If we told you that in a few months in your favorite stores you can buy clothing made of citrus would you believe?
Well yes, that’s the first Orange Fiber sustainable fabric created using the citrus industry by-products. A project made in the South, born almost by chance thanks to a photo appeared on social networks depicting a field of citrus abandoned that pushes a young Sicilian, passionate both in fashion and sustainable fabrics as in love with his land, to have this “green” exciting idea.
By pointing to a green production, transparency and respect for the environment Orange Fiber is going to be the first mover in the sector in the Italian context.
To learn more about this exciting creation we interviewed Adriana Santanocito, creator of the project and Enrica Arena.
What is Orange Fiber and what are its main features?
Responds Adriana Santanocito – “Orange Fiber is the first fabric to the world created by the citrus.”
It is realized from “pastazzo” citrus, namely that damp residue that remains at the end of the industrial production of citrus juice and that today must be disposed of with substantial costs for the environment and for the production industries.
Thanks to the innovative patented process, we are able to exploit the potential of pastazzo for the extraction of cellulose citrus suitable for the spinning, transforming this difference into a new material capable of responding to the needs of sustainability and innovation of the textile and clothing sector and the needs of fashion consumers to have access to products that combine ethics and aesthetics.
The choice of fabrics produced so far include a satin and poplin – tissue obtained our exclusive yarn together with comasca silk and all cotton – and a twill 100% Orange Fiber, impalpable and light, similar to the viscose.
For future productions, we have developed a series of processes that enable us to produce various types of fabrics,from the most structured to the most delicate, in order to meet all the needs of creation of fashion brands.
How and when did the idea of creating a fabric of an organic product as an orange? Today in where you stand?
The dream of Adriana Santanocito – creator of the project – has always been to bring value to their land through the creation of a new material for fashion, his great passion.
In 2011, during his studies in Fashion Design and innovative materials all’AFOL Milan Fashion, Adriana intercepts the trend of sustainable fabrics and decides to go into that in his thesis.
At the same time, getting in touch with the producers of citrus, it remains very much affected by the suffering of the industry.
One photo in particular, shared on social networks by a mutual friend, an agronomist, depicting a citrus grove abandoned – in where no one took care of the trees or they would have reaped the rewards – triggers the spark: why not use citrus to create a fabric innovative and sustainable able to give new impetus to the Italian manufacturing sector and generate value for the territory?
From the theory expounded in his thesis, through collaboration with the Laboratory of Chemistry of Materials at the Milan Polytechnic, he is finally able to prove the feasibility of the process – for which deposits the Italian patent, then extended in the international PCT in 2014 – and get to practice: create a fiber from citrus fruits can.
Is during development of the process, it discovers the other serious issue plaguing the Sicilian citrus sector: the disposal of the squeezing-products – that is all that remains after the juice industrial production – that is worth about 1 million tonnes ‘year in Italy – and whose management involves enormous economic costs for the processing industries and impacts the environment.
At that time we shared the same house in Milan, the city where I too had moved to study communication and international cooperation, imagining a future in social business.
He spoke of his idea and I was struck: the sustainability and environmental protection have joined us and since that day we work side by side to Orange Fiber, the first sustainable fabric created from the citrus industry by-products.
We are currently working on optimizing the process of industrial production and the first marketing of the tissue.
Within the first half of 2017 we plan to introduce to the market the first garments made with our exclusive fabric from citrus fruits as a fashion brand, which married ethical values and shapes the fabric showing its potential.
How many and what types of evidence you had of your project? Greater interest from Italian and foreign companies?
Our Orange Fiber has aroused and continues to arouse much curiosity and interest of companies, brands and entrepreneurs belonging to various industries, from fashion to home textiles, from packaging to automotive.
From 2014 – the year the company was founded – in particular, we have collected numerous expressions of interest from several top Italian and foreign fashion brands, which demonstrates the great demand from the fashion industry of new materials, innovative and sustainable the fact that the our products meet the needs of innovation, sustainability and quality required by the luxury fashion sector.
Oranges are the gold of our island and as we all know most of them do not enter the market and end up as pulp. You understand how to use this golden joining the Sicilian agri-food tradition with fashion. Think about that other projects can be born from this insight?
Notes: We would like to clarify that to produce the Orange fiber fabric does not employ the fruit excluded from the fresh market and destined to be destroyed, but the citrus byproducts, that is all that remains at the end of the industrial squeezing oranges for the production of juices fruit.
Fashion has experienced profound changes, both in production processes and for the choice of materials, taking more and more aware of its impact and the need to rethink the models to satisfy the consumers and the market, more and more attention in recent years the quality and the protection of health and environment.
With Fiber Orange intend to firstly meet these new demands by offering an elegant and quality fabric that combines aesthetics and ethics intact and preserve the planet’s resources for future generations.
We believe that our model – based on the creation of a new material for fashion since the food waste – can also be applied to other food products and represent an effective and sustainable response to the growing demand for cellulose for textiles from around the world fashion – due to the volatility of cotton and oil prices – while preserving the planet’s resources for future generation.
Where do you want Orange Fiber arrive in a few years?
In the medium term we expect to continue to test, improve and scale our business idea, further developing our process on the circular economy model and consolidating our presence in the field of sustainable and innovative fabrics market.
With Orange Fiber, in fact, we want to be the first mover in the Italian segment of sustainable fabrics through a “green” production of cellulosic textiles from renewable sources and create a highly recognizable textile brand and differentiated from others for its commitment to environmental protection and the transparency of the entire production chain.
SicilyandSicilians born with the aim to promote the excellence of our land thanks to the enhancement of the youngest and specifically contemporary art of the new generations. Want to tell us yours? What advice / input you give us?
We appreciate the project of Sicily and Sicilians, and we believe it can be an excellent showcase for young aspiring artists and entrepreneurs. Our experience tells us that networking and develop the excellence of the territory system – how do you propose to do – can make a difference in the development of their project, business or artistic it. Thanks to the networking you can find the skills they need to develop their own ideas, acquire reliable partners and adequate visibility to emerge. On like Sicily and Sicilians!