The first truly sustainable ski suit, featuring Italian style and design and a zero-kilometre supply chain, is finally here. Two companies from Bergamo (Italy) played the leading roles in the conception and realization of this highly innovative fashion-sport garment: RadiciGroup, a world leading producer of chemical intermediates, polyamide polymers, high-performance engineering polymers and advanced textile solutions, and DKB, a company specializing in technical sportswear with the same brand name.
The ski suit, consisting of jacket and trousers, is fashioned with a fabric made of Renycle, a RadiciGroup yarn obtained from mechanically recycled polyamide, which affords notable savings in energy and water consumption, as well as lower CO2 emissions.
In addition, the suit’s padding and numerous accessories, such as zippers, velcro, buttons and thread, are also made of polyamide. This achievement was made possible by the great teamwork of RadiciGroup and DKB on the research and development of chemically compatible materials that can be used in special applications requiring high technical performance.
The end result is an almost mono-material garment that significantly facilitates end-of-life recycling. It can be more easily converted into polymers for use in the manufacture of ski boot components and bindings, in addition to applications in the automotive and furnishing industries, or in any other sector requiring the characteristics of high performance polyamides.
The ski suit by RadiciGroup is thus an all-round application of ecodesign and circular economy principles to fashion and garment making, which justifies the claim “Sustainability worthy of our mountains” written in a logo patch on the inside of the jacket.
“I am particularly proud of this achievement, a synthesis of my passion and effort,” said Angelo Radici, president of RadiciGroup. “I’ve always loved mountaineering and skiing, and, together with my collaborators, I work hard at our company day in and day out to find innovative solutions that improve the sustainability of our industry. This ski suit is concrete proof of the fact that textiles and apparel can be made sustainable without compromising on comfort, design, looks or performance. I will never get tired of repeating that collaboration among the firms along the production chain is crucial to manufacturing goods with an ecodesign approach, considering their end-of-life recyclability and, thus, potentially giving them unlimited durability. Upstream producers, like us, gladly share our know-how in materials chemistry and experience in recycling with our downstream partners, so that, together, we can find sustainable and viable solutions in the various sectors where we operate.”
Thanks to the very nature of polyamide, the fabric made of Renycle makes the new ski suit significantly much lighter and extremely less bulky, compared to the conventional kind of suit. Moreover, the suit provides impact and wear resistance far superior to that of equivalent garments available today on the market.
In the design phase, special attention was given to style and design details, so as to combine comfort with competitive requirements, all the while keeping the main sustainability elements in mind, that is, mono-material composition and ease of recycling. Even though the yarn used was obtained from recycled scraps and rejects, the resulting fabric has a nice blue matte colour, a soft touch, and a very clean and elegant line. Other details worthy of note are the hexagonal inserts made of black polyamide fabric on both the jacket and trousers, specially designed to reinforce the external fabric layer and increase abrasion, tear and low temperature resistance.
“I had the privilege of trying on the ski suit,” concluded Angelo Radici, who has a background in competitive alpine skiing and is the winner of a world championship title in masters competitions. “As a snow lover, I can guarantee that the suit perfectly meets the requirements of comfort and performance needed by skiers on the slopes. With DKB, a company of excellence in the sportswear market, we carried out a continuous and synergistic collaboration, also facilitated by the proximity of our companies and the opportunity to have in-person meetings. I believe that valorizing local and traceable supply chains is an additional plus of the ski suit project.”
RadiciGroup Ski Club athletes and coaches will be the first to wear this ski uniform during the winter season 2021-2022, thereby becoming the ambassadors of the sustainability initiative. The RadiciGroup ski suit will be included in a new collection that DKB is offering to the best sports shops starting with the 2022 winter season.