Stefano Aldighieri – the well-known denim veteran – spoke about various aspects of the denim industry in a talk with Sandeep Agarwal during the 2nd Denimsandjeans Virtual show held on Oct 14-15. He spoke in detail about various aspects of the industry right from Fibre to Retail and how they have evolved during 2020 and how they may be impacted in the near future.
On fibre , he said, “Cotton was, is and will always be the king fiber for the denim industry”.
Stefano was emphatic that cotton will always remain the most important fiber as there is no immediate replacement for it. He mentioned that recycled polyester is getting very popular but he had issues with it as it is a petroleum product and even if it is recycled, the issues of microfibres will always remain with it. He was for cellulosic fibers like Tencel as they can be recycled at the end of the life cycle. He hoped that people would use more and more of the ancient fiber Hemp and it is a very good candidate to reduce dependence on water. For a stretch, he was not enthusiastic as it not recyclable but he felt that recyclable elastomers like Roica. Another one that is interesting is natural rubber and if that is used, it would help greatly in recycling.
On the fabric side, he felt that companies should rationalize fabric developments with a limited number of warps, and companies can save money and waste and have better margins. Not many changes in constructions. Regarding antiviral properties in the fabric finishes, he felt that they are not much useful. He felt, however, that antimicrobial properties in the garments can help in reducing the number of washes a consumer makes. The water-saving can happen maximum at the fibre stage and at the consumer end. In between, there are limited possibilities to save water.
Coming to nearshoring, he was optimistic that micro-factories near the market would spread in the near future and help in creating faster responses to the market with these smaller units with bulk production still happening in cheaper locations.
On the design front, he felt that the designs would be simpler, with better fabrics, better constructions, and can be used for a longer time. But it’s really important to think about circularity at the design stage itself.
In retail, he felt that they would be the biggest losers. Traditional retail was already in trouble and of course online retail would get bigger and bigger.
It was a very engrossing discussion where Stefano came out with some very forceful points that the industry should consider. Do check out the complete interview from this link.