Candiani Denim records revenue of â105 million, produces first anti-bacterial, thermoregulating denim

Candiani Denim records revenue of €105 million, produces first anti-bacterial, thermoregulating denim

Translated by

Nicola Mira

Italian producer Candiani Denim has reached a new milestone in its journey towards making the denim industry genuinely sustainable and circular. The company, based in Robecchetto con Induno near Milan, after recording a revenue of €105 million in 2022 – up €15 million over 2021 and beating its €100 million forecast – has launched Graphito, the first antibacterial, antiviral and thermoregulating denim fabric. A new technology that Candiani Denim, in a press release, unambiguously hailed as “revolutionary for the textile industry, and created to make a difference in the fight against climate change.” Graphito has been developed with Milan-based graphene producer Directa Plus.

The first products made with Graphito – Candiani Denim

Graphito combines two patents. The first is G+ Graphene, the purest graphene available, the most powerful and lightest ever, with amazing electrical conductivity properties. G+ Graphene is produced by means of physical processes only, without chemicals or solvents. It endows fabrics with various properties, such as thermoregulation, enabling body temperature to be kept uniform and ensuring heat is diffused via the fabric’s texture, alongside with anti-static, antimicrobial and antiviral properties.
The second patent relates to Kitotex, a bio-sourced polymer that eliminates PVA (liquid plastic) in textile manufacturing. Kitotex used for Graphito is sourced exclusively from mushrooms, and is both natural and biodegradable.

“Our interest in this collaboration is twofold: firstly, because Directa Plus holds an extremely interesting patent, featuring technological aspects that interest us in terms of innovation. Secondly, because Directa Plus is based in our region, less than 50 km away from us, in Lomazzo, where it produces [G+ Graphene], and [proximity] is one of our requirements for choosing manufacturing partners, to reduce our carbon footprint,” said Simon Giuliani, head of marketing at Candiani Denim, talking to
“These two technologies combined allow us to produce a denim fabric that is unique worldwide, the pinnacle in contemporary sustainable textile manufacturing. It can be used alongside our Coreva [fabric], the only patented bio-stretch denim existing today, another sustainable R&D leader produced by Candiani,” added Giuliani.
Candiani has a track record in helping the fashion industry deploy significant sustainability innovations. While Directa Plus (one of the world’s leading producers and suppliers of graphene-based products for consumer goods and industrial applications) has previously worked with the textile industry, but not with denim. Directa Plus’s graphene technology was first utilised in sportswear in 2016, by Colmar, with a patented printed lining called Planar Thermal Circuit.

Left to right, Davide Cesareo, head of sales Directa Plus, Razvan Popescu, executive vice-president Directa Plus, and Simon Giuliani, head of marketing Candiani Denim, pictured at Graphito’s presentation – Candiani Denim

“Since then,” said Davide Cesareo, head of sales at Directa Plus, “we have also started collaborating with the workwear industry and the military, and we teamed up with Grassi SpA to supply part of their fire-fighters’ uniforms. We have also partnered with luxury labels, with sportswear brands like Oakley
“The fashion market’s interest in sustainable products like Graphito is very high, but its application and diffusion are still in their infancy. Of course, everyone agrees that we need to head towards a more sustainable kind of fashion, one that is both circular and regenerative,” said Giuliani. “In this specific case, graphene’s technical properties allow us to influence water and energy consumption, as well as the carbon footprint impact caused by maintaining a pair of jeans at home during their life cycle,” he added.
The antibacterial and antiviral properties of the Kitotex/G+ Graphene combination enable jeans made with Graphito to stay clean for longer, and needing to be washed less frequently – no more than once every 10 times they are worn. Considering that, in Europe, jeans are washed after being worn 2.5 times on average, this prompts a drastic reduction in water and energy usage, cutting the jeans’ carbon footprint by up to 75%.
We measured in our lab the behaviour of a normal pair of jeans compared to one impregnated with graphene. After five days, graphene had reduced the viral and bacterial load by more than 50%, and kept on doing so increasingly over time,” said Giuliani. “This means that Graphito jeans can be worn at least twice as often before being washed, allowing water consumption for the product’s entire life cycle to be reduced from 800 litres to 150 litres. Besides, Graphito jeans can be worn in both the warm and cool season. Previously, the average weight of jeans worn all year round was 14 oz. Nowadays, because of climate change, the weight has dropped to 12 oz, and will continue to fall. Graphene adds thermoregulating properties [to denim], making it possible to create jeans that can be worn throughout the year,” he added.
What about the crisis fuelled by rising energy costs? “From the end of 2021 to the end of 2022, output demand in Italy grew exponentially. Unfortunately, at the same time, the energy crisis meant that, in our case, costs actually increased almost five-fold, with an obvious impact on margins,” replied Giuliani. “But Candiani Denim has previously shown it knows how to be resilient. In 1974, [the company] was forced to start a transition process triggered by the terrible energy crisis of the time, but it was able to hold on and continue developing new products, like Graphito today,” for which “many companies have expressed significant interest,” so that it might be introduced in some Fall/Winter 2024 collections. 

Denim jeans and jacket made with Graphito – Candiani Denim

“Graphene is an enabling material, and has a whole array of applications. Directa Plus is currently pursuing its deployment in the environmental field. [Graphene] behaves like a sponge for hydrocarbons, and is therefore able to soak up marine oil spills, and can be used by the petrochemical industry for water and soil treatment. Then there are textile applications, our company’s second revenue generator,” said Cesareo.

“We have developed four technologies for the textile industry: printing, membrane technology, impregnation (used to develop Graphito with Candiani) and surface coating. There are other application areas, such as the whole field of composites, chiefly polymers (high-performance plastics and asphalt), the world of elastomers (tires and rubber components), the dyes sector, because graphene can give flame-retardant and anti-corrosion properties, and finally – not in terms of importance but of volumes, since this is still an emerging technology – the energy and batteries sector, where we are working on a new lithium-sulphur battery technology,” added Cesareo.
In 2022, Directa Plus recorded a revenue of more than €10 million, up 63% over the previous year, and has been steadily growing in the last four years.

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