Today, the relationship between us and our clothes is almost nonexistent. The Italian clothing brand Rifo wants to restore an emotional connection with our clothes by recycling as much textile waste as possible. Rifo makes men and women’s clothes, blankets and accessories through upcycling textile fibres. The circular fashion brand processes old cashmere, denim, lace and cotton into new yarns of fabric.
The fast fashion industry overproduces resulting in huge amounts of waste. Sustainable fashion seemed like the best solution for Rifo - they have chosen to use raw materials that would otherwise be binned. Rifo searches for the most efficient way to transform old clothes into new garments.
Rifo works with 3 basic materials from the circular economy.
- They sort old or already worn cashmere jumpers by colour. The fibres are then pulled apart and spun again to form new yarn which is used to knit new hats, scarves and cashmere jumpers.
- Old jeans with at least 95% cotton are similarly spun into new yarn to create new jeans and jumpers.
- Finally, the Italian company Rifo also recovers lace from cutting tables in factories.
Rifo is careful to work with only one fabric where possible which is why they only mix recycled cotton with virgin cotton and recycled cashmere with virgin cashmere. This means that Rifo clothes are easier to recycle after use and if they cannot be recycled then they are biodegradable so won’t harm nature.
Rifo works with yarns from the same colour groups so they don’t have to use dye. This way the brand saves on water usage and avoids using toxic chemicals. Win win!
However, a circular economy alone is not enough to solve overproduction. If you produce 100 garments, but you only sell 40, you are still wasting resources. Rifo is, therefore, an advocate of simple and fast production chains with only a small stock in the warehouse that meets the needs of the customers.
In order to respond to the needs and wishes of the customers, Rifo always starts with a presale before launching a new circular garment, blanket or accessory. This allows them to study the market and their customers to avoid overproduction.
Rifo produces all its products within 30 km of their office in Prato, Italy. Not only does this allow them to support the local economy and create new jobs, but it also reduces fuel consumption and greenhouse gases.
Rifo is transparent about their production process and recycling of cashmere, cotton and lace.