By February 2019 Dondup will launch its first D/Zero sustainable jeans capsule as part of a project aimed at redefining its own identity as premium forward-thinking denim brand. The project was developed as a collaboration with premium denim manufacturer Candiani Denim and Chicco Barina, head of design, Dondup, a longtime insider of the jeanswear industry as well as owner of creative consulting agency Black Studio.
“I have been thinking about developing a sustainable jean project for a long time and finally we could start it,” explains Matteo Marzotto, president and shareholder of the Italian premium denim brand Dondup. “Since the ’90s, when I worked for Marzotto Group, though even earlier back in the ’70s, our industry has been trying hard to reduce its impact on the environment. By meeting with Candiani Denim and collaborating with Chicco Barina, we have finally reached our first goal.”
The new D/Zero capsule collection offers 100% Made in Italy organic cotton T-shirts and a selection of six jeans treated with sustainable, traceable and certified washes and carrying water-printed graphics on their inner surface. The jeans are made with Candiani Denim fabrics produced according to eco-friendly manufacturing processes that employ Kitotex and Indigo Juice, exclusive treatments using 50% less water and 70% less chemicals than the production of standard fabrics. By adding special certified treatments and finishing on this special selection of denim garments, Dondup can save an average of 75% water, 20% chemicals and 58% energy, as verified by E.I.M. software by Jeanologia.
“D/Zero pieces are 100% Made in Italy, as part of a strategy to start ‘zero-kilometer’ allegiances among Made in Italy excellence partners,” continues Marzotto. “This highly engaging project not only promotes our best Made in Italy industrial tradition, but also an innovative sustainability where aesthetic and function play key roles,” he adds explaining that for this first step Dondup invested about €1 million.
“We think this new project offers pieces that are ‘same but different,’ as they have the same image, fit, function and price of our regularly produced jeans, though have a lower impact on the environment,” adds Marzotto.
The capsule will be sold at retail prices between €190-€260–like the brand’s regular selection–available from February 2019 for s/s 2019 in a selection of 100 stores worldwide, including Milan’s Dondup flagship store. Dondup will also promote the project through a road show happening in some of the main international fashion capitals. The first one is expected to take place in Los Angeles, very probably in Candiani’s own Development Center, in early 2019.
“The D/Zero project we have been involved with is part of what we at Candiani consider the most advanced evolution of premium denim today,” says Simon Giuliani, marketing manager, Candiani Denim. “The ‘premium denim’ market phenomenon was born in the early 2000s in the US, LA and the East Coast. These jeans were made in the US high-quality jeans characterized by top-level fit, wash and performance. When they were born in 2003 there were about 60 premium denim brands and already in 2009 had already become over 300. At that time most of these brands used Italian, Japanese and US top quality denims. Though in order to maximize their profits in a saturating market many brands started lowering quality and costs of their products and mostly invested in VIPs and testimonials rather than taking care of quality.”
Giuliani continues: “I think that today, in order to gain market quotas in the premium and luxury segments, premium denim brands have to increase their quality and add a fourth indispensable aspect to fit, wash and performance–sustainability. This can help them stand out from the crowd of mainstream market and meet today’s highly demanding and competent consumer requests.”
Dondup is strongly committed to sustainable matters and aims to continue its path in this direction, as Marzotto explains: “We want to include more eco-friendly denims and aim to gradually switch and offer products only characterized by these criteria. We want to include more eco-friendly materials in our whole collection, as, for instance silk, as Kitotex treatment was initially applied to silk, though also wool, a material that can be recycled and regenerated with great quality results according to longtime Italian expertise.”
Dondup, controlled by international Private Equity L Catterton since 2015, expects to close 2018 reaching €60 million in revenues, with 52% coming from denim sales. It operates through the brand’s premises in Fossombrone, in Central Italy, its Milan headquarters and through four showrooms in Milan, Rome, Paris and Munich.