Orange Fiber: The Eco-Sustainable Fabric From Orange Waste
This one certainly could not be missing from our success story session! If you are passionate about fashion or avid seekers of innovation and sustainability you have probably already heard of it. If not…here is the whole story. Made in Italy or rather… Made in Sicily! Orange Fiber: The Eco-Sustainable Fabric From Orange Waste, lets see more about it.
We are talking about Orange Fiber, probably one of the most successful startups in the fashion sector, and which is undoubtedly the representation of Italy that we like most: set within the principles of a circular and sustainable economy, innovative and proud of the Made in Italy.
Eco-Sustainable becomes reality: Orange Fiber
Orange Fiber’s is not the only case of its kind. An innovative business idea was born from the idea of a degree thesis. Orange fiber forced to believe, good ideas are rewarded over time.
It was 2013 when for her thesis in Fashion Design at AFOL Moda in Milan, Adriana Santanocito from Catania decided to explore the world of textile innovation. There was already talk of eco-sustainability in the fashion industry.
They began to look for alternative ideas concrete to the extremely polluting production processes of the textile sector. If the future must be the protection of the environment and the recycling of raw materials. Why not recycle one of the symbols of her land, Sicily! Land of sun, sea and… citrus fruit! This is the initial idea: to take food waste from oranges, the symbol of her land, and transform them into elegant quality fabrics.
From here begins the story of Orange Fiber, when Adriana talks about her idea to her friend Enrica Arena, also from Catania, also a student in Milan in International Cooperation for Development. Sometimes it’s enough to share an idea with the right friends to give life to a dream, that of combining innovation, sustainability and Made in Italy quality to make the world we live in a better place, which is also the company’s vision.
The idea, in addition to being innovative and green, with the help of the Materials Chemistry laboratory of the Milan Polytechnic, turns out to be more than feasible. So the patent was done in 2014 Adriana. And Enrica found Orange Fiber based in their Catania and in Trentino, headquarters of the lenders. In September 2014 we get straight to the point with the presentation of the first fabric obtained from citrus waste mixed with silk.
Oranges: Innovative and Sustainable Fabric
Now let me tell you how Orange Fiber fabric actually created. The starting product are precisely the oranges of Sicily, and also all citrus fruits in general, lemons, tangerines. And the like that are used in the food industry, which clearly uses their juice and pulp. What remains are the scraps, what remains from the squeezing of citrus fruits, called pastazzo. And this is where Orange Fiber comes into play. Instead of being disposed of, thanks to the patent process.
A cellulose is obtained from this compound. Which can be used to create a yarn from which Orange Fiber is then obtained. The fabric obtained from the by-product of citrus fruits.
The result is a high quality, soft and slightly shiny fabric that deliberately recalls silk. The goal was in fact to create a fabric that was worthy of Made in Italy high fashion. But in a low environmental impact version. Orange Fiber lends itself to different types of creations in the fashion world. And is versatile, being possible to mix it with other strictly eco-friendly raw materials, such as organic cotton, for example.
Orange Fiber’s idea of circular economy
Orange Fiber is in fact one of the forerunners of that circular economy that we have been hearing so much about in recent months. And as sustainability enthusiasts, especially in the fashion world, we cannot fail to underline this aspect. Let’s see the reasons why Orange Fiber fabric falls within the concept of circular economy:
The raw material used is recycled.
In fact, the citrus fruit pastezzo derives from the citrus industry. Which obviously means that the manufacturing process to arrive at the finished fabric has a low environmental impact, in all stages of processing. No resources are used for the cultivation of the raw material nor any polluting chemical agents are used. A nd the production of waste is almost nil.
Apply the economic model of upcycling.
Upcycling where the waste from the creation of a product is used to create a completely different product. That has a very specific name, namely upcycling, and is one of the five possible business models for achieving a circular economy. The benefits of upcycling are all in favor of the environment, avoiding the use of new raw materials. And thus limiting the pollution deriving from the disposal of those waste. From this point of view, the benefits are not only environmental but also economic. It is well known that disposing of waste costs money. The quantity of citrus waste in Italy amounts to more than 700,000 tons per year. Imagine being able to reuse all of them instead of disposing of them.
The fabric obtained is biodegradable.
You got it right! The life cycle of the clothes created from the Orange Fiber fabric is 360 degrees circular. After getting used and finally reaching the end point of its life. It is composted without leaving any trace and without creating any pollution. Even the dyes used to give the fabrics the necessary vivacity they are all natural and non-polluting. In this way they do not pollute either during production or during decomposition.
In short, the incredible innovation and sustainability of the fabric is immediately perceptible. The founders of Orange Fiber did not have to wait long for success. In 2017 it attracted the attention of a major brand in Made in Italy fashion. It was in fact the Salvatore brand Ferragamo to launch the first high fashion collection created with Orange Fiber biodegradable fabric. When ideas are promising right from the start and from orange scraps to luxury boutiques it’s a moment!
Not only luxury brands but also the H&M brand has used Orange Fiber in its Conscious Exclusive 2019 collection. We are therefore waiting for fabrics like that of Orange Fiber to become the norm in the fashion world. To achieve the fashion we dream of, non-polluting and in total respect for the environment.
We hope that more and more companies will follow the example of Orange Fiber. And all the other young startups that continue to give a reason to be proud of Made in Italy. Even more so when the example comes from young female entrepreneurs, demonstrating that everything is except for the weaker sex. And above all if those entrepreneurs come from southern Italy which continues to depopulate.
URS FASHION will soon introduce few collection made up of orange fiber in future. As we believe in fashion with sustainability. Do check our latest collection of party outfits, evening outfits, vacation wear and what not…