MAGAZINE September 27th, 2022

WSM INTERVIEWS - H.O.P.E.

H.O.P.E. as a message of optimism but also as an acronym for--How to Optimize People and Environment. 

It all stems from Lanificio Vitale Barberis Canonico's most responsible fabrics, which are precisely named H.O.P.E: Moretta wool, for example-which is distinguished by the natural dark nuances of the fleece. Or Red Eri silk, in which the harvest of the fiber occurs only when the butterfly leaves the chrysalis to go to feed on the nectar of flowers and reproduce. Thanks to the historic woolen mill's collaboration with friends Cappellificio Biellese 1935 and Mirantico backpacks, these unique fabrics born in the heart of Piedmont are transformed into handcrafted headwear and backpacks-sustainable at all stages of their production, from raw material to packaging. Please note: To avoid fabric waste and unsold stock, production is designed to be "on demand," so only as much as customers request will be produced.

We asked Luca Murta, managing director of Cappellificio Biellese 1935, a few questions and find out more about H.O.P.E. capsule collection.

Where did the H.O.P.E. project come from?

"Honestly, the H.O.P.E. collaboration stems from the personal friendship between our three companies, and particularly the friendship between the people involved. On the other hand, a capsule collection that has the acronym How to Optimise People and Environment as its name could only arise from healthy and genuine human relationships!"

What does it take for companies today to truly and not just seemingly embrace sustainability? 

"Companies in the supply chain today need to speak the same language, be transparent and promote traceability. It takes sensitivity and awareness. Sensitivity in being able to understand even issues that may not directly affect us closely, and awareness in the choices you make every day. Unfortunately, one cannot be 100 percent sustainable in every aspect of one's life, but we have to be aware that every action we take has a greater or lesser impact, on the environment and on people." 

In what ways are you trying as companies to be more sustainable?

"If from a manufacturing point of view, Vitale Barberis Canonico is an absolute excellence in terms of minimizing environmental impact and traceability of the entire supply chain, we believe that even smaller companies such as Cappellificio Biellese and Mirantico can have a big positive impact by valuing the training of each employee, creating strong human relationships with suppliers and customers, giving space to young people in the decision-making chain, and providing fair compensation to all those who work directly and indirectly for them."

If you had to choose three words to describe your three-way project, which ones would you use?

"People, environment and, definitely, optimism.

Collaboration is precisely the key to building a more sustainable future, what do you think?

"We believe that these marketing initiatives have an indirect benefit. They serve to get more and more brands and people talking about responsibility. Sustainability needs to become a factor 'taken for granted' by the consumer, not a particular feature of a product. We need to get to the point where every product on supermarket shelves will be sustainable, both toward the environment and people. It sounds impossible perhaps, but we would like to remember how four years ago Greta Thunberg was an unknown kid. Today there isn't a big brand that hasn't talked about the importance of sustainability-that's why we are optimistic."

A good goal for the season ahead.

"To try to be part of this process where sustainability becomes a basic factor in our lives and not just a sporadic initiative."

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