A former executive of clothing giant Gap is bringing to the ASX an Australian invention that can create fabric from beer and wine.

Raffaele “Alfie” Germano has taken the reigns at Nanollose and will try to raise $5 million with an initial public offering, with hopes to list the company next month.

Nanollose is based on the work of Perth scientist and winemaker Gary Cass, who accidentally discovered a new type of material when he ruined a batch of wine.

The material, which Nanollose calls “plant-free cellulose fibre”, requires drastically less water to produce than cotton and is designed to be environmentally friendly.

Second-generation clothier

Mr Germano is a veteran of the fashion industry who started working in his father’s factory in Perth as a teenager and ended up running a denim empire.

“My dad started tailoring when he was eight years old in Italy before coming to Australia,” he told Stockhead.

Mr Germano made his name in Hong Kong, where he worked in the clothing industry for almost 25 years. While there he rose through the ranks at VF Corporation — which owns the Wrangler and Lee jeans brands.

“I had a colleague who ran jeanswear North America, and I was jeanswear Asia. Between the two of us we ran one of the biggest denim supply chains on the planet,” he said.

“We made about 250 million pairs of jeans a year.”

After that Mr Germano moved to Gap and became senior vice-president of global sourcing for brands including Old Navy and Banana Republic.

‘I’m a bit of a greenie’

Mr Germano said the sustainability of Nanollose’s material was one of the main reasons he decided to join the company.

“Rather than sit here and point fingers, I want to be an ambassador for industry betterment,” he said.

“There are ways that we can all work together to make it it a better industry. That’s one of the big reasons I took this role.”

Nanollose’s plant-free cellulose fibre during the production process.
Nanollose’s plant-free cellulose fibre during the production process. Picture: Nanollose

Nanollose plans to issue 25,000,000 shares at 20c to raise $5 million, bringing the total number of shares on issue to 74.9 million and giving it a market cap of $14.9 million.

The IPO prospectus had not been issued at the time of writing, but is expected this week.

According to the company’s annual report at June 30, Nanollose spent $820,000 in the previous year, mainly on development costs.

One of Nanollose’s directors, Winton Willesee, is a familiar face at the smaller end of the ASX, also sitting on the boards of Ding Sheng Xin Finance (ASX:DXF), Metallum (ASX:MNE), xTV Networks (ASX:XTV) and MMJ Phytotech (ASX:MMJ).

The company’s other directors for the period were Wayne Best and Terence Walsh, as well as Mr Cass and Mr Germano.