Members of Los Angeles’ denim and apparel community recently celebrated an 80-year-old Italian textile mill and its new denim made from recycled materials.
The March 22 party was held at the Candiani Design Studio in downtown’s South Park neighborhood. Playing host was Alberto Candiani, a fourth-generation textile maker at his family’s Candiani mill in Milan. Candiani’s great grandfather founded the mill to make workwear fabric. His grandfather switched to denim in the 1960s. His father later expanded the mill’s offerings to include stretch denim.
“I ended up being the sustainable guy,” Candiani said. “It’s our duty to showcase new fabrics and innovation without wasting water.”
Candiani’s L.A. studio gives denim designers a place to test new finishing treatments on garments made from the Candiani denim. There are industrial washing machines and stations for workers to hand-finish jeans with whiskering and sanded seams. A Jeanologia laser-finishing machine is available to etch intricate patterns on fabric or recreate the look of traditional finishing techniques such as stonewashing or sandblasting without water or harmful materials sometimes used in such processes.
The party also served as the launch of Atelier & Repairs’ new collection featuring Candiani’s Re-Gen denim. The 100 percent recycled, selvage denim is made from a mix of recycled cotton and Refibra, a recycled Tencel fiber made by Austrian textile company Lenzing.
Atelier & Repairs owner Maurizio Donadi was a longtime denim industry executive who quit to launch a more-sustainable business. His Los Angeles–based denim label is a bespoke denim collection made from vintage jeans and fabric. Makers of sustainable apparel, like Donadi, often point to the piles of discarded clothing that end up in landfills.
“With Atelier & Repairs, we decided not to produce another denim product unless it was made with a fabric that would not impact the planet or threaten the human race,” Donadi said. “(Re-Gen) is 100 percent regenerated and it’s biodegradable. It could change the perception of consciously made.”