The fashion conglomerate and the denim specialist have forged ties with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, or UNIDO, to jumpstart a circular business model piloted via a Diesel supplier in Tunisia, as part of the group’s “Be Responsible. Be Brave” sustainability strategy.
Geared toward the recycling of manufacturing scraps and more responsible use of raw materials, especially cotton, the project intends to enhance waste management practices, improve the differentiation of scraps with different compositions and overall reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Debuting in the second half of 2022 and stretching through 2023, the program will affect different steps in the manufacturing pipeline starting from fabric-cutting operations and until the upcycling of deadstock scraps to produce new garments — thus reducing the exploitation of virgin materials — or to be employed for non-fashion use.
“It is key to demonstrate the potential for recycling pre-consumer textile waste and, thanks to the collaboration with like-minded partners and local suppliers, we are proud to create a virtuous circle for scrap from fabric-cutting operations,” said Sara Mariani, chief sustainability officer at OTB. “We hope it can also serve as a benchmark and model to be replicated in other territories and by other players in the fashion industry.”
The project was developed as part of the European Union-funded SwitchMed program, developed in cooperation with the Tunisian government and the local textile and clothing federation. The country, a go-to manufacturing hub for international fashion brands, reportedly produces 31,000 tons of textile waste a year, 55 percent of which is classified as scrap.
OTB Group, parent to Marni, Jil Sander, Maison Margiela and more high-end fashion labels, as well as production arms Staff International and Brave Kid, has been on a sustainable journey for quite some time.
In 2021, it became the fourth founding member of the Aura Blockchain Consortium, first initiated by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Prada in 2019 to promote the use of a single blockchain solution open to all luxury brands worldwide to help consumers trace the provenance and authenticity of luxury goods.
That same year, it joined ZDHC Foundation’s Roadmap to Zero Programme, an international initiative promoting sustainable chemical management with the mission to enable brands and retailers to implement best practices to reduce their chemical footprint and advance toward zero discharge of hazardous substances.