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Weaving Change: The Rifò Lab journey to sustainability

In the heart of Prato's textile tradition, a company stands out for its avant-garde vision and commitment to sustainability in the fashion industry: Rifò Lab.

Through the words of its founder, Niccolò Cipriani, we will discover how Rifò Lab is building a more sustainable future for the fashion industry and how its story is intertwined with values shared by brands such as TBD Eyewear.

Hi Niccolò, can you tell our readers what inspired you to found Rifò Lab and how did you start this entrepreneurial project?

Rifò was born after my experience working in cooperation in Vietnam, where I noticed the problem of overproduction in the apparel industry. This awareness pushed me to return to Prato and revive the textile tradition of regenerating fibres to valorise waste and transform it into a new resource

What does 'Rifò Lab' mean and how is it reflected in your company's values? Is there a specific aspect of your personal experience or of Rifò Lab that you feel relates to our approach at TBD Eyewear?

Rifò, which means 'to remake' in Tuscan, for us represents the creation of a new garment, giving life to something new, reviving an ancient craft such as that of the ragman and producing locally. And, in my opinion, the link between the two brands consists in offering a concrete alternative to the current industry.

Niccolò-Cipriani-TBDEyewear-Jourmal
Niccolò Cipriani with our Donegal Bicolor


Where did the idea of creating sustainable textile products come from? Can you explain the production process in detail, especially the choice of regenerated materials such as denim and wool? What challenges have you faced working with materials from recycled sources?

The idea of using regenerated fibres came from the desire to make use of industry waste resulting from over-consumption and over-production. We prefer materials that our district is able to produce; old garments are selected for colour and quality, transformed first into fibre and then into yarn. The challenge is to make the best use of limited resources by making the most of recycled materials

How does Rifò Lab measure and reduce environmental impact? What initiatives or projects have you put in place to be more sustainable?

We monitor everything through a sustainability report. It is crucial for us to understand the impact of each product and how much resource saving it entails compared to virgin production. We focus on circularity, making our circular service more efficient and traceable, and we invest in social projects.

Rifòlab-Logo-journalRecycled Denim from Rifò Lab

 

The choice to collaborate with local zero-kilometre suppliers is a distinctive element of your production. How do you involve the community and how have you developed these partnerships?

Collaboration with the local community is fundamental for us. We work with artisans and SMEs, helping each other to grow. A tangible example is the project ‘Nei Nostri Panni', which involves migrants in our supply chain, setting up career opportunities in our area.

What has been the most significant challenge so far with Rifò Lab? Can you share a particularly rewarding moment or success story of your brand?

The biggest challenge has been to make people understand the value rather than the price. It is gratifying to see the reaction of our community when accused of high prices. Understanding how we apply our values to products is the most satisfying thing.

Donegal-bicolor-rifòlab-journal
Donegal Eco Bicolor | Bottle Green

 

What is your opinion on collaborations with other brands and how can they contribute to sustainability in fashion?

I don't see other brands as competitors, but as facilitators to build an ethical and fair market. 

Lastly, can you share with us your goals for the future? And, if you want, leave a message to those reading who are here in Milan: how would you invite them to the Rifò Lab pop-up store? Are there any initiatives or particular aspects that the audience can expect to see during the event?

For the next few years, we would like to expand to the American market and launch Rifòlution worldwide! For now, I invite everyone to visit our temporary pop-up in Milan, open until January 7th, where you can bring your old wool, cashmere or denim garments. In return, you will receive a discount code to use on our new collections, which will allow us to give new life to your garments.

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