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Attilio Imperiali, Berbrand, Besani, Italdenim, Miroglio, and Zip may not have the same name recognition as Dolce & Gabana, Prada, and Versace, but their reach is far deeper than most might realize. As Italy’s biggest textile suppliers, the companies are directly or indirectly responsible for some 70 million garments produced by the world’s leading fashion and luxury brands every year. To mark the end of Milan Fashion Week, the suppliers have pledged to eliminate hazardous chemicals from their supply chains by 2020 according to Greenpeace’s “Detox” roadmap.
“These ground-breaking commitments are proof that beautiful, toxic-free fashion is becoming the industry norm. With these textile suppliers now leading the sector, brands can no longer argue that Detox is not possible,” says Chiara Campione, “Fashion Duel” project leader for the environmental group’s Italian arm, says in a statement. “The door is now open for other brands to follow suit.”
Greenpeace Italy estimates that the six firms produced roughly 40 million linear meters of printed textile material in 2013 alone, or enough to stretch around the Earth’s circumference. Although Monday marked the first announcement of their formal commitments, the companies have already phased out eight of the 11 priority groups of toxic substances identified by Greenpeace, including AZO dyes, phthalates, perfluorinated compounds, and heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, and mercury.
In addition, customers will soon be able track the companies’ progress on their respective websites, an approach that Campione says makes it easier for them to be “held accountable for their actions.”
“Detox is becoming a must-have trend, supported by forward-thinking brands, suppliers, and millions of fashion lovers around the world,” she adds. “While the market moves towards a toxic-free future, the laggards are becoming increasingly unfashionable. If suppliers can do it, what are Versace, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Dolce & Gabbana waiting for?”