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At Riri, Sustainability is Zipping Toward the Future

Chances are, as you got dressed today, you unknowingly became part of a global celebration. Every day, people around the world benefit from the convenience of zippers, a humble yet indispensable invention. But did you know that this is the outcome of a true innovator? Let's take a moment to reflect on the legacy and innovation of Oerlikon Riri, a company that has played a pivotal role in zipper technology.

Fact is that on April 29th, 2024, it was World Zipper Day but also 100 years ago since the founder of Riri, Martin O. Winterhalter, obtained the patent for a closure system and developed it further. He also developed the first machine that enabled the industrial production of zippers that are still widely used and recognized today and are essential accessories of the textile and fashion world's history.

A Zip Back Into History

The zipper revolution at Oerlikon Riri was born a century ago with the Rille-Rippe (concave-convex) patented zipper, thus boosting the launch of this new closure across Europe. In fact, the name "Riri" comes from combination of the German words for concave RI and convex RI, since then symbolizing their pioneering spirit in zipper craftsmanship. This design is what we still know today as the modern zipper.

In 1936, Oerlikon Riri established its production in Mendrisio, Switzerland, in a former pasta factory. Since then, Oerlikon Riri has paved the way, leading innovation and sustainability in the industry, as one of the most widely recognized and oldest zipper manufacturers in the world.

Firsts in the Industry

In 1950, Oerlikon Riri had the first patent for a plastic molded zipper, which was protected exclusively for 18 years. Later on in 2021, Oerlikon Riri introduced recyclable zippers. We take pride in Oerlikon Riri’s status as the first manufacturer in the fashion accessories industry to adopt the use of 100% recycled, 100% post-consumer polyester as a production standard for zip tapes. A practice that reduces emissions from polyester production by 32%. The tapes are certified according to the Global Recycled Standard (GRS); the cotton is certified according to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), affirming the use of natural fibers from a socially responsible and environmentally friendly supply chain.

A Clothing-Climate Connection

After a century, Oerlikon Riri stands out as one of the world's most renowned and longstanding zipper manufacturers. Known for their effortless open-and-close mechanism and minimalist design, Oerlikon Riri zippers add a touch of elegance to any garment. Customers rave about the seamless experience, superior quality, and luxurious feel of their zippers.

Since 2023, Riri is part of Oerlikon Group. The core values of Oerlikon and Riri are innovation and sustainability, and through our continuous work to improve zippers, we are contributing to making the world more environmentally friendly. Oerlikon Riri is delving deep into continuous process improvements, collaborating on innovative solutions, and championing alternative materials to decrease waste and emissions.

We are at the forefront of applying our own PVD (physical vapor deposition) technology from Oerlikon Balzers for coating accessories in the world of luxury fashion industry, which would further improve the company´s innovation and sustainability milestones.

This story is not just about zippers; it's about weaving a greener future into the fabric of our lives. The connection between clothing and climate has never been clearer. With Oerlikon Riri zippers as part of your wardrobe, you can make a fashion statement that also showcases your support for sustainable innovation.

Keep zipping toward a brighter, greener tomorrow with Riri by your side. To learn more about this aspect of our business, please click below.

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