On 8th November 2023 a high-quality fashion parterre gathered at Ecomondo in Rimini do discuss actions, policies, and challenges of the of the fashion industry shift towards circular economy.
As anticipated in the panel talk presentation “Accelerate the circular transformation of the production model is a key topic for the Italian fashion industry. Consortia, research and development centres, circular hubs are some of the solutions activated by luxury brands and trade associations for the reuse and recycling of processing waste […] The main objectives are – starting from raw materials and design to the optimization of production and logistic – to maximize the use of recycled materials but also to work on durability, repairability and recyclability at the end of life”.
Indeed, the table of initiatives ongoing in the fashion industry is quite juicy. Carlo Capasa, President of Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana introduced some while highlighting cultural and consumers trends aligned with the desired paradigm shift. Secondhand sales and brand supported rentals are now key channels to experience fashion goods. Maisons are more and more aiming at emotional durability and foster the idea of more collections along the year with less items produced. AI and CS are fundamental tools in cutting overproduction, still a plight in the fast fashion business, where pre-consumer waste is up to 30%. In summer 2022, eight major Italian fashion groups created ReCrea, a consortium addressing materials recycling as required by the EU introduction of EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) schemes.
Sergio Tamborini, President of Sistema Moda Italia, later supported by other speakers on this topic, called for the role of a national legislator to implement the existing EU EPR regulations for a sector that worldwide is worth over USD3,000 billion. Clear norms and rules are needed also to set up a post-consumer value chain, something that Italy could lead in Europe, being its already existing recycling chain second only to the Turkish.
Metals are key materials for luxury accessories and LEM Industries is a market reference for the supply of matter, technologies, and processes. Daniele Gualdani, CEO, shared with the audience a project born during the Covid-19 slow down, that is implementing of urban mining of critical materials. Very much in favour of this approach, aimed at softening the environmental impact or the industry was Eleonora Rizzuto, Ecomondo STC, Director of Sustainable Development LVMH Italia and panel initiator. In her multiple responsibilities Ms Rizzuto has developed extensive expertise in the promotion of circularity strategies in the industries. She is coordinator of the Textile, Apparel & Fashion sub-group for ICESP, Italian Circular Economy Stakeholders Platform; and one of the leading forces behind a LVMH Group initiative that is Circulaire Italie – an Italian based materials circularity hub catering the group’s manufacturing activities, of which we’ll hear more about soon.
Mauro Scalia, Director Sustainable Businesses at EURATEX – European Apparel and Textile Confederation, touched upon some of the sixteen regulations in the pipeline in the EU concerning circularity in the textile industry: Ecodesign, EPD, definition of textile sustainability (i.e. durability). A key challenge is regulating the management of waste, estimated by McKinsey to reach 7.5million tons in Europe only.