Slowear, an Italian family-run apparel company with 70 years of history focused, has many sustainable targets in mind for its future. The first one is to become a B-Corp by 2023.
The company has transformed itself from a manufacturing company to a holding that offers various Made in Italy high-quality apparel brands, mostly aimed at men, as the group’s sales count on 90% of its sales from menswear apparel and accessories.
ts brand portfolio includes Incotex, specialized in top-quality men’s trousers, Montedoro focused on jackets, Zanone offering knitwear, The Glanshirt offering casual shirts and Officina Slowear, specialised in top quality leather goods.
Slower is strongly focused on offering apparel characterized by a DNA - as its name says - that encompasses on “slow” production, careful manufacturing culture and durability, as antithetic to the widespread model of fast seasonal consumption. Despite this, it is constantly engaged in updating its offer in terms of product, image, fit and material innovation.
Since 2021 Slowear has been speeding up achieving key targets in its journey toward a more responsible approach through certifications and recognisements as it has become a Benefit Company in spring 2022 and aims to become B Corp in 2023.
Slowear started measuring its sustainability baseline in 2021 through the tools of B Corp. Through an external entity, it has designed an evolution plan to support positioning, with the goal of emerging as a purpose-driven company that responds to social and environmental standards this certification requires.
In 2022, it has become a Benefit Company and as part of this overall process. From 2023, it aims to draw its first Sustainability and wants to further accelerate its process in becoming more traceable and transparent toward its value chain partners, the industry, the market and consumers.
Marco Bernardini, CEO, Slowear
“Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world. We aim to increase our commitment in terms of responsibility by reducing our environmental impact, focusing our attention on people who work for us, and operating within a value chain that shares our same values,” explained Marco Bernardini, CEO, Slowear. “Operating responsibly is not only related to selecting fabrics and raw materials that are recyclable or made of recycled materials, just to name some aspects, but it implies much more, especially for a complex company as ours,” he added.
“It’s a much wider approach we want to focus on. We have embraced this movement to increase our responsible path as B Corps are companies verified by B Lab to meet high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability at all levels - including our filials all over the world,” he said. “These standards demand continuous improvement to meet principles of inclusion, independence, and credibility without losing the certification. Very few companies in the fashion system are certified as B Corporation. Like, for instance, Save the Duck, Chloé and Patagonia, and we want to become one of these,” Bernardini explained.
Along within it, Slowear also uses a selection of certified, advanced materials For instance, in addition to organic cotton, for its knitwear, it uses Icecotton, a cotton that has crêpe and clean hand and keeps extremely fresh as made with triple-twisted yarns. It also uses Flexwool, a Merino wool yarn added with a small percentage of Lycra, that helps it to make it more comfortable, resistant to use and washes in its shape and hand also after various uses and low-temperature washing.
Slower is an omnichannel company that operates through wholesale, e-commerce and retail. In particular, it is selling through 35 mono brand stores spread in the main fashion capitals worldwide, including two most recent openings - one in New York and one in Milan’s Rinascente. In addition to the present doors (of whose 20 directly managed and 15 in franchising), it aims to open 20 more stores within the next five years stressing the importance of their aim to offer a very catered service to the consumer and a relaxing space where they make shopping and can feel at ease. “We like to offer a prosecco glass to our customers willing to take a short break,” explained Bernardini. “It is all part of our slow concept and providing our consumers a service, along with careful information on products and a ceremony-like style in selling and approaching them.”
Slowear stores offer a vast selection of own product categories. Along with it, they have started offering some brands from other companies, too. “As we offer a service through our stores, clients might also be looking for some specific products, and they could find them there, even if they are not part of our portfolio. Obviously, we have been doing this carefully by simply hosting those who are in line with our positioning and our message,” he added.
Among the brands they offer there have been capsules with Arcteryx and Nanamica, and they will soon launch a collaboration with Sebago including Docksides shoes for s/s 2023, whose soles will be made with 33% recycled materials.
“Sebago is a perfect example of how these collaborations can help us extending our offer, though we have also already launched Slowear Powered by Pangaia, offering sweatshirts and tracksuit, he explained underling that these items were made with 100% organic cotton powered by Pangaia Science and treated with a plant-based peppermint oil treatment with antibacterial properties, which preserves the freshness of the garments and effectively reduces the need of washes.
In June 2022 Slower has also launched the Wråd X Slowear, a mini capsule-collection offering 100 t-shirts and 20 sweatshirts in an exclusive limited edition collection made with GOTS-certified organic cotton yarn according to careful tailor-made expertise and botanical printing techniques.
The collaboration Wråd is part of a larger journey that goes far beyond the development of the capsule. In parallel, they also carried ahead a series of educational trainings on diversity and inclusion-taught by the Wråd team for all Slowear employees and managers, to be later also spread to students in Italy and around the world through free sustainability workshops starting from September 2022.