Weekend Max Mara and Saluzzo Yarns recently collaborated on a Spring-Summer 2014 collection with a curated selection of garments made of a special high-tech yarn called Newlife. Newlife, an arm of Saluzzo Yarns, is a fiber created by converting post-consumer recycled plastic bottles into a polymer which has many applications-from outdoor clothing to home furnishing as well as interior and outdoor design applications.
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The manufacturing process is highly innovative, fully traceable, entirely mechanical (versus chemical) and 100 percent made in Italy where the plastic bottles are also from, helping to create an even smaller and more manageable carbon footprint.
Stefanio Cochis, director of Italy-based Saluzzo Yarns and Newlife says Max Mara‘s initial positive reaction to the Newlife yarns wasn’t just because they were interested in sustainability but because they were moved by the innovation of a new fiber.
Max Mara said we’re not going into sustainability unless we have excellent customer experience when it comes to our product’s beauty and innovation. The customer is going to be committed to sustainability by beauty first not the other way around,” says Cochis.
Newlife is about new materials and new concepts. Sustainability is the base and innovative products make us able to attract attention. Unfortunately there’s still a perception being marketed that doing anything sustainable you have to compromise on quality and we are here to prove otherwise,” says Cochis.
In addition to implementing a sustainable textile to their collection, Max Mara, also located in Italy, has already installed 11,000 solar panels for the production of electricity at their facility. Add to that, their current environmental savings in water and energy in the manufacturing of Newlife.
Cochis says as water consumption is becoming a major issue worldwide, synthetics have an advantage to water-intensive fibers like cotton as Newlife yarn is made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled bottles.
Being able to provide its own supply chain, Cochis says they can walk people right through the manufacturing process with scheduled tours of their facility.
“Brands are realizing that certificates mean nothing, you have to show and prove that what you are offering is fully traceable,” says Cochis.
How important is it for a luxury brand like Max Mara to address more sustainable fiber research? The design team of Weekend Max Mara tells Ecouterre they are always very attentive to everything that the market offers in terms of technological, innovative, and best performing textiles.
“Weekend Max Mara has been interested in sourcing fabrics made by new, natural and eco fibers for years. Unfortunately many of them were not very appealing and pretty disappointing after the production. With Newlife we have found textiles which are perfect for the realization of contemporary and qualitative clothes that respect the environment at the same time,” a spokesperson says.
Giusy Bettoni, founder of the C.L.A.S.S. (Creativity Lifestyle and Sustainable Synergy) showroom that showcases exclusive sustainable fashion textiles and materials counts Newlife as part of their fiber library.
It is really important for brands to seek out sustainable fiber alternatives like Newlife mainly because material like these can offer a complete range of values: beauty, creativity, innovation that guarantee performance both from a technological and environmental point of view. Having a three- dimensional textile is key,” says Bettoni, adding the life cycle assessment for Newlife includes water savings of 94 percent, energy savings of 60 percent and carbon emissions of 32 percent compared to virgin PET.
Bettoni says garments by Weekend Max Mara will be present in 1,500 stores in 50 countries starting in this month.