March 8, 2012

A New Recipe

Keeping in anticipation with our ideals of where the future is progressing, here is another new and innovative concept, which just touched down in New York, the White Goes Green with C.L.A.S.S. White is one of Europe’s leading lifestyle exhibition platforms that has partnered with C.L.A.S.S. to help promote brands and designers with a “sustainable soul.”

Through textile innovation, technology, design and responsibility, we will move fashion forward. It is of upmost importance to know where to find beautiful and cutting edge sustainable textiles. C.L.A.S.S is dedicated to exploring this idea through its eco material library, which not only has showrooms in London and Milan, but additional locations is in the planning.

photo via C.L.A.S.S.

We had the pleasure to sit down with Giusy Bettoni, CEO and Co-Founder of C.L.A.S.S., here in New York to discuss more about the show and the future of the industry:

MBF: What is your background and how did you start C.L.A.S.S. ?

GB: I have been working within the textiles system for more than 30 years, starting with “hands-on” experience within the raw material market development sector, working for major organizations. In 1993 I set up my own agency to develop the synergies between market development and communication. I have dedicated the last 10 years to promoting and communicating a clear message of responsible innovation throughout the textile, fashion, home and lifestyle categories, resulting in the launch of C.L.A.S.S. in 2007. C.L.A.S.S. (Creativity Lifestyle and Sustainable Synergy) is an International eco-platform that supports and promotes environmentally sensible products for fashion, home and design through a wide range of eco-textiles, yarns, processes and services. C.L.A.S.S.' global network of showrooms features a comprehensive materials library - available for businesses, designers and buyers. C.L.A.S.S. is also a complete communication, marketing and product development consulting service centered around a new approach to textiles that includes design, innovation and responsibility.

MBF: What brought you to New York?

GB: Since the beginning we have been receiving a lot of requests from the U.S.A. in general, but with a high relevance especially from NY and Los Angeles. It is really important to enable the market operators with information about innovative materials with a high content of design and responsibility, that’s the new successful marketing mix...a tridimensional approach. So when White decided to come with a special New York exhibition, we immediately took the chance!

photo via C.L.A.S.S.

MBF: How has sustainable fashion and lifestyle products evolved since we met over the last 2 years?

GB: I am really pleased first of all because sustainable fashion and lifestyle have a much higher (and growing rapidly) design content. This means getting closer to the consumer as well. In terms of innovation we have seen incredible steps to support this objective and these are also coming from industries and not just individual small realities.

MBF: What is the response of retailers/buyers? Has the demand for sustainable lifestyle products increased?

GB: It is for sure increasing as much as the offer is becoming closer to the 3 values that the product offer should, innovation, responsibility. The presence of the offer in the appropriate trade channels such as the White Show, where visitors are looking for ultimate in innovation and design, for very particular things in sustainable fashion is the ultimate in textile innovation and design!

MBF: What do you think drives the demand?

GB: First is design and the look of the offer. Everybody all over the world wants beautiful things. Design has a key role in all our lifestyle product choices! But, then when the market (and consumer) want performing things as well, responsibility can be the differentiator! It has to have a high value element.

photo via C.L.A.S.S.

MBF: What are your vetting criteria to become part of C.L.A.S.S.? What certifications are you using?

GB: A class partner has to fulfill the following elements:
• Product needs to be a creative one, has to have an innovative story and a responsible profile.
• We need to get technical fact sheets about each single product fabric producers present, so that we know which kind of innovation we are talking about.
• Same thing for the responsibility element: we need appropriate certifications depending on the material we are talking about. Eg Organic materials : we ask GOTS, or ICEA certification. Recycled materials : GRS by Textile exchange. Innovative materials coming from renewable sources : LCA , ECOprofile.

MBF: How will you grow your business? What are your short-term, mid-term and long-term goals?

GB: Our long-term goal is to evolve class toward the next macro market evolution, as sustainability will become a “standard” element in all the product ranges at consumer level. Mid-term, is to get industries behind this change because without them sustainability will remain a niche. Short-term is the information at 360 degrees about these incredible materials, and their commercial introduction at all levels of the supply chain.

MBF: What are the biggest changes taking place right now in your business?

GB: Every day we have a new step forward but for sure what is happening in these last 3 months is the real interest from established designers to include new materials in order to innovate the collection and not just to make something green.

photo via C.L.A.S.S.

Collaborating with C.L.A.S.S. is Filature Miroglio’s Newlife products, which are comprised of recycled polyester filament yarns that are sourced 100% from post-consumer bottles. Not only has Newlife been selected to participate in the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, but over 50 international textile partners have worked with the recycled fibres since its launch a little over a year ago.

With all these revolutionary leaders seeking change in the industry, we can only look forward to what's to come next. As Giusy said herself, “Fashion is like having to cook with many ingredients – we use new ingredients to get to another level.” While this recipe is still being prepped, we look forward to a taste test in the near future!

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