Made In GOEL®

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Made In GOEL® : first ethical high fashion brand in Italy

Gioiosa Ionica, ItalyLocride, Province: Calabria and Milan, Province: Lombardia, Italy
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

CANGIARI® garments are made of hand-loom fabrics, reproposing the heritage of Calabrian hand woven in fashion using organic yarns and fabrics. The production provides jobs for women and young people, in a region with the highest unemployment in Italy and the serious problem of 'ndrangheta (mafia).

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

WHAT IF old textile traditions were expressed in high fashion organic garments helping the fight against mafia?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Calabria is the least developed region in Italy. Youth unemployment is 75% in some sub-territories and there is a high female unemployment. It is the homeland of the today most powerful mafia in the world: the ndrangheta. It impedes development in Calabria and invests money in Milan and abroad. Calabria has a great potential in developing tourism which could benefit from a unique biodiversity and from cultural tradition including hand weaving.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

These are some solutions. 1. The entire communication and production chain is in Calabria, it employs young men and women by creating sustainable development 2. In the production chain there are cooperatives employing disadvantaged people with physical and mental problems 3. CANGIARI ®clothes are 100% organic, GOTS-certified, the production chain is environmentally sustainable for the territory 4.CANGIARI® clothes are made of hand woven from Hellenic and Byzantine traditional hand looms 5. The project promotes local cultural heritage and spreads it at national and international level, this favors cultural tourism and creates consensus for GOEL® Group: local consensus is important in the fight against mafia.


Sustainable Luxury Fair in Paris Award ; International Prize -Catania, Talents&Surrounding; Recognition together for Calabria; Recognition, issued by the Italian Embassy, Tel Aviv; Mediterranean culture award ; Excellencies of Calabria Award
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

CANGIARI® story begins with a group of GOEL® young women who went to ederly ladies, the "majistre", to learn the oldest hand weaving tradition in Italy. The "majistre" are just a few, they still know the secrets of the complex mathematical settings of 1800 yarns making up the hand loom: being illiterate, they handed down from mother to daughter these settings hiding them in the verses of ancient chants, remained secret for centuries. GOEL® women transcribed these chants and reconstructed the handlooms to weave again. They became the new young "majistre", finding work and employment. And their hand woven have became fabrics for fashion.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Employment: the production chain employs 49 people including 2 people with physical and psychological problems, 95% are women; in addition other about 40 people work in satellite activities. CANGIARI® took part to almost all the Milan Fashion Weeks and has its own showroom, in the center of Milan, in a property confiscated by the State from the 'ndrangheta. It is the first and the only 100% organic and ethical brand in Italian high fashion. This project made known the calabrian hand weaving tradition in Italy and abroad, enhancing the image of the region often famous just for mafia. GOEL® Group has received a consensus for this reason in Calabria and the consensus from Calabrian people is a very important reaction to 'ndrangheta attacks. The Tour Operator of GOEL® Group has promoted many Cultural tourism proposals. Finally it is making up a "the Calabria Hand Weaving Museum".

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

It is necessary, for a greater employment impact, a market expansion abroad, especially in some countries where the eco-ethical market of high fashion is growing a lot (we have a marketing plan made by Accenture on this). We are also involving some textile packaging local laboratories, in crisis or recently closed, to enlarge the production chain and capacity. Although currently CANGIARI® produces woman collections, we would produce some man and home products in the future. Finally, we would like to restart the production of local traditional ecological fiber, such as broom yarns.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We require a capital investment to diversify the products and widen the market. By March 2016, GOEL® Group will accomplish a Group restructuring to allow a local subscription to popular shareholding and to raise capital investment from "business angels" nationwide. The popular shareholding will involve local people in support of CANGIARI® project development and expansion.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

CANGIARI® Market is made up of 3 segments: Eco-chic, Fashion Luxury and Social Conscious, with a great attention to quality and ethics. Eco-chic distribution: Flagship Store, Fashion Retailers, Green Retailers; Fashion Luxury distribution: Flagship Store, Fashion Retailers; Social Conscious distribution: Green Retailers. Competitive advantages: 100% handcrafted, made in Italy, organic and social; fabric and style innovation. Market expansion: Italy and France; England and Europe; North America. International competitors: Henrietta Ludgate, Edun, From Somewhere, People Tree, Goodone, Kuyichi.

Founding Story

After young women by GOEL® became the new "majistre" (see 4example), they had the problem of the market where to sell the hand-woven fabrics. These fabrics are very expensive to made: 1 meter (no wider than 80 cm) requires from 3 to 6 hours of work. So selling the fabrics on local markets meant not paying a fair price to the weavers. We thought: "If this hand-woven fabrics are so precious, they must be used to made precious dresses". So we had the idea of creating a high fashion brand, because only that segment could assure the payment of all producing costs. Then we saw that there were many ethical fashion brands in the world, but no one in the high fashion segment. Hence our idea.


Female Handloom weaver network (abt 10 people); Tailoring/packaging (7 people); Industrial packaging and semi-finished by Happy Girl coop (abt 15 people); Web and Multimedia Communication by Utopia social coop (5 people); Management, Design and Prototypes Office by Made In GOEL® (5 people); Administration, Legal, Marketing & Communications, Project Office, Treasury and Secretary Services by GOEL® Social Consortium (Made in GOEL® shareholder) (7 people).
Value Chain: Where does your work fit into the apparel value chain? [check all that apply]

Manufacturing, Consumption.

Your Role: What is your relationship to the apparel industry? [check all that apply]

Brand Representative, Corporate Staff, Designer, 5Factory Worker, Factory Owner, Non-profit Staff, Supplier - contractor.

Target Population: What stakeholder groups do you engage or empower in your work? [check all that apply]

Brands, Consumers, Corporations, Designers, Factory Workers, Factory Owners, Researchers, Retailers - Specialty Store, Sourcing Manager / Supply Chain Manager, Supplier - contractor, Supplier - subcontractor, Women, Youth.

● Intervention Focus: What are you trying to achieve / influence? [check all that apply]

Conscious Consumerism, Environmentally Sustainable Practices, Labor Rights (i.e. Collective Bargaining, etc.), Gender Equality, Physical Working Conditions, Transparency, Other, [please specify].

Lever for Change: Select up to 3 ways your work is helping to transform the industry.

Certification, Organizing, Media.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

Hidden from View: Conditions in Forests, Farms, and Factories are Only Visible to a Select Few, Sustainability is Not Yet in the DNA: Fast Fashion’s Current Model Disincentivizes Value-Driven Economies.

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Activate Local Know-how for Driving Solutions: Build Opportunities for Workers to Become Leaders, Disrupt Business as Usual: Target Key Players Who Can Influence the Bottom Line.

Innovation Inspiration: When you first conceived of your project, did you think of it as applicable to the apparel industry?


If you answered "no" to the previous question, which industry was your project originally aimed at transforming?

● Replicating in the Apparel Industry: If your project didn't initially target the apparel industry, how are you specifically tailoring it to do so now?
Are you nurturing or inspiring others to be changemakers? If so, how?

Yes. GOEL® provides ethics training to busnesses and produces an intense communication of its innovations.

● Tell us about the partnerships that enhance your approach. How have you collaborated with others in the industry to increase your impact?

National Chamber of Italian Fashion, Accenture, M.Spadafora, LuisaViaRoma, Interno Italiano, AltaRoma, CGM.


A fascinating story and a very spécial product. I explore your website to see more of the designs and would suggest you include a diaporama of your collections - and close up of the fabric: it is unique.