The hosiery industry is facing a series of new challenges. The new lifestyles of Millennial consumers are transforming their clothing choices, too. These rapid but unstoppable changes are also affecting accessories like women’s legwear and manufacturers must now develop the styles and the functional benefits their products are expected to provide.
As Alessandro Gallesi, president of the ADICI (Hosiery and Intimate Wear District Association) of Castel Goffredo explains, “Members of the new generations are increasingly demanding high-performance garments in terms of comfort, well-being and interactivity with electronic devices. At the same time, issues like eco-sustainability of the yarns, biodegrability, the use of recoverable raw materials and non-toxic dyestuffs are now fundamental elements in our consumers’ choices. As a result, innovation that aims to improve fabric performance and eco-sustainability is the core strategy on which Italian manufacturers should focus their resources if they are to remain successful in the competitive framework that lies just around the corner”.
10 YEARS OF CHANGES
A GREEN PHILOSOPHY
Fulgar, world leader and a significant presence in Italy’s hosiery district, has already taken up this challenge. Operating in the development of new-conception man-made fibres, it has extensive experience in research and innovation, combined with a commitment to sustainability. This is made clear by the constantly-expanding green portfolio that now boasts - EVO®, a bio-based yarn derived from castor oil, Q-NOVA® fibre made from regenerated raw materials and AMNI SOUL ECO, a biodegradable polyamide.
Launched five years ago, Q-NOVA® was the first speciality by Fulgar whose development was based on green issues. This eco-sustainable yarn makes production processes more sustainable in their turn, enabling reductions in CO2 emissions and cuts in water use. Q-NOVA is obtained exclusively from regenerated raw materials through a mechanical process that does not involve the use of any chemicals that could compromise the final product’s sustainability.
This valuable product gained European Ecolabel EU and international Global Recycled Standard certification in 2013. Both standards attest to the brand’s recycling system and the quantity of recycled material. In 2017 Q-NOVA® yarn was included on the Higg Index, which assesses the environmental impact of a garment developed by the SAC (Sustainable Apparel Coalition) over its entire lifetime.
In the same year Fulgar successfully submitted its entire production cycle for environmental impact assessment using a scientific method called LCA - Life Cycle Assessment – carried out in line with PEF methods. In 2019, again in the context of sustainability, Fulgar extended and updated to appendix 6 its OEKO- TEX® std 100 Class I certification for all articles produced. Fulgar is the first company to obtain this for polyamides across its range.
Fulgar’s commitment has anticipated some elements that have since become obligatory.
In the words of Massimo Bensi, president of CSC Enterprise Services Service, "The production divisions of our companies have a continuing commitment in terms of investment to cut energy consumption and so further limit the environmental impact of our products. We expect a cut in energy consumption of up to 50% over the next 3-5 years. The know-how possessed by the companies in our district developed in areas related to hosiery like seamless intimate garments, medical sector products and functional-technical wear, is set to explore new horizons – in the footwear industry, for example – in the wake of the sock-shoe phenomenon ".
The successful assets of the innovative and eco-sustainable yarns by Fulgar are part of an offer that has not passed unnoticed by the Northern European research brands, which are traditionally more sensitive to innovation and sustainability in every context, from food to furnishings, personal care and clothing.
The growing number of consumers seeking hosiery products that are not only fashionable and high-performance but also ethical and above all eco-sustainable, has persuaded the Danish brand Dear Denier – present at the Interfilière fair in Paris – and the Swedish brand Swedish Stockings to choose the recycled Q-NOVA® by Fulgar yarn for their new collections.
Dear Denier offers tights and stockings with a clean, essential design that also provide new-conception hi-tech benefits while ensuring eco-sustainability. Dear Denier uses Q-NOVA® yarn for its Eco ERICA and LÆRKE lines and the new TINE and PETRINA fantasy collections.
Swedish Stockings has chosen Fulgar’s recycled yarn for all its collections, from its Edith Lace, Frida Lace, Irma and Stina Premium tights to its Liv Net and Rut Net knee-highs and Ida liner socks. Moreover, in March 2019 Swedish Stockings will launch the world's first fully recycled pantyhose line – with 100% recycled yarn – like the Maria model made with Q-NOVA®.