Produce less but better. For the world of fashion, it’s a revolution of the era: “First, don’t pollute”

Fashion apparel textile, for TAM’s convenience, is not just a group of interconnected manufacturing industries. also an extraordinary mediator of our relationship to the world, of our outlook on ourselves and on others. formidable generator of social symbols. Clothes are inevitable. They are nothing but the structure of the mind made visible : Fabiana Giacomotti takes up this adage from James Laver, who managed the fashion collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Nothing like fashion indicates that we are living in a change of era. The stylists, with the most visionary of all, Alessandro Michele of Gucci, are the philosophers of this radical change. A crucial element of this change of era is the consumer, the customer who makes the product from his inner story. a clear awareness that the product counts for less than a third in the purchasing decision, which is an inlay in which converge the brand’s story, its positioning and above all the need to belong to an identity and to communicate it.

First: do not pollute

What identity belonging prevails, today, over the intertwined multiplicity of tribal codes that differentiate the ways of dressing, what is the signal that seems to cross them all in a kind of universal communion? Sustainability. a criterion of choice on which Millennials in particular are extremely sensitive and demanding. From upstream to downstream, from design to production, from distribution to consumption, environmental sustainability appears in all its circularity., in an industrial sector that is the second most polluting in the world. The TAM in Veneto, son of a founding story Schio, Valdagno then Follina, shows all the generativity of the original furrow by making innovation in this area as well. During the pandemic, in a very short time, Marzotto developed protective devices with antibacterial yarns from the Swedish patent Polygene. The groupsi Calzedonia, Diesel and Bottega Veneta had already joined, in 2019, the Fashion Pact, an international protocol aimed at reducing water and energy consumption, and at reusing off-cuts and waste for biodegradable products. Benetton, after the change in direction of the relaunch, has adopted some very innovative choices on this front. With the pandemic, the number of TAM companies that have adopted environmental certification systems and signed protocols for the reduction of toxic chemicals and the abandonment of fluorinated compounds for fabric waterproofing has increased further.

battle to win

an ongoing revolution. But far from already won. A well-known recognition of fashion company which signals the informative opacity of major brands on compliance with environmental rules throughout the supply chain. This is a critical point. The sustainable choices at the top constituted by the big global brands are not redistributed in a balanced way throughout the supply chain, on the contrary, the turnover and the margins of the first can intervene with gray work areas, polluting methods and losses of the second, especially when it comes to subcontractors of official suppliers. To redistribute the pyramid of wealth in a more equitable way, the valuation of work is central, the recomposition of economic efficiency with greater social equity, the fruit of the recognition of the value of cooperation and the root of quality craftsmanship. . Economic models adopt choices that go precisely in this direction. Also in Veneto, brands have invested in small craft businesses, sometimes integrating them, others keeping them formally with an autonomous partner profile. The social and labor context in which the hyper-industrial logic operates in companies and, beyond their walls, in the territories of social reproduction and daily life, which is no longer what it once was , in the Venetian cradle of the TAM.

The demographic divide

In addition to the tense transitions at all levels – sustainability and digital – there is perhaps a more important one, demographics. A statistical exercise can give the idea. In 2009 in Veneto for every 100 workers under 25, there were – according to INPS data – 104 over 55. A still enviable situation, if we consider that in Piedmont this ratio was 100 and 306 at the time. But if we check the situation ten years later, in 2019, the rate of aging in Veneto has quadrupled: for 100 workers under 25, we have 438 out of fifty-five! So we have an extraordinary lack of investments and turnover, which, due to technological innovations that have occurred in the meantime, will no longer have the quantitative needs of the past, but in any case, no matter how smart, machines still work with people. The diffusion of increasingly intelligent machines makes technical training less and less distinctive, the competitive distinction of creative training prevails. The professional profiles sought by companies are changing at the speed of light: technicians in marketing, organization and management of production cycles, analysts and software designers, fashion designers, fiber preparers and chemical analysts are required; fewer and fewer workers are needed for mechanical machines and looms, sculptors and standardizable manual functions. In a region like Veneto, with its formidable TAM industrial and artisanal apparatus, this lack of new profiles challenges the entire training chain, from vocational training to technical fashion institutes, from ITS with the Cosmo Foundation to the University. In this context too, Veneto presents a quality repertoire, which has recently been enriched with ITS for mesh in Conegliano and that for sustainability in Valdagno. Faced with such a radical jump in time, a shared effort of equal intensity will be required, if we think, for example, of the training of technical teachers who will have to replace those who will reach retirement age.

The uncertainties

The vertical reorganization of the leading groups of the TAM is taking place in an absolutely uncertain context, mainly due to health and geopolitical events. Never as at that time, in fact, has the philosophy of fashion as a great metaphor for social communication faced very concrete problems to be solved: flow bottlenecks, the crisis in the supply systems for raw materials and semi-finished products, prohibitive transport costs (6/700% of the increased cost of a container from Asia). Globalization has led to large investments in long supply chains, which have slower payback times. Their interruption is not replaced overnight. The war in Ukraine and the new containment in China have aggravated the supply problem, with two effects to be studied in depth. On the one hand, transport costs comparatively challenge the cost of domestic labour, boosting the competitiveness of local production. On the other hand yesI demystified the superfluous tab of industrial policiesalso at regional level, referring to the urgency, precisely in Veneto, of a collective infrastructure for research, innovation and business services precisely on sustainability issues, with the contribution of research centers and universities.

The news

The impressive repertoire of innovations both for the vertical lines, internal to the big brands, and for the horizontal lines, with the territorial sectors of the small companies, takes place thanks to the opportunities of choice made available by digital technologies. Which are not just technologies, because they increasingly hybridize with material experiences and with the neuropsychological dynamics of relationships between people. Digital is not just a technology but, as has been repeatedly said, a new paradigm. To limit ourselves to the most recent repertoire, we note the flexibility and variety of interactions between needs, markets, productions and communication: from the exponential growth of e-commerce and visual experiences of online exposure, the success of multi-brand platforms now seems to be in retreat as brands operate with their proprietary platforms; Investment funds, on the other hand, create platforms of highly specialized subcontractors capable of dialoguing as equals with the major brands.. In short, a complex universe that is organized in different directions, adapts to produce less but better.

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May 24, 2022 (change May 24, 2022 | 4:32 p.m.)


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