The Birthplace of Recycling

It’s no secret that Italy is the fashion capital of the world, but did you know that most of our textiles come from there? Not just because we believe they have the most versatile ranges but also because they have sustainability at their core. And this isn’t a new fad for them, or for us.

There’s a region in Lombardy which is the birthplace of recycling. After WWII, responding to the shortage of raw materials, the Prato district adapted its wool processing to use recovered wool – made from the shredding of old clothes, uniforms and the like.

What was originally a reaction to difficult times now gives the region not only a competitive advantage and gives our customer’s what they – and the planet – demands.

The process is really from start to finish whereby wool from shredded clothes is sorted by colour and then these coloured fibers are re-blended into new colours by master blenders in small batches and then scaled up for bulk production.

Fabrics made from recovered wool require no dyeing which removes the most polluting in terms of chemicals and most water intensive part of fabric production. Prato is also unique in that the water supply to businesses in the district is entirely from recovered industrial waste-water, the only scheme of its type in Europe.

Around 7,000 specialist small businesses form an integrated but distributed manufacturing network and whilst there are no dominant firms, the district collectively forms a dominant fashion and textile centre. A vast array of small firms, each specializing in one part of the process spinning, warping, weaving, dyeing, finishing, printing, or designing etc., and this makes the area uniquely versatile, diverse and nimble and has meant it has survived and thrived as a centre of European textiles in the face of increasing international competition.

At Gagliardi we are closest to Zanieri, Leomaster and Alfa-Fi who collectively make up a good proportion of our collection. By buying from us, not only can we continue to keep you looking the part, but we can continue to support family run businesses in the Prato region for seasons to come.

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