Based in San Marino, with affiliates in Brazil, Turkey, China and India, with 200 employees in the world and 30 years’ distinguished experience in garment finishing, Garmon Chemicals, is an international company, a specialist in research & development and marketing of chemical auxiliaries to finish clothing, mainly denim garments. In the last five years, the company took a distinctive, strongly pushed for step from «general» chemistry to finish garments to an extremely responsible chemistry, including the development of environmentally conscious products and solutions for the fashion universe. It is the subject of our talk with Alberto De Conti, Chief Marketing Officer, who joined the company 5 years ago after 17 years as Levi’s world product innovation manager.
Sustainable, Innovative, Advantageous
«Geopower NPS (No Pumice Stone) is a complex compound that actually eliminates pumice stone in the machine, achieving a result that can be compared with the stone wash look – Alberto De Conti explains. A deep innovation that changes a basic process in denim manufacturing, achieved after one year’s keen research and tests in the world industry».
What about advantages? It cuts environmental and transfer costs to dispose of sludge (used pumice). It eliminates handling to remove pumice and dust from garment pockets and from the machines. It increases productivity due to higher volumes in the washing machine. No risk of fabric wearing and no damage to buttons, rivets and other metal pieces. Longer life of the machinery that no longer worn by stones; a smoother abrasion of the garments; reduced noise pollution; an easier compliance with international environment protection regulations covering waste waters pollution and sludge removal; higher quality of the final product reducing seconds. And so on.
Geopower NPS is used in all-in-one washing baths achieving an even better result in Nimbus applications. «The Geopower innovation combines with another very important innovation introduced approximately six months ago – De Conti adds -: Nimbus, a chemical
agent nebulized in the machine, is a kind of aerosol that allows tremendous energy and water savings. If Nimbus is the first range of chemical auxiliaries and dyes specifically selected to be nebulized in closed systems, achieving energy and water savings up to 80%, Nimbus-Z is the 3rd revolutionary wave in garment stone washing. A range of processes for the first time allows nebulizing enzymes on garments safely; they result from clear scientific tests showing the negligible level of enzymes dispersed in the environment, if measured next to dedicated techniques that follow a specific nebulization procedure with Garmon chemicals».
The Approach of a Responsible Chemistry
Geopower is a GreenScreen® for Safer Chemicals certified product. GreenScreen® is a public, transparent screening method to evaluate chemical inherent hazards, developed by the Clean Production Action (CPA) NGO; furthermore, Garmon Chemicals was the first chemicals supplier to introduce this certification in the clothing manufacturing industry.
Last April, Garmon Chemicals launched GreenScreen CertifiedTM, a chemicals certification programme based on GreenScreen® for Safer Chemicals, which meets the demand of safer chemicals and aims at ensuring a responsible chemical production. Garmon is the first chemical company certifying in excess of 40 proprietary compounds complying with the GreenScreen CertifiedTM standard.
«Nowadays, everything we do and offer the world is based first of all on responsible chemistry – De Conti states – and conceived to achieve a fashion effect, no matter what it is. In fact, five years ago, besides going a green path, we decided to use chemistry as a creative ingredient in order to be able to sell a fashion effect. To this end, we established The Italian Job, a new company in our group, a design studio also based in San Marino with the mission to develop creative products using chemistry in a responsible way. Hence, whereas Garmon supplies chemicals all over the world, The Italian Job acts as a creative workshop together with customers to develop collections, capsules, etc.
In the last two years, we firmly undertook to examine methodically the basic steps of denim treatments, focusing on those with the deepest environmental impact and looking for alternative, more environment friendly solutions. Two years ago, we brought to the market a potassium permanganate alternative, Avol Oxy White, the first new product conceived to strike at the core of basic denim treatment; in fact, we offered a real alternative to achieve the same or even a better look, with no quality issues, at a comparable cost. An important turning point in the processes of the garment industry, like we are doing now with Geopower NPS».
In his conclusion, he adds, «Unfortunately, today we notice a wider and wider flattening of the market. Travelling around the world and looking at major retailers, for sure one notices a flattened level of innovation in denim, but even in other segments of the industry. Nobody invests in research anymore and such a stagnation has to stop. We invest in research and shall continue to do so, however, we hope to be confronted with an environment, an industry ready to invest more both in research, in general, and mainly in a sustainable and responsible research».