MILAN — The Italian fashion governing body’s commitment to the sustainable advancement of the sector is targeting another key environmental issue: the end of life of fashion products.
Six founding members of the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana are launching Re.Crea, a consortium aimed at collectively providing solutions and best practices to manage post-consumer fashion waste, with the ultimate goal of giving them a second life via recycling.
Re.Crea’s founding members include the Prada Group, the Ermenegildo Zegna Group, OTB, Moncler, MaxMara Fashion Group and Dolce & Gabbana. The initiative was presented Friday at the Camera della Moda headquarters here.
The move comes in response to a 2018 European Union mandate on EPR, the extended producer responsibility, which requests companies take operational and financial responsibility for the management of their products’ post-consumer, end-of-life stage in order to help meet recycling and recovery targets.
In 2021, textile waste in Italy amounted to 480,000 tons, including 146,000 post-consumer clothing items, said Camera della Moda, citing a report issued by the Ministry for Ecological Transition.
The latter institution is tasked with converting the European Union’s mandate into implementing decrees, which are expected to be issued by the end of the year.
“Italy comes second to France in applying Europe’s mandate,” said Camera della Moda chairman Carlo Capasa, who will also serve as president of the consortium. “I think it’s great that our Italian brands have decided to apply for a collective protocol.
“Acting as a system is testament to the ‘generosity’ of brands and exceptionally forward-looking attitude. One can only be sustainable if criteria are adopted collectively,” he said.
Re.Crea is open to any member of the Camera della Moda interested in joining. Its board currently includes Sara Mariani, chief sustainability officer of OTB, who was named vice president of the consortium; Lorenzo Bertelli, Prada Group’s head of CSR, and Edoardo Zegna, chief marketing, digital and sustainability officer of the Ermenegildo Zegna Group, among others.
It will also welcome companies from outside the association, provided that their yearly revenues amount to no less than 500 million euros.
Capasa attributed the decision to ensuring that “the consortium has shared goals, including research and development targets and a common cultural mindset on the [sustainability] topic.”
Among the key functions of the consortium, R&D on key solutions to sustainably manage post-consumer fashion waste will require huge investments and Re.Crea wants to ensure any active associate can fund operations.
The investment needed, financed by members, has yet to be determined as it will depend on the operational scale and scope to be defined by the Italian government’s decrees.
For instance, Mariani said that the first waste management target set by Italy is expected to amount to 15 percent of total post-consumer fashion waste produced yearly. By comparison, France, which started a similar program a decade ago, currently recycles around 38 percent of its fashion waste.
“Our brands are mindful of the future, it’s not only about compliance with laws and regulations.…We want experience gathered on products’ ‘second life’ to be shared among associates,” Capasa said. “Directly tackling products’ end-of-life can guarantee waste management operations are carried out properly, so it’s also beneficial to brand reputation.”
In order to provide effective solutions, Capasa anticipated that the consortium will forge tie-ups with fashion supply chain players active in the recycling and circular economy fields, as well as links with companies from outside the fashion system.
Asked about leaving the bulk of textile companies, whose 2021 waste in Italy amounted to 284,000 tons, out of the picture given the 500 million euro limit, Capasa said other fashion associations are prepping similar initiatives.
Re.Crea is to be fully presented on Oct. 28 at the Venice Sustainable Fashion Forum organized by Camera della Moda, industry association Sistema Moda Italia and consultancy The European House – Ambrosetti.