The curly loops of yellow plastic handles hung empty from the usually busy carriages of the DLR train I found myself on one cold winter morning recently. Departing from London's Shadwell station at the crack of dawn on my slightly convoluted way to Milan, its elevated train platform granted a vision of the sharp morning sun weaving in between the glass skyscrapers of city banks in Canary Wharf. Unlike the bright morning sun in East London, Milan, a few hours later, was buffered on all sides by grey shapeless clouds, but even they wouldn't dull my anticipation for a trip that I had been looking forward to for some time - a visit to Candiani denim.
Transferred from the airport, the car stopped behind some unassuming, faded green wooden gates in the piccolo town of Robechetto con Induno. About a 30-minute drive from fashion mecca Milan, remains a family business that has been discreetly but effectively evolving the production process of denim for four generations. Set in a picturesque nature reserve in the heart of Ticino Park, the local district has a deep and important textile heritage, whilst its businesses sanctify a sincere dedication to preserve tradition and drive environmental awareness.
It all began in 1938 when Luigi Candiani started a small production of workwear fabrics in the town, but recently, globalization and its impact on the fashion industry, particularly its excessive speed, has petitioned a major re-think for people within the industry. At the core of this assessment is the subject of sustainability. Candiani have in fact been pioneers of sustainability in their field. Not so long ago, it would’ve been very rare to receive an invitation to attend an open day - it still is to an extent, but over the last few years, Candiani have felt an obligation to be completely transparent in sharing their knowledge of the production processes of denim.