Denim Guru Adriano Goldschmied Enters Partnership With OVS

MILAN — Italian apparel and retail chain OVS has entered a long-term partnership with denim veteran Adriano Goldschmied, tasked with advancing the denim product category with forward-looking fashion and sustainability credentials.

The collaboration unveiled Tuesday here officially kicks off with the fall 2023 season, which comes with an Italian exclusive secured by OVS on the use of Turkish supplier Crescent Bahümán’s Blue Infinity, a new-gen dyeing compound replacing indigo and allowing a 62 percent reduction in water consumption, as well as a significant cutback on energy use and carbon dioxide emissions. The exclusive rights on the compound extend to the spring 2024 collection.

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OVS chief executive officer Stefano Beraldo highlighted that the company sells around 6 million denim pieces a year, suggesting that the category holds strategic relevance for the company. Also, its environmental impact cannot be neglected.

The Italian retailer — which scored the fourth spot in the recently issued Circular Fashion Index 2023 of brands most committed to circularity compiled by Kearney — has been upping the ante on sustainability since a few years now, for example sourcing all of its cotton from recycled and organic sources, or grown according to the Better Cotton Standard.

Overall, it has pledged to cut its carbon footprint by 46.2 percent by 2030, a goal recognized by the Science Based Targets Initiative.

“Three years ago as I was pondering the acceleration of the denim business, aiming to become a leader in denimwear not only in terms of volumes of sold goods but also from a quality standpoint, my ambition was to [be able to] offer the best 6 million [denim] garments possible,” Beraldo offered.

Goldschmied was hard to convince, he admitted, but was impressed by OVS’ supply chain and its eco mindset and operations.

“I wanted to check myself on the OVS sustainability strategy,” Goldschmied explained. “I think no consumer in the world would ask for the most sustainable product on offer when entering a store. Sustainability needs to be marketing, it just needs to be embedded in products that are good-looking and innovative and relevant as the hit the retail floor,” he said.

The pair highlighted that the project is not just a capsule collection.

As part of the long-term agreement, Goldschmied consults on the whole denimwear category for OVS, pushing the sustainability agenda forward — as in the use of Blue Infinity — but also making sure standard practices have green cred.

OVS had already banned the use of permanganate in 2019 and replaced handmade distress techniques with safer options, including laser treatments and the use of biodegradable enzymes.

“OVS was the perfect vehicle because its volumes are so impactful per se in terms of energy and water consumption, processes and selection of fibers,” Goldschmied said.

The denim veteran was tasked with updating the offering, adding more fits and treatments including cargo jeans, culotte pants and pleated, wide-legged options for women and selvedge five-pocket styles for men, among others.

“It’s also about advancing OVS’ vision fashion-wise, drawing opinionated clients looking for fashion-driven fits and finishes. It’s a great moment historically as denimwear has several trendy options,” Goldschmied said.

The first collection overseen by Goldschmied hits OVS stores in September, with prices ranging below 50 euros.

The partnership with Goldschmied is not uncommon for OVS, which tapped Massimo Piombo in 2018 as its creative director overseeing all the retailer’s lines as well as the stores’ interior concepts.

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