Cashmere Flakes recruits 5 young designers in Paris, Milan and Tokyo
The upcoming fashion weeks will witness a project that combines both creativity and eco-responsibility. FashionNetwork.com got a preview of the collection, signed by five young international talents for the Italian label Cashmere Flakes. The work of Dawei, Victoria/Tomas, Savoar Fer, Marco Rambaldi and Cinoh will be unveiled in a few days on the Milan, Paris and Tokyo runways. The result is an ethical collection, punctuated by easy yet high-end products.
The collection will consist of five capsules, with five to fifteen pieces each, expressing the creative spirits of these five international creators. It features everything from contemporary fun-shaped nylon down jackets to extraordinary cashmere coats, knit pieces, an unusual après-ski jumpsuit along with fashionable padded nylon or cashmere skirts and jackets.
The project will be presented as part of the Impact section at the Première Classe show in Paris, taking place between February 28 and March 2. The label’s showroom, located at 9 Place des Vosges in Paris' 4th arrondissement, will also show the collection until March 6. It combines all the elements for a great story: a historic house, a couple of committed entrepreneurs, a positive impact on the planet, and especially the nomadic Mongolian shepherds and the luxurious and innovative product that results.
Everything began a few years ago when Francesco Saldarini, the head of the family-run business -- founded in Como in 1882 with his wife Laurence Vanderhaegen -- decided to find an alternative to goose and synthetic feather jackets.
Initially a silk thread and fabric producer, Saldarini transitioned into an accessories brand over the last couple of decades, with scarves and eventually clothing. In the last four years, the company has been committed to a sustainable approach, with the launch of Cashmere Flakes. The new clothing brand was named after its manufacturing process, using “flakes” of cashmere from Mongolia to create its apparel.
In 2016, Cashmere Flakes filed a patent for the stuffing process of their down jackets, made from the certified cashmere “flakes” from hircus goats in Mongolia. Trimming the goats with a comb, the hair is collected by hand. In other words, the lost hairs still hanging on their coats after the spring shedding are recovered. This is done by some 83,000 nomadic families, united under the Mongolian shepherds’ cooperative national union.
The harvest is then sent to Italy, where it is treated and worked on according to a process perfected by Saldarini, resulting in the cashmere flakes that are used to stuff the jackets. The fiber is also used to create luxurious knitwear and the fabric for jackets, pants, dressed and notably coats.
“It’s a sustainable approach since cashmere is natural and we avoid overproduction by following the animal’s natural rhythm of life. The process protects the goats while simultaneously supporting the local socio-economic fabric of the nomads. We have reached an agreement with the government and the shepherds’ union, guaranteeing them a reasonable purchase price, without passing through Chinese intermediaries,” Saldarini explained.
“The consortium was in fact developed through a Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation project, which set a code of conduct for sustainable livestock farming that sources from Mongolian pastures in a balanced and respectful way, allowing the environment to renew itself. As a result, a virtuous circle was created,” he continued.
After the launch of Cashmere Flakes in 2017, the entrepreneur was immediately contacted by other major players in the luxury industry, resulting in a partnership with Giorgio Armani for its production of stuffed jackets. The brand has simultaneously developed its own collection, calling on several young designers.
In February 2019, the first two capsules by the Japanese brand Ujoh from Mitsuru Nishizaki and the young designer Marco Rambaldi were presented. Next winter, the collection will expand thanks to the expertise of PLC Consulting’s Patricia Lerat, the talented luxury and footwear consultant.
Dawei, Victoria/Tomas and Savoar Fer, the three designers alongside the Italian entrepreneur, will be accompanied by Cinoh, the Japanese label succeeding Ujoh. The label’s designer Takayuki Chino won the Tokyo Fashion Award in 2019.
“We will be launching Cashmere Flakes’s e-commerce in June. For the moment, the line is only sold through a very limited selection of top-notch multi-brands. We hope to only have one partner in each big city,” explained Saldarini, whose clients include 10 Corso Como in Milan and the online site LuisaViaRoma, via LVR Sustainable.
As of now, the company only has two single-brand stores – in Cortina and Serravalle – and is focusing on a new project. In 2019, it made 4.8 million euros.
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