A new brand is born: Rifò. It originates from a start-up from the textile district of Prato, Italy and its name sounds like a Tuscan expression meaning “I redo.” And it does redo as the new brand offers knitted tops made from recycling old jeans meant to be destroyed.
How did you start Rifò?
My background is international cooperation experiences in different Asian countries, while Clarissa is studying communication with a special interest in social media. We wanted to use our competences for giving new value to Prato’s industrial skills not many are aware of.
Thanks to a mechanical and artisanal process developed in Prato over 100 years ago fabric remains can be transformed in new garments that maintain the same qualities of the original product. For this reason we decided to take this traditional technique and use it for recycling jeans, a product that can be found easily in our city. We thought it was a nice idea using jeans differently–and as a raw material–for creating a product that didn’t exist in the market yet.
Apart from reusing old jeans pairs how sustainable is your productive process?
All jeans used for this collection are collected in Italy. For each new top we recycle five jeans items destined for the rubbish dump or incinerator. Thanks to our process we can produce a knitted top using 80 liters of water only against the 3,000 ones needed for producing a knitted top in virgin cotton by reducing the use of water by 97%, energy by 77%, CO2 by 95% and 100% for dyeing and chemical substances. By producing at zero Km in the Prato textile district, we create new job opportunities, reduce fuel consumption, and keep a high standard in terms of quality and ethics in the productive process.
Yes, we can. Though by producing woven fabrics we need to reach specific minimum production quantities that we cannot guarantee yet. We always prefer to start testing our new products by starting with small quantities.
Are your sweaters made with 100% recycled denim or do you also employ other fibers?
In our labels we indicate that our tops are made with 97% recycled cotton from old jeans as the remaining 3% stays for the sewing yarns we use for stitching, embroideries and for fixing labels.
Do the Rifò tops require any specific care?
These items have the same properties of those made with virgin raw materials as they can be home laundered as any new one. However we recommend to always handwash them for better care and for a lowering the environmental impact, though there are no problems in machine washing them.