In 2014, Orange Fiber S.R.L., was founded by two university students. In their home of Sicily, there is a very large production of citrus fruit and consequently a massive amount of waste material from the industry, which in 2018 made up 700 tons of waste. Their mission is to promote sustainable fashion and develop a way to reduce food waste as well as pollution.
The students pioneered a new process which transforms the normally discarded rinds and seeds of oranges into sustainable textiles.
The Italian innovators were the world’s first and to produce a patented material from citrus juice byproducts, repurposing them to create wearable material.
The fabrics are formed from a silk-like cellulose yarn that can blend with other materials. When used in its purest form, the resulting 100% citrus textile features a soft and silky feel, lightweight, and can be opaque or shiny according to production needs. The end result is a refined fabric that is ideally suited to luxury fashion brands.
This is. Simplified visual of the journey the the citrus residue embarks on to become a beautiful sustainable fabric.
Orange Fiber was able to make their new technology “go mainstream” through strategic partnerships with the Swedish fast fashion giant for a H&M Conscious capsule in 2019. In line with its commitment to a greener fashion industry H&M enlisted Orange Fiber to create a boho style top.
However, these two very different companies have been a pairing since 2015, that year the Orange Fiber won the Global Change Award, the annual award initiated by H&M Foundation. The €150,000 grant that came with the award enabled OF to move forward with their R&D, enabling them to improve production methods and consequently opening doors to new collaborations.
Salvatore Ferragamo was the first luxury fashion house to employ pre-book Orange Fiber fabrics. The collaboration was born of a shared passion for innovation, sustainability and the shared heritage of Italian excellence.
The renowned prints by the Italian designer Mario Trimarchi and the stylistic mark of the Salvatore Ferragamo Maison for an exclusive collection that Orange Fiber founders Adriana Santanocito and Enrica Arena described as “a hymn to Mediterranean creativity.”
After the launch, during the Green Carpet Fashion Awards Italia in 2017, the Florentine fashion house created an exclusive evening dress, a handbag model from the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo collection and a pair of “F” wedge sandals in Orange Fiber fabrics, worn by top model Karolina Kurkova.
And during the Global Change Award ceremony in 2018, the Taiwanese actress, model and sustainability influencer Chiling Lin wore a custom-made Orange Fiber gown by H&M.
The Ferragamo with Orange Fiber material were featured in an exhibit at London’s Victoria & Albert
Museum. A few months later, this creative innovation was recognized by the United Nations, as an enterprise that has “adapted to new realities to radically renew the supply chain”.
In July 2019 completed its equity crowdfunding campaign in Italy in order to collect €250.000 to increase production capacity and meet the ever growing demand of fashion brands. The campaign went into overfunding with more than €650.000 collected from 365 investors.
The latest news from the founders came in October 2020, with the announcement that the company completed the creation of a new plant in Sicily and produced the first ton of a new sustainable fibre contributing to craft the future of the Fashion Industry in a greener way.