Sustainability feels like part of Annabelle Hutter’s birthright. Serving as creative director at Säntis Textiles—the Singapore-based textile company founded by her father, Stefan Hutter—Annabelle feels it’s her responsibility to carry on the tradition of sustainability and circularity begun by her father.
In 2016, Stefan developed the company’s RCO100 technology, designed to recycle pre-and post-consumer cotton waste into 100 percent recycled cotton fabrics. The invention has now been commercialized and on the global market since 2019, broadening Santis’ reach from its roots specializing in material, fiber, yarns and fabric development and sourcing for the global market in garment, home and technical textiles.
“When I joined the company, the first thing I did was to give emphasis to our sustainable practices throughout the full supply chain,” she said. “It is important for me to see that our business is reducing our environmental and ethical footprint from the minute we source the raw materials all the way through to the fabric we produce.”
The creative director saw an opportunity to tell the story of not only her family’s company, but also what drives them to tailor their business practices to make a more positive impact on the world. She took the challenge of expanding marketing from word-of-mouth to an approach that puts the company’s values front and center.
“I have adopted a holistic marketing approach which is focused first and foremost on our sustainable practices and also highlights our Swiss family identity, as well as the role of strong women in the textile industry,” she said. “My approach to marketing is very much inspired by my family values, my passion for sustainability and circularity and my position as a half Swiss, half Thai, 25-year-old female in textile manufacturing. I stay away from the conventional corporate narrative and prefer a fresh approach coming from my heart to encourage change and engage with others in the industry.”
Telling that story feels very natural for the millennial creative, as Säntis Textiles’ history coincides with her family legacy.
“It’s not an initiative or marketing term that we use, it’s simply a lifestyle for us that we grew up with—it’s embedded in our Swiss DNA to be in harmony with nature,” she said. “My grandfather was a machine engineer in textiles and he developed solutions to reduce energy consumption, and now my father and I are following in his footsteps.”
Last month, Annabelle was honored by the Textile Exchange Sustainability Conference with its Rising Star Award, which is presented to individuals that have shown initiative, excellent leadership skills, and ongoing action toward sustainable practices in the textile industry. She sees the recognition as an opportunity to do more to not only promote sustainable practices, but also raise the profile of women in the industry.
“It means a lot to me as a young female leader to be given this platform to encourage positive and meaningful change within the textile industry,” she said. “With this recognition I am excited to address the challenges that we are facing in the textile supply chain from start to finish. I hope to influence a new outlook in the industry, shine a light on women in textiles, inspire designers to adopt circular approaches and in the end, encourage society at large to live life more circularly and consciously.”