With a resume that includes more than a decade at Levi's, de Conti is a longtime figure in the denim world.
For Rudolf Group, sustainable innovation is centered on science. In early 2019, the textile chemistry group launched a subsidiary called Hub 1922 to invest in R&D that would simultaneously address environmental and aesthetic needs.
As head of Hub 1922, Alberto de Conti has helped launch new products ranging from a primer to prep fabric for more efficient laser finishing to a “denim Botox” that prevents jeans from bagging out.
During Covid-19, de Conti and his team introduced Washless Denim, which is treated to repel spills and odor causing bacteria to allow more time between laundering. Hub 1922 sees this as an overlooked way to reduce denim’s environmental impact since up to a quarter of the total water consumption tied to jeans happens in domestic washing, compared to just 1 percent in industrial finishing.
With a resume that includes more than a decade at Levi’s, de Conti is a longtime figure in the denim world. He is also helping shift the industry in an environmentally friendly direction through his work on the board of the Transformers Foundation.
What will the denim industry be like in the next 18 months?
Probably broken into two even more distinctive segments: denim in the value channel, which will be important to meet the needs of those millions of people worldwide who have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic, and denim with more design and quality embedded in it. The latter targeting those who have realized they don’t quite need 30 pairs of jeans in their closet.
What changes would you like to see in the denim industry as a result of Covid-19?
True trust and collaboration among players throughout the value chain and reasonable transparency that isn’t just tactical marketing.
How do you define sustainability in a post-pandemic world?
A sentiment that encompasses pure sustainability as a desire to preserve the present for future generations, and that embraces a more holistic notion of responsibility, including respect and loyalty towards individuals and partnerships.
Describe your dream jeans.
A conscious garment that remains true to its origins, that transforms itself becoming a unique item molded on the wearer’s body and that embeds utilitarian, discreet, useful and modern functionality.
What is your most worn pair of jeans, and why?
A 1947 Levi’s 501, 100 percent indigo dyed, rigorously unwashed. To me, it means history, memories, authenticity, uniqueness.
Name one word that best describes denim.