Made in Italy, Santini is an elite cycling brand known for developing high performance cycling clothing. They’ve now started to venture into sustainability, through the creation of their eco cycling jerseys made from fully recycled materials. This venture has allowed cyclists to experience the same high quality and high performance design, but know they’re making a better choice for the planet.
We sat down with Paola, the Marketing Director of Santini, to chat a bit more about how their products are designed using innovative technical fabrics, and why transitioning to creating sustainably made products is at the forefront of Santini’s ethos. Keep on reading to learn more about how Santini has stayed true to its Italian roots over the past 56 years, and where they are heading in the future!
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you started Santini?
My father started Santini in 1965. He was a mechanic but got injured and had to stay home for a few months to recover. At the time his sisters had a small knitting laboratory in their garage where they were producing ski sweaters for some local brands. He started helping them out as he was bored and liked it so much that, once he was fully recovered, he resigned from his job and decided to invest in this new activity. As cycling was his big passion he added cycling kits to the range they produced (at the time they were made in wool). It was so successful that he created Santini and ditched the production of clothing for other brands. The rest is history.
Can you tell us a bit more about how your products are made?
Our products are the result of extensive research of innovative technical fabrics paired with a classy design. We start designing the product we would like to make, then we select the fabrics and various accessories we want to use (zippers, elastics, type of stitching, or seat pad, grippers …), we create an artwork following the fit we want to achieve and proceed to the creation of a prototype. Once we have a prototype made we get it tested and produce different prototypes until we get to the final definitive version of the product, which is the one that satisfies our initial objective. We work a lot with our fabric suppliers, most of them have factories within 50 km from our headquarters. We push them to develop fabrics that must respond to the needs of riders of every discipline and for every weather condition.
We love that your Eco Sleek Jersey is 100% made with recycled fabrics coming from PET and waste yarns. Why was creating sustainable, eco-friendly products important to you?
For us it is important to do something for our planet. Even if it is just one little thing, it is better than nothing. That is why we decided to use recycled fabrics for some of our products and are working with our fabric suppliers to substitute as soon as possible the fabrics we use with their sustainable recycled versions. We have also changed the packaging of our products and started using compostable bags. The road to full sustainability is still long, but we are preparing for it.
What do you believe has been Santini’s biggest success so far?
We have had many, I really struggle to pick one. For sure one way to measure our success is by looking at our relationships. When we believe in a project, we tend to keep it going for long. Like with the UCI, a partnership that lasts since 1988 or the Giro d’Italia, 25 years of collaboration and now the VUELTA, already 5 years. We see that also in our customers. Once they choose us, they stay loyal over time. I think the secret is the passion we put in what we do and our honesty. It has always paid us back.
What does the future hold for Santini?
I am very optimistic about the future. There are many projects we are working on. We have grown so much in the last few years and the challenge now is to keep up with the good work.