Confecciones Beyfe is a clear example of how some trade is done in blood. Half a century ago, brothers Felix and Benny Izquierdo Chivite founded the Navarran company, which is headed today by their younger sister, Isabel. Its beginning was not easy, as it coincided with the transformation of the textile industry in 1980 and Spain’s inclusion in a single European market. In less than a decade, the sector was forced to move from a protected internal economy to an economy free of protective tariffs.
Isabel remembers that it was all change, together with the relocation of the textile industry to Asia, that forced her brothers to leave the fashion sector and reinvent themselves. “My family began collaborating with designers of the stature of Roberto Verino and Adolfo Dominguez, but during the eighties the world played out in Spain. Very few companies put their production in the country”, he details.
The first workshop in which they were closed, but instead of resigning themselves and closing the blinds definitively, the Chiwaite brothers moved the business toward the manufacture of other textile items. Today, Confecciones Beyfe supplies uniforms from Cintruénigo to industries, hotels and hospitals, as well as bed linen and table linen.
Since its foundation, the factory has leaned towards an a la carte service model. Each idea that the client has become a reality following an artistic method in which only national materials are used. Although they remain a small company with over 20 workers, their quality has made chefs of Dani Garcia’s stature bet on their products.
The last commission done by a Malaga businessman was table linens for his new Lobito de Mar restaurant in Doha. However, they had already worked together five times. In addition, there are plans to open two new restaurants in Dubai and Miami in the coming months, in which they will also be present.
Before the acclaimed chef with three Michelin stars, others have supported Beyf’s work. In fact, the first collaboration was with Enrique Martinez, the owner of Maher restaurant in Navarra. With his hand he began to establish contacts with other restaurant and hotel chains, such as Ilunion Hotels belonging to the ONCE social group. Over the years they have managed to open space in Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Italy and the United States, and they expect to end this year with sales of over 30,000 units.
As the company’s president, Isabel is convinced that success lies in demand and local consumption. He details that most customers contact Beyfe “because they want the product to be 100% made in Spain and that guarantees the highest quality”, two characteristics of the textile company. Since its foundation, the company concentrates all of its production in Navarra and has no uniforms, sheets or tablecloths that leave the facilities completely without internal control.
The so-called democratization of fashion in the 1990s brought with it one of the biggest problems facing the textile sector today: its environmental impact. As the fourth most polluting industry in the EU, fashion faces the challenge of a circular economy driven by new proposals for sustainable development and more respectable consumption habits by 2030. turning is inevitable; Evidence of this is that in March this year the European Commission approved its strategy to tackle textile waste.
The problem is not minor, the production of clothing for clothing is responsible for 20% of water pollution in the world and the washing of the synthetic materials needed to manufacture it generates half a million tons of microfiber that is swallowed by the oceans, according to the United Nations. According to.
The explicit mention of fast fashion draws attention to large clothing stores, but it actually covers the entire sector. Unfortunately, this demand is moving slowly in Spain. Chivite points out that very few companies have developed durable fabrics suitable for making uniforms, but they want to break this trend by optimizing their production for the new times.
Currently, Beyfe manufactures different garments for restaurants with fibers made from recycled plastic bottles. 13% of each garment is plastic. Four bottles are recycled in one meter of cloth, saving 2,622 liters of water and 465 hectares of energy. In addition, C02 emissions have decreased by 220 grams.
In parallel, they have just started a new project to launch a collection of aprons made from vegetable fibers from the corn plant. The director is confident that the first such garments will see light at the end of the year.
turn of the pandemic
COVID-19 was a turning point in the hospitality sector. Suddenly, bed sheets and tablecloths in the dining room were seen as sources of infection. Customer preferences changed in search of places that offered them protection and textile companies had to adapt to the new demands. Beyfe did it and today it has a section on environmental health in which it promotes new clothing that, they say, is “cleaner and safer”.
Among the products offered are uniforms and bedding with protective and antibacterial treatments. Two years after the pandemic, it no longer seems like a novelty, but the company’s president recalls that at the time he had to be “agile” in order not to shut down. “Like decades ago, our family had to rebuild itself. We turned to the health sector with the design of masks, nightgowns and other products that were needed”, he details.
The storm has passed, but they found another opportunity there, and now the company wants to bring a new fabric that self-regulates body temperature to the geriatric and hospital worlds. It should be noted that this is a little explored area. In the field of thermal control, other companies have created materials that achieve the effect of radiant cooling (a form of cooling), for example clothing that reflects sunlight or escapes body heat. However, some materials are capable of regulating both temperatures.