Denim is an artistic canvas for PG Denim founder Paolo Gnutti.
A lifetime in R&D may leave the creative well dry for some, but not for Paolo Gnutti. After serving more than 30 years as the R&D head for the now defunct ITV Denim, Gnutti formed PG Denim in 2018, a new “Made in Italy” enterprise focused on garments for mid- to high-end productions. PG Denim conceptualizes the fabrics, which are then developed by fellow Italian mills, Berto and Eurotessile.
Gnutti’s creative concepts are varied, spanning laminated effects and flocked fabrics, to indigo and black denim fabric with wefts made of real silver thread. And they are responsible, with PG Denim making considerable investments to reduce water, chemicals, energy and greenhouse gas emissions.
“I believe that the supply chain can support brands with production and technical innovations,” Gnutti said.
Why are you drawn to denim?
Denim, for me, is like a first love. You never forget it. I was born into a family that has always worked in the denim world, and since I was a child I was fortunate enough to get my hands dirty by playing with this unique fabric. Over time, this initial approach has become an authentic passion, and subsequently my job, which, I still love very much.
How can the supply chain improve the way it communicates sustainable technology to brands?
This is a crucial issue for the whole sector and it must become circular, starting from the production chain, to brands in the retail system in order to educate the final consumer. The supply chain that develops sustainable technologies must collaborate with brands in a closer and more constructive way.
That’s why PG Denim is working on a new line that starts with upcycling used garments collected by retailers. The garments are re-inserted into the production process, creating a new fabric that is made with a 70 percent recycled warp and 100 percent recycled weft.
We think that involving the final customers is a key part of this circular production model. This will help shape the change toward a more ethical and sustainable production model, while establishing a stronger connection with them.
How do you think the denim supply chain will change in the next 10 years?
In my opinion, we will definitely see the gap between fast fashion and premium products increase. And on the other side, mid-range and premium brands will feel pressure to establish new links and collaborations with suppliers in order innovate. Suppliers will therefore have to develop a visionary mind and the ability to always think out of the box.
What makes the denim supply chain different from other apparel sectors?
The denim supply chain is not a standard supply chain only focused on business. It is also a lifestyle, a community and a sense of belonging. It is a world made of continuous vision and collaboration, always leading to the development of new projects. I believe this is related to the fact that denim as a product is “alive.” It’s a material that continuously transforms itself each season through new developments and interpretations, though new techniques and processing methods. I don’t think there is another product that changes its appearance like denim, both in the production phase and in its natural lifecycle.
What’s exciting you about denim in 2019?
Waking up every day having a chance to create products that allow stylists and designers to be stimulated in their work.