Name: Alberto Candiani
Instagram ID: @candianidenim
Who are you and what are you doing within the (denim) industry?
My name is Alberto Candiani, and I am the owner and president of Candiani, a denim mill roughly 40km outside of Milan that was founded in 1938.
The Canidiani mill is located in a small town, Robechetto con Induno -Italy, in the heart of a nature reserve, Parco del Ticino.
Candiani Mill (top row; dyeing, middle row; spinning, bottom row; weaving)
What are you currently working on?
Where to begin...there are a lot of things in the works. We are always working on making our fabrics more sustainable, but now the focus is really on making them circular as well. We are starting to consider the full lifecycle of our fabrics and putting the structures in place to not only recover them, but also for them to have a positive impact once they’ve reached the end of their useful life.
What is the biggest achievement so far in your career?
I am personally very proud of our latest innovation and patent, Coreva™. This bio-based and compostable stretch technology took five long years to create. There were also many people who said a compostable stretch yarn that also maintains its technical performance was not possible. I’m happy that I stuck to my guns. Finally, we can offer a stretch solution that exhibits a positive impact at the end of life—the first of its kind.
What is/are your favorite denim brand(s), and why?
I have a whole range of favorite brands; each one excels in one or more aspect. A few examples are:
Matias, a small, passionate denim brand out of Los Angeles that cherishes the past while keeping an eye toward the future.
Dust of Gods, created by Antonio Tardissi, hand-selects vintage pieces and resurrects them through the process of dusting, resulting in wearable art.
Blue of a Kind, makes clothes exclusively from pre-existing garments and repurposed fabrics, producing one-of-a-kind fashion items.
What is your favorite denim store, and why?
I've visited and shopped at loads of wonderful denim stores. But I've never found a store that balances heritage and innovation in the way that I'd like it, so I created my own.
Candiani Custom is more than a store, it's a micro-factory that speaks about sustainable innovation without mentioning it.
We built a micro-factory in Piazza Mentana, in the heart of Milan, where you can follow the production process of a jean in the windows.
Candiani Custom in Milan
We hit all the requirements of responsible production: we do not overproduce since we produce only on order, thanks to our patents the product is studied to have a positive impact on the environment at its end of life, we hired and trained local people making sure that the social responsibility aspect is well respected, all elements and technologies that you can choose from to configure your jean are sourced within 238km, making the carbon footprint of our jeans one of the lowest in the world.
We call this concept "from seed to street" as our clients can get their jean done at a one-stop-shop.
Candiani Custom in Milan
What do you think we can expect in the (near) future of denim developments as it comes to sustainability?
Circularity in its many forms will be predominant in the near future, I think with a major focus on post-consumer recycled content. Another key priority is and will continue to be transparency and traceability not only of raw materials but to recover materials at the end of life.
What is the most valuable lesson your have learned during your work?
Most challenges are only minor setbacks.
If you could be someone else for one day, who would you be, and why?
I would want to be the Alberto I could have alternatively become. My passion for music has pushed me in my early days to become a not too bad electronic music composer, DJ and producer.
I've toured the world with my music playing sets along with some of the DJs I used to look up to. At one point in my life though I had to choose one of my two passions and I went for Denim.
Can you describe your ultimate pair of jeans?
They’ve got to be compostable! And make my a*% look good.
Do you have a life slogan, or one that inspires you?
You are not simply going to work you are going to change the World