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Ralph Lauren’s Cradle to Cradle Certified Sweater Is Here

Ralph Lauren’s long-awaited circular sweater has arrived.  

The apparel brand has introduced the Cradle to Cradle (C2C) certified gold cashmere sweater. Available in men’s Purple label and women’s Collection brands, the first-of-its-kind luxury sweater is the first of five Ralph Lauren products—what the company calls “icons”—that will be C2C certified by 2025.

The first Cradle to Cradle certified product was announced at the Global Fashion Summit in Copenhagen last summer.

“The kind of luxury we stand for at Ralph Lauren has always been about timelessness, authenticity and a life well-lived,” Katie Ioanilli, chief global impact and communications officer, said. “Today more than ever, we believe true luxury encompasses not only a product’s beauty and quality, but how it was made and how it will endure. That’s why we’ve created the industry’s first-ever Cradle to Cradle Certified luxury cashmere product, will plans to deliver for more verified icons by 2025.”

Woven from fine cashmere fibers from international luxury company Botto Giuseppe, dyed in rich hues and featuring a transformed signature label cut from organic cotton, the C2C certified gold cashmere sweater was analyzed through a multi-step certification process with the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, a nonprofit that offers a global standard for products that are safe, circular and made responsibly. The C2C-certified gold crewneck sweater is set to replace the original version, and the certification will be expanded to include additional cashmere styles, which will be announced in the coming months.

The Cradle to Cradle Certified Products Innovation Institute is dedicated to powering innovation for the circular economy through products that positively impact people and the planet. Cradle to Cradle Certified is used by designers, brands, retailers, and manufacturers across the value chain to innovate and optimize materials and products according to science-based measures for material health, product circularity, renewable energy and climate, water and soil stewardship as well as social fairness.

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Ralph Lauren’s review process looked at five focus categories, scoring gold on material re-utilization, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship and social fairness, and platinum on material health. The process presented complex obstacles for the brand, requiring it to find solutions and make sacrifices, such as changing the signature color of its purple product label, which will now be white.

“We congratulate Ralph Lauren on the significant achievement of launching the first Cradle to Cradle Certified Gold cashmere garment for the consumer market,” Nienke Steen, global lead apparel textile and footwear at the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, said. “Their team has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to addressing the company’s sustainability and circularity impact and we are pleased that they will expand this program to offer more optimized and certified products in the near future. Ralph Lauren has demonstrated that a leading luxury fashion company can reimagine an iconic product for the circular economy. They have set a new standard for the industry.”

Developed as part of the Cradle to Cradle certification process, Ralph Lauren also launched its Cashmere Recycling Program for 100 percent cashmere in partnership with Re-Verso, a textile production company that bridges science and technology to create a circular economy manufacturing system for high-quality wool and cashmere. Initially available in North America and Europe, the program allows consumers to ship their 100 percent cashmere items—from any brand—to Re-Verso in Prato, Italy, to be recycled. Consumers can go online and download a printable label to ship their items themselves to Prato.

Re-Verso recovers, selects and processes post-consumer wool and cashmere articles left by customers in its brand partners’ stores worldwide. The result is regenerated 100 percent wool and 100 percent cashmere yarns, fabrics or accessories, ready to be used for the next fashion collections of its partner customers.

The C2C-certified gold cashmere sweater will be highlighted in a multi-media consumer marketing campaign featuring models Andreea Diaconu and Simon Nessman, a real-life couple who have a personal commitment to preserving and protecting the environment. The campaign will be shared across Ralph Lauren’s social channels and, where consumers will find more information about the sweater, the recycling program and the company’s efforts to support a circular economy.

Ralph Lauren has introduced the Cradle to Cradle certified gold cashmere sweater.
Simon Nessman and Andreea Diaconu star in the new campaign. Courtesy

Ralph Lauren has set a goal to implement circular principles into its design and development process by 2025. The Ralph Lauren Live On promise further builds on these commitments and the company’s existing circular strategy by enabling its past and future products to live on responsibly by 2030.

Ralph Lauren announced its comprehensive circular strategy in March 2021, oriented around three pillars: design for circularity, establish circular experiences for consumers and advance a circular product economy. As part of the strategy, the company announced its partnership with McDonough Innovations to achieve Cradle to Cradle certification.

“For decades, Ralph Lauren has set standards for innovation and been a visionary in American fashion,” William McDonough, chief executive of McDonough Innovation and co-author of “Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things,” said at the time. “Through this new strategy, Ralph Lauren is setting another benchmark as they embrace their authentic ethos of timelessness and create products designed to be reimagined in perpetuity.”