Here at Country Road, we’re quite proud of our new Feel Good Jean. Made with Refibra – an innovative, eco-friendly fibre that's made from a blend of recycled cotton scraps and wood sourced from sustainably managed forests – the fabric of the jean has been woven by a Spanish mill called Tejidos Royo who are heavily invested in sustainable practices. Here we go behind the scenes at the factory and chat to Jose Rafael who shares what it’s like to work at Royo.
What sustainable practices at Royo are you most passionate about?
“It is really difficult to summarise, there are so many to talk about. Whatever Royo does, sustainability is a must. It doesn´t matter if it is saving water, reducing chemicals or noise reduction, we are always approaching the best practice for the environment.”
“Sustainability is not only raw materials and machinery. A very important part is people. A computer without hands to write is a useless machine. A machine without the person pressing the bottom, is a machine that doesn't produce anything. We believe we have the best human team - good professionals, good people and very hard workers. That´s why in our sustainable plan, people are a key part of our goal.”
What do you like about working at Royo?
“It’s my home. I’ve been working here for the past 22 years and I still love coming to work. We are working at a company that never says no to technology and is customer oriented. It’s a company that doesn't need an introduction, is well known and recognized in the market. It’s a company were my team and I have freedom of movements, and where we work really hard for our customers.”
Why is sustainability important to you?
“It’s a way of life. I have two children, it really matters to me that I do what I can to leave a better world for them – it’s a moral obligation. I am a firm believer that the next generation will decide where to buy clothing depending on its traceability and on its foot print. I believe in karma, if we do good, good things will come in return.”
Can you tell us a little bit about Refibra?
“Refibra is a new generation fibre. It is a revolution. The basic concept is that cotton waste (from yarns, fabrics and garments) is recycled and dissolved, and then mixed with Tencel, a sustainable fibre that is generated from wood cellulose, to create a new fibre called Refibra. It is the fibre of the future.”
“I am sure it is the beginning of new ways of recycling wasted industrial and post-consumer fabrics and garments - Refibra is the gateway to alot of new recycling technologies. It’s quite a new technology and we really need the big companies to investigate and improve the quality and the availability.”
Why are innovations such as Refibra so important?
“Because it is the beginning of a new era! Until now, industries were able to re-use fabrics and garments in small ways, but never at the fibre stage. Today, the process is still a bit traditional and not as flexible. Now, with Refibra, we can take millions of kilos of waste and make a new fibre! With companies like Lenzing start dedicating money to this matter, we all benefit from it (Lenzing created the Refibra fibre). I have to give a big round of applause to them, they are creating a sustainable future.”
Where do you see the future of fabrications going?
“It depends what you are really asking, the future of garment making or the future of recycled fabric production. The future of the recycling industry is going to be amazing. Greener technologies will appear, and governments will be obligated to produce greener garments. All these new sustainable practices should be traceable, which in turn becomes a marketing tool. You can really demonstrate what you are saying.”