by Shamiso Chimbo
The Armani Group is making waves in sustainable fashion by establishing an agroforestry plantation in Southern Italy. Leading the charge to tackle fashion’s environmental pollution, Armani Group is experimenting with new ways to produce cotton sustainably.
According to Armani, their Apulia Regenerative Cotton Project will “focus on the development of agroforestry-based cotton production.”
The Group explained, “This innovative approach responds to increasing consumer demand for sustainable fashion globally, and at the same time, it ensures traceable and resilient value chains as well as the safety of resources.”
The project will be among the first experiments to test new methods of sustainable cotton production in Italy. With a notably warm climate the region in Southern Italy has been home to cotton farming for centuries, dating back to the 12th Century.
Agroforestry is a system which plants trees in and around crop and pasture areas. This includes trees on farms, agricultural landscapes and forests. The system incorporates a wide range of trees that are protected, regenerated, planted or managed in agricultural landscapes as they interact with annual crops, livestock, wildlife and humans.
As forests are cleared for agriculture and other developments, agroforestry is a sustainable way to retain the benefits of trees integrating them into agriculturally-productive landscapes.
The project is part off the Sustainable Markets Initiative’s Fashion Task Force, and the Circula Bioeconomy Alliance; founded by King Charles when he was the Prince of Wales.
The task force is committed to leading the fashion, textile and apparel sectors to transition to a sustainable future. It will introduce a digital ID system which will allow consumers to verify the sustainability data of their garment as well as exploring regenerative farming practices.
Armani is not the only luxury brand experimenting with creating sustainable fabrics. Kering (YSL and Gucci’s parent company) committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2035.
The luxury group is driving sustainable fashion incorporating methods such as regenerative agriculture, quality over volume and improving efficiency on processes and raw material sourcing. EU governments have also introduced a ban on the destruction of unsold textiles to reduce the amount of waste produced by the industry which currently generates 25% of the union’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The Apulia Regenerative Cotton project will be the one of the first sites to assess methods to produce sustainable cotton in Italy. The site planting began in May 2022. One hectare cotton field was planted and this will extend to five hectares in 2024. Scientific reports will assess the quality of cotton produced and also the environmental impact of different plots.
Edited by Emily Duff