The new fashion vocabulary we all need to learn

To Giusy Bettoni from Re.Verso, a company that recycles waste fibers into new wool and cashmere materials, considering sustainability is an opportunity to enrich the fashion vocabulary.

“At the turn of the 20th and 21st century for the first time sustainability was not just a trend – it was a reality. Why? Because technology had allowed us to include the dimension of responsibility into a garment. So what does this mean? In the world of materials, there has traditionally been two dimensions to consider: the aesthetics and the performance. In my view, today we have to add one: the responsibility. So, fashion is those three things, it’s no longer a choice.

At Re.Verso we have been thinking a lot about how to create the best value for wool, and we are now looking at a practice that has existed in Italy for quite some time. Instead of taking care of post-consumer wool materials – materials not always recyclable to clothes due to the chemicals infused in the fabrics during washing care – Re.Verso wanted to establish a new supply chain, selecting pre-consumer materials, the waste materials and leftovers that occur when designing clothes. Not only do these waste materials normally have a negative impact on the environment, the fabric waste also constitutes a cost for the companies.

« We’re entering a new era where we look for new ways of doing things and communicating things »

The Re.Verso process is similar to the post-consumer material recycling process, but focus lies on pre-consumer leftovers that can be transformed into fibre and yarn and then once again, fabric. Re.Verso involves brands in the process, enabling them to confer their own leftover materials to restart the supply chain, establishing a circular economy.

When we compare the Re.Verso production to that of conventional wool or cashmere in terms of water waste, use of CO2 and use of energy, we can see the actual difference. In comparison to conventional wool, we have a –95.89 percent environmental footprint. For the C02, the percentage is –97.53 percent. And the key dimension is the conversion that is zero waste.

If production is the first challenge, the second is how we communicate sustainability. I think we’re entering a new era where we look for new ways of doing things and communicating things. Traditionally we have talked about the beauty or the quality of materials, whether they are natural or artificial. Today we need a new vocabulary that signifies opportunity. I choose my garments according to the same criteria as before, I’m not the kind of consumer who buys things only because they are sustainable. But now there is so much more to fashion than shape and colour, and when I say much more I mean on top of shape and colour, not instead of. To me this is not a challenge but rather a huge opportunity to enrich the fashion vocabulary.”

Giusy Bettoni, CEO of C.L.A.S.S, an eco-textile consultancy based in Milan. C.L.A.S.S works with Re.Verso, a new textile platform made of a group of three top Italian mills.
Read more about Re.Verso here

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