Material innovation is what C.P. Company was built on. From as far back as 1973, when the brand was in its infancy (and still called Chester Perry), founder Massimo Osti pioneered the technique of garment dyeing: the baptismal act of plunging a cut-and-sewn garment into a dye bath.
Where, usually, textiles are dyed before they get cut and made into clothing, flipping things around led to some interesting results. It gave the garments individual character. The natural progression and direction of the brand came from this process.
Every year since then, C.P. Company has been shaking up the industry with unusual and innovative designs: jackets with laptop pockets, dyed Gore-Tex and, of course, the iconic goggles in the hood. Useless or useful? We’ll let you decide that one.
This year the shake ups continue. For its SS23 collection, C.P. Company has launched its SEED program, “a laboratory of trials focused on finding a way to reduce the environmental impact of garment making.” It pinpoints all the heavy-lifting concepts of the sustainability mindset: zero waste, circular design systems, and the “Kilometer Zero” concept (using local materials to reduce transport and supply chains). So far, so good.
But what does that mean for an Italian fashion house?
Well, within the SS23 collection, there are two modes of production, aptly named SEED 1 and SEED 2. In true numerical fashion, let’s start with SEED 1. This capsule is made with naturally grown local fibers. In particular, it focuses on ancient fibers like hemp and nettle, which are then mixed with organic cotton. C.P. Company notes that the final material is similar in quality to linen, but stronger and stiffer.
SEED 2 trials the “present limitations of certified recycled fibers and materials.” Garments in this capsule use a material called Eco-Chrome, created using upcycled fishing nets, and a mix of recycled fleece and organic cotton.
Both production means are expressed in a variety of jackets, sweatshirts, T-shirts and hoodies, and in all in a restrained color palette of gray and orange. The designs are classic C.P Company: utility details, adjustable elements, and the infamous goggle hood. The pieces have been garment dyed using natural pigments, giving them an uneven, organic finish.
Across all the items is the symbol of the SEED project: a rather sad looking man with crosses on his body and eyes. C.P. Company states that he is “a metaphor for everything that went wrong, a reminder that progress is achieved through trial and error.” A lot has gone wrong. That much is true. The only way out is to keep working, to keep experimenting, even if those experiments seem useless at first.
Below the man is the phrase: “And if they are roses, they will flower.” It’s an Italian proverb, meaning “time will tell.” And maybe only time will tell if the SEED project will flower into a sustainable way of producing garments. We hope so.
You can check out the full collection on the C.P. Company website. And, in other sustainability-adjacent fashion news, you can read about the program to decarbonize fashion that’s caught the eye of brands like GANNI and Patagonia.