail debut with fabric companies Filatura C4, Filpucci and A. Stelloni Collection by Mapel. Gucci used some of the Re.Verso cashmere by A. Stelloni in its women’s, men’s and children’s fall lines.
New Life’s line of recycled polyester fibers has teamed with Miroglio Textile this season for a digital print collection for fall featuring macro florals, jacquards and folk-inspired motifs.
Miroglio has invested 25 million euros in research and technology in the last three years on its digital printing. The company estimates that every 100,000 meters of natural fabric printed with its digital process saves 3.2 million liters of water.
Okinawa, headquartered in Montagnana, Italy, has developed several materials either meant to imitate leather or make its leather environmentally friendly.
Jacroki is a patented material that Okinawa said is naturally derived, free of animal exploitation and recyclable. Cellulose-based, Jacroki resembles fine leather, but can be washed and is resistant to abrasion. It is being marketed for apparel, home goods, labels and seals and accessories.
The latest innovation from Okinawa is its “denim leather” line that uses barrel dyeing for a natural stone-wash effect combined with the company’s proprietary Hydroki metal-free, nontoxic tanning leather, and its Washoki washable leather that’s also nontoxic and complies with Reach 2015 certification that regulates chemical usage in production processes.
CLASS is also set to hold its first “Eco-Fashion Workshop” in Milan on Jan. 18 to 20, in association with James Mendolia, assistant professor of fashion marketing at The New School Parsons School of Design.