INTERVIEW: C.L.A.S.S. Eco-Textile Library CEO Giusy Bettoni on High-Tech Fabrics

We caught up with C.L.A.S.S. Eco-Textile Library CEO Giusy Bettoni who gave us some insight as to how fabrics are evolving technologically as well as what’s hot and new in the world of textiles.

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Sustainable textiles have come a long way since their humble beginnings of hemp and bamboo. Giusy Bettoni, the co-founder and CEO of the C.L.A.S.S. Eco-Textile Library based in Milan says her library, which includes organic and natural, repurposed, and renewable textiles with low-impact dyes and processing, continues to grow seasonally thanks to advancements in technology.

Bettoni, who is also the director of the Green Carpet Challenge Fabric Library, recently just increased her New York City presence through a collaboration with stylist and showroom owner Jill Heller, founder of PureThread.

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You were recently at Premiere Vision in Paris with C.L.A.S.S. What were buyers really gravitating towards?

GB: The buyers were really gravitating towards fabrics that are innovative and have an interesting back story. Lots of people were still interested in tried and true organic cotton but infused with botanical dyes from Japan. Newlife was another big hit. It’s a really unique certified yarn which is the first of its kind, sourced from 100% post consumer plastic bottles sourced, processed and spun into yarns. The manufacturing process is highly innovative, fully traceable, entirely mechanical (versus chemical) and 100% made in Italy where the plastic bottles are also from, helping to create an even smaller and more manageable carbon footprint.
We also have a carded regenerated wool which involves combining virgin wool fibers with fibers obtained from recycling old clothing or knits that buyers loved.

Newlife yarns
Newlife yarns

What do you think is the most interesting fabric on the C.L.A.S.S. roster?

GB: The entire library is interesting! Each fabric inside the CLASS library has a particular story, an innovative technology and a purpose, which is the real objective behind all of our materials. CLASS is here to enable designers and brands to make good choices and have the designing process as well as be as seamless as possible.

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How far have we come from the days of hemp and bamboo being the biggest “wow” fabrics?

GB: We have come very far from the days of hemp and bamboo. The evidence of this is visible just in the growth of the choices of materials within the CLASS library over the past 5 years. From organic cotton and Tencel with botanical dyes, to regenerated wool and more- the possibilities are endless
with more to come in the future.

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GB: Recycling initiatives have also grown in the area of pre-consumer wool to recycled polyester. We are also seeing a demand for more sustainable fabrics in the luxury market and in the smaller upscale contemporary fashion design houses. I think that the biggest change over the last 5 years in textiles is that “sustainable materials” are no longer represented only by “classic natural perceived materials.” These are great, but are not ideal for every style, application or performance.

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Repurposed and recycled content fabric

GB: Technology has also helped a lot in terms of biopolymers, recycling technologies and more. There is also a completely different “human creativity approach” to materials. The world of fabric also shows such a different mix of materials, and there is also a new way to use color and to finish the fabrics. There are THOUSANDS of variables that we are now able to offer to the world of sustainable textiles and the brands that are increasingly supporting it.

Differentiation is still a key value and textiles, as well as the messaging behind them, are really becoming part of this story.

Images: C.L.A.S.S.