Orange Fiber, a relatively new and cutting-edge company, takes from Italy’s 700,000 tons of orange waste produced yearly and transforms it into a sustainable, silk-like fabric – the first of its kind. The brilliant forces behind Orange Fiber, Adriana Santanocito and Enrica Arena, met in 2011 while finishing their studies at university and soon discovered a shared passion for green innovation within the fashion industry. While Adriana was focused on developing new and sustainable products, Enrica was perusing a career in the world of sustainable development and social entrepreneurship. “We had different backgrounds but we shared the dream of changing the world, starting from our country, Italy, and region, Sicily, using our skills and passion,” said Enrica about the symbiotic partnership. A collaboration with Ferragamo in April of this year not only marked the company’s first time working with another brand, it solidified their commitment to bringing sustainable design values to the fashion industry by helping those who wear their products to not simply be consumers, but contributors to the Luxury 3.0 movement.
FIVE QUESTIONS WITH ENRICA ARENA OF ORANGE FIBER
What are 5 words that best describe Orange Fiber?
Origin, innovation, sustainability, creativity, commitment.
What is one thing you'd like to see change in the future?
The fashion industry. Second to oil, fashion and textile are the most polluting industries in the world.
Every stage in a garment’s life threatens our planet and its resources. It can take more than 20,000 liters of water to produce 1kg of cotton – equivalent to a single t-shirt and pair of jeans. Up to 8,000 different chemicals are used to turn raw materials into clothes, including a range of dyeing and finishing processes. The adoption of sustainable and ethical business model, considering the environmental and human cost of manufacturing clothing as crucial as profit, is the key to restart the fashion industry and take our world beyond the next season.
Is there anything you can't bring yourself to throw away?
Yes, there is. It’s the idea that sustainable fashion is something unappealing in the eyes of the majority of consumers, placed on the same level as tie-dyed hemp t-shirts and rainbow, woolen socks - hippyish, weird and not desirable. As Eva Kruse – President and CEO of Global Fashion Agenda and Copenhagen Fashion Summit, the world’s largest forum on sustainable fashion – said, “Sustainable fashion can be equally sexy, desirable and fantastic in every way. The aim is to create the brilliance with less impact on people and our planet.” This is our commitment with Orange Fiber. Straight from Mother Nature, we offer a fabric that’s as fabulous to wear as it is to design with.
What does "waste less, reimagine more" mean to you?
It means a cultural and an economic revolution, a radical shift from linear to the circular economy that involves the way we produce and consume. The Orange Fiber supply chain – from citrus juice byproducts to spinning, weaving and finishing – is our effort toward sustainable fashion and lifestyle, our creative way to contribute to a zero-waste development.
What do you value most in the world?
Natural resources. For this reason, we developed and patented an innovative process that reduces the costs and the environmental impact of pollution related to the industrial waste of citrus transformation, extracting from it a raw material — not a rival to food — apt for textile spinning. Our solution offers the opportunity to satisfy the increasing need of cellulose for the textile industry thus preserving natural resources. Compared to existing man-made fibers from cellulose – either from wood or from hemp and bamboo – our fiber does not require dedicated yield alternatives to food consumption or relying on natural resources, but reuses a waste thus saving land, water, fertilizers and environmental pollution.