Rifò's 2021: the milestones of a year of transition
As we come to the end of this last year, we would like to take the opportunity to share with you a recap of our most important and meaningful moments.
There have been many, and we still had to make a selection, so let’s start right away by telling you about the moments that marked our 2021.
2021 in the name of virtual meetings
As sadly seems to be the norm by now, national and international trade fairs and meeting opportunities are becoming increasingly rare. So Rifò too started its 2021 without any trips abroad and without any trade fairs to set up.
On the other hand, in the first few months of the year we started a collaboration by introducing our sample collection to Zalando. Being on such a marketplace was an opportunity to deal with a very structured reality, and this experience allowed us to grow a lot, both from the point of view of logistics and internal management management of production.
Naturally, there has been no shortage of criticism on this subject, and some have blamed us for choosing to sell our products to a platform whose discount policy is not aligned with ours. However, we believe that the mere presence of a brand like Rifò on Zalando is more of a good thing than a bad thing, and we hope to contribute to making the “Sustainability” label a more authentic one.
Niccolò gives a Ted Talk at TedXFirenze
A major moment of satisfaction in February 2021: the Ted Talk of our Niccolò for TedXFirenze, which was filmed in December, was released. Bringing our rifolutionary idea of a return to emotions in the clothing sector, onto such a stimulating stage was one of the greatest moments, which we look back on with big smiles on our faces.
The zero waste collection comes to life
Being a clothing brand has made us aware that production waste, despite being something we don’t like, is unavoidable. So, during this year we have been looking for new ways to cut it down to zero. As a result, whenever there is any leftover fabric, yarn or material from our production, we do not throw it away and try to reuse it and turn it into something else.
Our zero waste line is the result of a joint effort between imagination and the production requirements of local craftsmanship: scrunchies, clutch bags, as well as t-shirts and gloves made out of yarns that have reached the end of the spool.
It may be a bit utopian, but we thought that any given inch of fabric or yarn was made by consuming limited resources, energy and water. So why should this material be thrown away? We believe it’s our job to find a use, a meaning for it.
Moreover, this allows us to create low priced products, because this raw material costs us very little. Thus, through the zero waste line, we allow more and more people to try our items and get closer to the Rifò family.
The first suit made of recycled jeans
One of the absolute novelties among the products we developed in 2021 was the recycled denim suit. For the first time, we created a sweatshirt fabric from recycled denim yarn, exploring an unknown field, namely sportswear.
The Sustainability Report
In 2021 we decided to put our numbers down on paper and in April, during Fashion Revolution Week, we came out with our sustainability report. It was a very helpful operation, besides being fun, as it allowed us to take stock looking back on 2020 with a more objective eye.
The composition of our recycled t-shirt changes
To recycle polyester or not to recycle polyester? This spring we found ourselves at a crossroads when it came to the new Rifò collection of recycled t-shirts.
The truth is that our dream is that of creating a 100% recycled and natural t-shirt, but so far it seems practically impossible to guarantee good quality.
That’s why we came to a compromise, and eventually decided to discard polyester. We created a new t-shirt with a 50% virgin organic cotton and 50% recycled cotton fabric.
This is the garment with the highest virgin fibre composition in our collection and, we won't deny it, it was a little difficult to swallow. However, we accepted it in order to eliminate plastic altogether and have a 100% natural and recyclable composition.
What do you say? Did you appreciate the choice?
Expanding the old jeans collection service to NaturaSì shops
The Re-Think Your Jeans pilot project started in 2020 in 5 NaturaSì shops, and in spring 2021 it was extended to 107 shops. The success of the project has meant a great source of pride for the whole Rifò team for two main reasons:
1. Because it has fulfilled our dream of actually offering a decluttering service for people, providing a concrete answer to the question “where do I throw these old jeans?”
2. Because it strengthened a relationship with an important Italian player in the field of sustainability and gave the Rifò project great visibility.
We collected 512 kg of old jeans in just a few months. The word has spread like wildfire and by September the project already had 12 more shops, 119 in total. Any shop is invited to participate in the initiative and can join Re-Think Your Jeans by directly applying to NaturaSì.
Will we be able to have our boxes in all NaturaSì supermarkets nationwide by 2022?
Rifò’s family and rooms grow.
In July the long-awaited relocation happened. It had been many months since our old space in Piazza Ciardi had become far too cramped. The search for a new venue, however, turned out to be less trivial than expected, given our need to have a semi-industrial space, which should however be close to the city centre and public transport.
Fortunately, we finally found the shoe that fits our foot and from the small co-working space we used to be in, we moved to the 470 square metres of our new Via FIlicaia 26/C home. A new era has begun for Rifò!
In the meantime, the Rifò team has also grown. One year on, we have almost doubled in size and are now structured in increasingly distinct teams: product development and design, communication, customer service and operations. We are right now 14 people who think, work together, help each other, worry and rejoice together.
While many new members have joined the team, some birds have also flown the coop. Our former designer Camilla, the first addition to the Rifò team, has bet on her city and the beauty of Made in Italy and returned to Siena, in order to open a fantastic millinery hat shop. Good luck Camilla!
Wir sprechen Deutsch
Rifò products have always been successful in Germany, where awareness of sustainable purchasing has been strong for several years already.
In order to feel a little closer to this culture, we decided to start speaking its language by translating our website, currently available in Italian, English and German. Our thanks go to our valuable team members Lara and Lucrezia, who helped us with the translation and to our friend Julia who supervised everything.
Finally a sustainable coat
In October we launched another bombshell, coats in carded recycled wool, made from a fabric that is recycled and woven in Prato.
It all started with some friends’ question: "Which brand would you recommend to buy myself a sustainable coat?".
As we didn’t find a totally adequate answer, we decided to give it ourselves.
This is how we released the Ginko kimono and the Achab peacoat, expanding our product range and getting closer and closer to our idea of creating a total look made up of basic yet sophisticated pieces, which will be useful, timeless and able to last over the years in a wardrobe.
It was a bet, considering that both coats have a slightly higher outlet price compared to our average. Once again, people have recognised the quality and the craftsmanship of the tailoring and that positively surprised us. Suffice it to say that we already have to think about the second production of Achab and Ginko!
A year of great partnerships
One of the greatest accomplishments of 2021 was the establishment and nurturing of partnerships with wonderful realities.
In some cases, we are still wondering whether this is true or whether we are daydreaming.
NaturaSì, with which the Rew-Think Your Jeans project went ahead.
Betta Knit, with which we renewed the collaboration for the Re-Cashmere balls of wool, made with our own recycled cashmere yarn.
Progetto Quid, for which we have created a recycled cashmere knitwear capsule.
Muji, which will host our boxes for the old 100% wool and 100% cashmere garments collection until February 2022.
Dynamo The Good Company, with which we collaborated and developed a blanket in push cotton.
Levi's®, which approached us for a long-term project. As of today, we are in their shop window in via Orefici shop in Milan, for a recycling and upcycling campaign of old jeans.
New social impact, from 2lovePrato to Nei nostri panni
Since its foundation, Rifò has allocated 2 € from each purchase on its online shop to various charitable projects carried out in collaboration with local realities: 2lovePrato project.
From the maintenance of a mountain gut, to after-school activities for children and the botanical city garden, from the very beginning our idea was that of supporting something concrete, giving birth to these initiatives and trying to see their fruits.
During this year, we have developed the desire to go one step further, creating a new social impact project of our own. A project that could combine the themes of training and social integration with the production chain of textile regeneration.
So we started working on Nei nostri panni, cenciaioli si diventa (In our shoes, one becomes cenciaiolo), a project that will officially start in 2022. It will be a school to train tomorrow’s cenciaioli, the artisans of regeneration. Grants for paid internships will be awarded to young people from migrant reception activities in the area .
Feeling a touch of fear and a lot of enthusiasm, we can’t wait to see what good things this cultural melting pot will generate.
Thank you, indeed.
We would like to close this summary of RIfò’s 2021 by thanking all those who decided to talk about us. Newspapers, documentaries, websites, TV series, influencers, but also anyone who has spread the word (in a positive way, hopefully!) about Rifò.
This year, there has been an impressive boom among Italian documentaries dealing with sustainable fashion. We were very pleased to be interviewed and to see the fine work of Intrecci Etici and also that of Green Storytellers, in the episode dedicated to ethical and slow fashion realities that exist in Italy (they are a lot!).
Plus, one of the achievements of 2021 was achieving the highest score in the survey released by Altro Consumo, which has always been on the side of consumer rights and quality, examining the sustainability of a number of Italian clothing brands.
Right! In 2021 we also stopped by the Senate of the Republic. Invited by Senator Emma Pavanelli to the meeting “PROMOTION OF THE ITALIAN ECO-SUSTAINABLE TEXTILE INDUSTRY”, we discussed how this sector can be strengthened and improved through institutional actions.
Finally, we would like to thank all those who believe in our project, who followed us in 2021 and who will continue to be one of us in 2022.
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