Reblog from Tomato Mag – 9 June 2015
Initially it was a project on paper, a thesis in fashion design, for the course in new technologies for the fashion and textile materials of AFOL in Milan. The candidate was Adriana Santanocito and from there to a little would have begun the first experiments to make its tissue obtained from citrus fruit. After the initial tests in the laboratories of the department of chemical and materials of the Politecnico of Milan, Santanocito founded Orange Fiber with Enrica Arena, a graduate in communication and international cooperation, with whom she shared the home, the hometown – Catania – and the ecologist philosophy at the base of the project. “The desire to do and the love for my land have brought me to create something starting precisely from Sicily – tells Santanocito – I studied textiles and I served a lot of attention to all those sustainable. In 2011 I have identified a new trend for which they were born the fabric from milk and that from the rice. Sustainability is a key factor also in the formation of Enrica Arena, we have in common this philosophy of thought”.
FROM THE SCRAP TO THE FABRIC The sustainable commitment of Orange Fiber aims to resolve the problem of the accumulation of waste from the citrus industry: well 700,000 tonnes per year involving high costs of disposal. From here the intention to give new life to the pastazzo – technical term to define what remains of the citrus fruits after squeezing – which is still an Italian excellence. The pastazzo is processed – according to a patented process by young entrepreneurs – to be able to extract the cellulose that will form the final yarn. A biodegradable material like silk: soft to the touch and shiny appearance, with the same characteristics as any other fabric, suitable to be woven with any type of existing yarn. Inside are also contained essential oils in the form of capsules that dissolve in contact with the skin, smoothening. Three prototypes obtained from the fray with citrus fruits yarn: a lace silk black and white, a duchesse, color neutral between white and cream, similar to that which can be used for the summer jackets or dresses cocktail, and a fabric like viscose, very slight is indicated for the daily use, to be packaged shirts and summer clothes. Adriana Santanocito says: “The raw material could be at a low cost if it were not for the fact that nobody has ever made this undertaking: therefore, the all process is to make and has a very high cost”.
INTERNATIONAL AWARDS Now the goal of Orange Fiber is conversion to industrial scale after have created the production process , the entire production chain – resting to holdings for the conversion of waste citrus already existing on the Sicilian territory to contain the costs – and the manufacture of the first prototypes. Processes made possible from the economic point of view thanks to the support of public notice of Trentino Sviluppo and of the Ministry for Economic Development for the recovery of citrus fruits waste, as well as various private funding of sicilian investors. Added to these the national and international competition for startups, including Changemakers for Expo 2015 – in which Orange Fiber is entered in the top 10 selected projects – and em>Idea For Change of the UN , which has assessed the startup as the company with the highest economic potential and less environmental impact. “Our idea is industrial, non-digital – says Santanocito – and this requires a high capital. We have participated in various competition and calls resulting in different funding to grow our project, but we have also received recognitions from the institutions: presentations to Copenhagen and Wall Street have given us many satisfactions, we understood to be on the right track.”
A TISSUE NUTRIENT An ambitious project in which a “team work very cohesive – as specifies the foundress – so as to be able to deal with all contingencies that arise” play a strategic role. The main objective at the time is to be able to cope with the high demand of fabric to be part of the italian and foreign fashion, and probably also the collaboration with the designer who embraces the ethical values of Orange Fiber, to give shape to the fabric and show its enormous potential.