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Between tradition and innovation

A circular approach to fashion

We believe in innovation rooted in tradition.

A tradition of textile recycling and resource optimization with over a hundred years of history.

This is where we start addressing the sustainability challenges, both environmental and social, that we aim to respond to in order to stimulate change in the fashion industry.

A brief history of textile recycling in Prato

“Not only the history of Italy but the one of the whole Europe ends in Prato, starting from ancient times when people from Prato have started making “pannilani” with the waste of all the world.

Curzio Malaparte

  1. 12th - 13th century

    Evidence from this period shows craftsmen working in the textile sector in Prato. This activity in the Prato area was favored by several environmental factors, such as the availability of water from the Bisenzio river and the presence of suitable countryside for grazing sheep, from which wool was obtained.
  2. 19th century

    Starting in the 19th century, Prato began its process of industrialization. During this period, large quantities of 'rags,' old clothes, and waste arrived in the city, paving the way for the tradition of 'recycled wool,' a revolution for the Italian textile industry and beyond.
  3. Early 20th century

    During World War II, the textile industry came to a halt due to bomb damage. It was the 'Prato miracle' of the post-war period that fueled the city's economic growth. The flourishing economy, from the 1960s onwards, enabled the renewal of machinery and technology, establishing Prato as an international center for the textile sector.
  4. Late 20th century

    The recent years were marked by a severe crisis for the Made in Italy clothing industry. Overproduction and overconsumption led brands to relocate their production to developing countries in order to further lower prices. This resulted in small and medium-sized local companies, repositories of historical skills and know-how, being forced to close.
  5. Today

    The growing awareness of a more thoughtful way of consumption and increased environmental protection awareness have brought new attention to Prato. Here, where rags were turned into new yarn out of practicality, they continue to be recycled today to reduce the significant impact of the fashion industry. Rifò chose to play an active part in this process and helps preserve this tradition.


Textile innovation

While innovation is often associated with new technologies, it encompasses any process, concept, product, or service that adds value compared to the past

For us, this means enhancing the tradition of textile recycling in a contemporary and sustainable way. Our goal is to preserve craft skills and continue transforming what is considered waste into a new resource.

The new concept of recycled fashion that we want to propose as an alternative to fast fashion is based on these processes.

Circular economy

All our actions are based on the principle of reciprocity, meaning we strive to give back to the earth what we extracted in the past.

Creating garments that are recycled and recyclable, in turn, is revolutionary for the fashion industry, which is dominated by extractive logic that encourages overconsumption.

From waste to a new resourceand it's not just about  materials and resources. This principle also has social and economic implications. For example, the social project Nei Nostri Panni, offers local migrants an opportunity for integration and work while preserving a new generation of endangered crafts.

The support of technology

Emerging technologies play a key role in making this sector competitive, not only in the evolution of recycling processes but also in the traceability and transparency of production chains.

Thanks to the BCome platform, for example, we were able to monitor and quantify our environmental impacts for each single product through a certified Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study.

This way, we declare our impacts and compare ourselves to the industry standards in which we operate.

Prizes and Awards

As evidence of our commitment to combining tradition and innovation, we received several awards over the years:

  • Change Award promoted by CNA - 2018
  • Tuscany Innovation Award promoted by the Region, Anci Toscana, Confindustria, Rete Imprese and Unioncamere Toscana - 2019
  • Sustainable Fashion Awards sponsored by Camera della Moda Italiana - 2022
  • WeMed Awards sponsored by MedWaves - 2022
  • Rolando Polli Prize sponsored by Ambienta and McKinsey - 2023
  • America Innovation Award sponsored by the Italy USA Foundation - 2023
  • Sustainable Development Award 2023 promoted by the Foundation for Sustainable Development and 'Italian Exhibition Group - Ecomondo' – 2023
  • Sustainable Enterprise Award 2023 - Social Category promoted by Sole24Ore - 2023