Plastic might not be abandoned (Series 1 / 3)

“La Canapa” main Opera Campi, in the middle of its own field

How we will innovate the idea behind a garment.

This post is part of a series:

Opera Campi had the original mission to preserve the forgotten fabrics and traditions, by recovering them and making something innovative in the fashion market. Now things are changing.

We materialised our mission by spinning a new wool, the Lana Cornigliese, a rough autochthonous wool from an endangered italian specie.

Then we made something really excellent, by creating “La Canapa”, the most premium and softest hemp ever.

In 2018 we faced enormous obstacles on our road, our costs are high since the quality and originality of what we deliver is very unusual, for these and other reasons we lost part of the team in 2018.

Perseverance drove us to a successful Kickstater campaign that was enough good to let us invest and continue our difficult mission. Kickstarter backers were so satisfied, here are some of their feedbacks (mixed italian and english):

Now, in 2019, Opera Campi is more concentrated on a reinvigorated mission that is going into a further step:

We want to boost the sustainable tradition and turn it into something very differentiating and modern.

Problems, problems, problems.

We don’t want to seem just a traditional brand with new ideas. We want to solve problems and to make something extremely appealing, even to those who are still used to buy things from Hypebeast, for example.

Sustainability is a theme. Today we have thousands of sustainable and ethic brands and that is a relief. But it’s not enough. Fashion is a powerful tool to express an idea and to contrast a problem we are starting to feel very intensively even in Italy: global warming.

Global warming is the cause of many problems but, above all, we are actually burning in Europe. Few days ago there were 10° C on the highest shelter in European mountains.

Fashion is actually in a state where plastic is still dominating the innovation. All innovations are coming mainly through plastic, sometimes combined with a few percentage of natural fibers. Even the most successful fashion Kickstarter campaigns ended in proposing mostly plastic fabrics:

Kickstarter is the first website where to find good innovations, and are we sure that more than 50% plastic is the future here?

There are some rare exceptions like Patagonia who is trying to use recycled plastic, or Spiber Inc. who is proposing new fabrics made of silk from spiders.

Plastic has another problem: it’s not durable as you think. Also, it looses micro-particles like any other fabric, and this is the result:


Opera Campi is already 100% sustainable, but the approach is getting more intense and we are going to present a new solution before the end of the year.

Opera Campi approach is now going on more directions:

  • ⏱ Durability: we want to make something durable, not just sustainable, we think consumerism is a hidden cause of global warming;
  • Appealing: making something looking in-between natural and synthetic, but still natural! Natural must be cool and “neat”, even a bit “futuristic”.
  • More than 80% natural an sustainable: future might include plastic for several reasons, but in a way less predominant. Plastic should only be used to increase durability and quality of the products;
  • Traditional/Innovative: we have evidence there are some quality issues on modern products, caused by mass production which is not able to control the issues. We make artisans useful again, we give them work, but instead of a tailor made cotton suit, they make us a futuristic garment made of revolutionary fabrics….. *****

After seeing the Patagonia and other examples, we have reached a conclusion:

Eliminating plastics at all is a mistake.

Plastic is becoming more and more recyclable, Adidas is going to use 100% recycled ocean plastic by 2022. So using plastic, recycled one, can help in someway to reduce new plastic production since avoiding plastic at all would probably cause too much trash.

We see plastic as enemy, but actually as a “friend” who can help us to defeat the enemy. How, and why? Opera Campi is working on a concrete solution we will discover in the next posts of the series.

Plastic might not be abandoned (Series 1 / 3) was originally published in OPERA CAMPI on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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