DRUMOHR BY GIOVANNI VARLONGA
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Knitwear and Hydropower – Going greener, Drumohr makes few real steps forward

Born in the 1700s, a knitwear house Drumohr defines tradition: in conversation with Owner and Ceo, Mr. Michele Ciocca: «We want the term sustainability in our brand to turn into a sort of mantra»

«We have been investing into sustainable generation of energy for several years, we are stakeholders of a small company that uses small hydropower like water pumps since 2010. Last year we just started using solar panels during the summer period, from spring until late autumn, basing our company’s everyday working hours on renewable energy. In addition to also working on trying to install geothermic generations in the upcoming year for things like heating and for hot water which we constantly use in order to wash the garments, aiming on decreasing the consumption of electricity, hot water and steam that we use from our machinery».

Michele Ciocca confesses that one of the challenges they faced and had to overcome when it came to creating this collection was the yarn, «the yarn had different reactions on the machinery and so we spent quite a lot of time trying to find the right balance and the right tuning of the machinery to be able to work, with the friction that happens the reaction of the yarn is completely different. We under evaluated the effort and time that it was going to take. Knowing we also had a deadline to stick to for the opening of GreenPea meant working day and night trying to meet the goal».

The first Green Retail Park in the world, Green Pea, located in Torino was one of the reasons the fashion brand was inspired to create their eco-friendly capsule; GreenPea poses as a ground for novel methods of consuming. «We’ve been in contact with Mr. Farinetti, founder of the food chain Eataly selling Italian products throughout the world, since he will be opening the first department store, GreenPea, a fifteen thousand squared meters department store with renewable collections and technologies made up of four stories – ground floor being dedicated the technology, design on the first floor, fashion on the second and lastly restaurants and pharmaceutical products on the third and fourth. We thought that the line of our collection being presented at GreenPea would be a combination. In terms of the presentation of the booth for our brand and for press we have used bio bricks using our waste production of fabrics; giving it a colorful yet sustainable presentation – looks like marble but it is done with our waste products during the production floor».

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Knitwear and Hydropower, sweaters Drumohr, Ph Giovanni Varlonga

Drumohr was born in 1770 in Dumfries, Scotland. A historic company fixating on knitwear. In 2006, the Scottish based brand was bought by the Ciocca Group, an Italian company strong in knitwear, and as a result relocating the production site from Scotland to Italy; rendering English values with an Italian savor. With the rise of the environmental crisis a new eco-friendly collection was born, delegating the name Sustainable Lifestyle consisting of the brand’s iconic timeless knitwear pieces. Ciocca explains, «We want to show that we are able to produce and get results by using a different process and raw materials. Once we do, we can then investigate more and see what we can improve. Since we are a classic brand, we want to show that we can achieve the same quality of our permanent garments with an entirely different process and raw materials».

Along with the high water and carbon footprint, the fashion industry’s intensive use of chemicals is hazardous not only to the environment and humans, but also represents an obstacle to textile recycling by contaminating purer recyclates. «People are becoming more and more aware of the effect we leave on the planet but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are prepared to switch from conventional products to sustainable ones. It is also a question of spending more money due to the complexity that occurs in the manufacturing stage: are customers open to the idea of spending more? To produce a sustainable product, you not only should consider the materials to be used but the entire process as a whole should be sustainable through the new renewable technology that is out in the market». The raw materials that are used in their garments are recycled cashmere, recycled wool and third material composed of 30% wool, 30% percent recycled wool and silk. «Knitwear is still a new market in the fashion industry, there are different approaches to achieve its sustainability».

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Knitwear and Hydropower, sweater Drumohr, Ph Giovanni Varlonga

The fashion industry accounts to ten percent of the planet’s carbon emissions – the second most polluting industry on earth after the oil and gas industry – and is considered to be one of the leading culprits for environmental degradation. Lately a shift in mindset is evident; sustainable and eco-friendly clothing lines are being commenced, dictating that fashion created must legitimize the prosperity of the planet and the people in it. «Italy was the biggest producer of fashion until the early 2000s, now it is a market for very high niche productions. Sustainability, as we are interpreting it, could be a niche for us where we produce everything in a sustainable environment, working in a safe and controlled space in terms of both energy and raw materials».

Fast fashion poses a threat to the environment with its overproduction of garments within the industry. There is an abundance of unsold garments that are hardly ever disposed of, what we as consumers may perceive as cheap and fashionable comes with a high price. In the past fifteen years, global clothing production has duplicated to meet consumer demand, resulting in an increase of sixty percent in the number of clothing items purchased each year. «What we do in Drumohr, is create garments that are high end and long lasting which may be more expensive but tend to last more time and for more seasons. We need to find a balance; with fast fashion a solution should be created in order to not waste as much material to find a way to use recycled machinery and materials for the future». Only what constitutes to a maximum of one percent of disposed clothing is recycled by sustainable fashion brands in the market, the remainder winds up polluting local rivers and oceans.  

From a consumer’s standpoint, relationships are built with clothing brands which will ultimately lead to growing a loyal audience from that brand. Drumohr’s sustainable practices that are portrayed in their latest clothing capsule have been deemed a quintessential step for the label in an attempt to combat climate change and minimize societal injustices on their part. 

IMAGE GALLERY

Drumohr is a knitwear brand founded in 1770 in Dumfries in the Scottish Highlands. The brand over the past two centuries and a half has acquired an international clientele, including the British Royal Family, the King of Norway, actors such as James Stewart and Audrey Hepburn and the crown prince of the Italian car industry, Gianni Agnelli.

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