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Recycled Cashmere…does it matter?
This time last week I was in Prato, Italy with the team putting Spring Summer 18 into work with our suppliers and there was one in particular I wanted to visit.
This season two of our knitwear styles come from a factory which specialise in recycling cashmere which the team were very enthusiastic about when we selected the garments some months ago. Without doubt it was a fascinating story internally but the question we had to ask ourselves, does this matter to our customers? To best answer that I felt it was important to improve my own understanding of the process.
So we went to visit the charming Eduardo Mariotti who very generously showed me around every nook and cranny of his amazing production unit and explained the process step by step with complete transparency, allowing me take lots of photographs along the way.
Eduardo founded his family run (we met his wife and his brother) business in 1990 after many years of experience gained in the wool, cashmere and mohair industry and he has used this expertise to create a textile raw material processing company, specialising in the production of recycled cashmere.
➁ The first thing to happen is all labels must be removed, these all end up in a huge pile, it was amazing to see some very familiar names amongst them.
All trims are also removed from the garments e.g. plackets and collars because sometimes they are attached using non-cashmere yarns so cannot be guaranteed to be pure cashmere. All of the trims are then made up into bales of their own, each one weighing about 70kg.
➂ Once this has been done the garments get sorted by colour, see pink, blue and funnily enough lots of black!
➃ Here are the grey items going into the shredder to be broken down, this process takes the yarn almost back to its raw state.
➄ This is then blended with new virgin cashmere which arrives to the factory in hessian bales.
The Recycled Cashmere Kimonos
Just as we were about to leave Eduardo insisted I take a copy of his Cardato Recycled Certificate which had just been issued from the Prato Chamber of Commerce which confirms he has been accredited for the work he is doing with Eco Cashmere.
The whole production process is analysed to measure its impact on the environment in terms of water, energy and CO2 and it is proven that the impact on CO2 for the recycled garment is a fraction of the impact of a pure cashmere garment.
I came away feeling you have to applaud Eduardo and his foresight in looking at alternative ways to produce beautiful garments whilst doing everything he can to protect the environment.
So in answer to the question does it matter? Well I happen to think it does, as someone who has always recycled clothes I would love to think that some of them have ended up in one of Eduardo’s big blue bales!
Let me know if it matters to you, I’d love to know your thoughts,
Hope you have a chilled weekend, as for me I’ll be watching a lot of hockey as usual!!