Recycling is, without a doubt, the most intuitive approach to sustainability, but that is not to say we are dealing with a fool-proof remedy. While easy to grasp in principle, this practice is rarely understood in specific detail. Its intricacies are all too often overlooked and hand-waved, taking the benefits of recycling for granted.


In reality, sustainability cannot be achieved by goodwill alone. As a rule of thumb, we should always ask ourselves whether our efforts have made a meaningful difference for the planet – and it is precisely this question that TALKING HANDS & Lanificio Paoletti sought to answer for their upcoming project, 50 Kg Quilted Cloack.


Based in Treviso (Italy) and born in the midst of a humanitarian emergency, TALKING HANDS is more than a non-profit organization. It’s a fashion design studio empowering African refugees & migrants – a chance to start over and express oneself through meaningful employment & arts. Their newest release, 50 Kg Quilted Cloack, is a limited edition of 50 numbered, handmade plaid blankets. No two pieces are the same: each one features a unique pattern, evoking different cultures of sub-Saharan Africa.


All plaids combine Ivorian UNIWAX cotton with leftover wool offered by Italian mill Lanificio Paoletti. Overall, 50 Kg of wool have been recycled and given new life, preventing a waste of natural resources that goes well beyond the sheer amount of material spared from the landfill. With this in mind, TALKING HANDS set out to present tangible proof of how much was saved compared to using newly produced wool.


ENGINEER3D worked with TALKING HANDS to make this possible. We can truly attest to the sustainability of this initiative – given the data provided to us, our LCA study shows that 50 Kg Quilted Cloack has averted the following environmental impacts:


  • 930 kg CO2 emissions (the equivalent of 3580 km of driving)
  • 380 000 liters of water consumption (equal to 1.5M glasses or 470 days of drinking water)
  • 400 kWh of energy usage, derived from fossil fuel


Socially conscious and environmentally savvy, 50 Kg Quilted Cloack has all the qualities that make a product as sustainable as it can be. Our hope is for this extraordinary commitment to become the norm, and for best practice to finally become commonplace.