INTERVIEW WITH Angela Maria Marchetti
(Founder and Chairperson of the fashion firm ‘I Am Bambù’)
“PRODUCING TEXTILE ITEMS FROM BAMBOO…”
The textile industry (the fashion industry) is one of the most profitable and at the same time polluting industries of the Earth. Its annual turnover is 1,500 billion euros and it produces over one billion clothes per year. And the projections are clear…With a 63% increase in the textile production by 2030, it is obvious that this sector will have an ever-greater impact on the environment and on the Earth ecosystem. In this perspective, various initiatives are emerging: they conceive production and consumption processes in a rather different way. One of these is ‘I Am Bambù,’ an eco-friendly fashion brand that uses bamboo fibres to pack eco-friendly garments. How the idea of creating garments from bamboo fibres came out? Why bamboo and not other eco-sustainable crops? Is a particular know how needed? What is the Cycle Certification? Angela Maria Marchetti, founder of 'I AM BAMBÙ,' answered to these and other questions.
Angela Maria Marchetti was born in Rovereto (Italy). She is a writer and a teacher of English literature in a high school in Trento. In 2010 she founded I AM BAMBÙ, an important eco-sustainable fashion brand.
I AM BAMBÙ is an eco-friendly fashion brand founded by Angela Maria Marchetti in 2010. This brand uses bamboo fibres to produce eco-friendly clothes, clothes which are more breathable than silk, more thermoregulatory than wool and more absorbent than cotton but do not smell like synthetic fabrics.
This interview was made in August 2017 and published in January 2017 on www.lteconomy.org
Subject: eco-sustainable textile items
This interview was made by:
…I had already had experience in the fashion industry. My question was: ‘How exalt the properties of bamboo fabric?’ The answer came in a flash: by ‘direct contact with human skin.’ So I started my adventure…I started it with underwear daywear.
My biggest challenge? Confronting every day with a destructive trend of doing worse and worse for a bigger and bigger profit. Such a trend is the exact opposite of I AM BAMBÙ s’ mission. My mantra is ‘I may not be perfect but I'm doing my best.'
...My business is making my vision real: using a naturally eco-friendly product to develop social-friendly awareness.
As herbaceous, Bamboo has no need of any chemicals in its processing phase. This is the fundamental reason why I have chosen it. Add the fabric peculiarities, and the whole picture is made…more breathable than silk, more thermoregulatory than wool, more absorbent than cotton; it does not smell…and its softness is unbeatable.
Most of my customers live in the USA and in North Europe. But don’t forget Russians and Arabs who are attracted by the thermoregulatory qualities of my products. In recent years I have also noticed a greater demand from Italian customers.
I AM BAMBÙ is my life and my work. What about future plans… I hope to develop human resources with which I will share the embedded high potential of my company.
1. Dear Mrs. Angela Maria Marchetti, thank you for being with us. You are the founder of I AM BAMBÙ. What made you think of creating this original enterprise and what kind of clothing does it produce?
It is surprising how simple, natural events can change your life… I was trekking in Maui's bamboo forest in Hawaii; The sound originating from the wind and bamboo plants conquered (and inspired) me. I then discovered the ecological qualities of this plant; I discovered that it is suitable not only for producing garden furniture but also yarn. A light bulb lit up in my mind! Why don’t use it in fashion? Back in Italy I was determined on realizing my vision. I had already had experience in the fashion industry. My question was: ‘How can the properties of bamboo fabric be exalted?’ The answer came in a flash: by ‘direct contact with human skin.’ So I started my adventure…I started it with underwear daywear. By now, bamboo has completely replaced cotton, wool and synthetic items in my wardrobe. I have also experimented bamboo’s features (of breathability, thermoregulation, odorless) with sporting activities and I have found it perfect for sport. A sport line has come out…
The fabric is so soft… I now produce 5 different fabric types which answer to the different needs of my collections.
2. Does your company use bamboo’s fabrics from plants cultivated abroad, but your ‘handcraft’ production take place in Italy? What are the reasons behind this process of production?
My choice has been driven by one principle: choosing the best in the whole supply chain. The bamboo’s raw material for my production comes from South-East Asia, a region with historical tradition and high know-how in processing bamboo. There are serious companies providing certified products without any social exploitation.
Why a made in Italy fabric? Higher quality and easier control.
I AM BAMBÙ Daily wear
Source: I AM BAMBÙ
3. Does bamboo require a particular know how? What kind of difficulties have you encountered in your adventure?
My biggest challenge? Confronting every day with a destructive trend of doing worse and worse for a bigger and bigger profit. Such a trend is the exact opposite of I AM BAMBÙ’s mission. My mantra is ‘I may not be perfect but I'm doing my best.’ It’s true, I’m not following the mainstream…But it is mine modus operandi, the quality of my items makes me different, attracts (and is appreciated by) my customers. My business is making my vision real: using a naturally eco-friendly product to develop social-friendly awareness.
I AM BAMBÙ Sport wear
Source: I AM BAMBÙ
4. Bamboo is not the only eco-sustainable fabric. There are other eco-sustainable raw materials (e.g., Cotton, hemp, etc...). Why bamboo? What are its advantages and disadvantages?
Bamboo as a plant (actually it is herbaceous) has no need of any chemicals in its processing phase. This is the fundamental reason why I have chosen it. Add the fabric peculiarities, and the whole picture is made. Bamboo as a fabric is more breathable than silk, more thermoregulatory than wool, more absorbent than cotton; it does not smell like synthetic and its softness is unbeatable. The biggest disadvantage is that the work process is challenging, handcrafted and takes time. Just to make an example, before cutting the fabric, you have to rest it horizontally for at least a night. For this reason, most manufacturers use only a small percentage of bamboo in their production. That's why I consider I AM BAMBÙ my ‘passionate madness.’
5. I AM BAMBÙ uses ‘Closed-loop’ Certified processing. Would you explain to us what it is and why every business should get this certification?
Two words come to my mind: efficiency (for the company) and environmental sustainability: Closed-loop processing ensures efficient use of available resources, as well as the re-use of its processing waste, a process that is environmentally friendly. And that seems to me a good reason…
I AM BAMBÙ Daily underwear
Source: I AM BAMBÙ
6. You started production of clothes in 2010. Have you witnessed an increase in the demand of innovative eco-friendly items? In which country there is a bigger demand for this kind of clothes?
Well, let’s start with my first order…It came from a yoga center in Maui! What did that mean? Simply…That meant that I was on the right way: internationalization…In fact, most of my customers (where this kind of market is more developed) live in the USA and in North Europe. But don’t forget Russians and Arabs who are attracted by the thermoregulatory qualities of my products. In recent years, I have also noticed a greater demand from Italian customers: they are becoming more and more interested in eco-products.
7. According to various research, textile industry is among the most polluting ones. How could the sustainability of the entire sector be improved?
More information and less generalization. More control but also confidence and ability to distinguish appearance from the essence.
8. What are your plans for the future? What advice do you feel to give to young who want to start an eco-sustainable textile company?
I AM BAMBÙ is my life and my work. What about future plans… I hope to develop human resources with which I will share the embedded high potential of my company. To the young: work with passion, conscience and tenacity! The results will come soon or later.
I AM BAMBÙ Trento showroom
Source: I AM BAMBÙ
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