Archive for March, 2012

Ethicalista lecture @ Fashion Institute of Technology in Milan

Ethicalista has been invited for the second time to give a lecture on “Fashion and Sustainability” at the Politecnico di Milano.

This time around not to the italian students but to those who participate in the International Fashion Design program of the  Fashion Institute of Technology – FIT. We are extremely proud of this chance.

The lecture will take place on Thursday 22nd March, starting 2.00 pm, room CT 46 Bovisa Campus – Via Durando 10, Milano.

The Ethicalista Lecture Series is not finished… more soon!

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Sustainable Fashion: an industry R-EVOLUTION – first impressions

Yesterday in the very centre of Milan, in an historical and beautiful building, took place an interesting and important conference entitled “Sustainable Fashion: an industry R-EVOLUTION” organized by Camera della Moda – the Italian Fashion Chamber” – and the British Consulate General in Milan with the support of ISKO – a Sanco Group Company.

The idea was to bring together some of the most important Uk based and Italian initiatives from an industrial and an academic point of view and at look at figures and data coming from different surveys and case studies.

Here a list (in Italian) of the different interventions.

It is well known how crucial is terminology when talking about Sustainability and that this is an unsolved issue.

Nevertheless it was undoubtedly a surprise to understand that for “Camera della Moda” sustainability is a question of environmental respect, omitting completely the social component of the discourse.

Many and interesting have been the case studies presented by both profit and non-profit organizations, locally as well as globally.

There was the chance to know the progress made by large corporates like Gucci in terms of sustainability, maybe they are still making small steps but with great intent and commitment to have a dialogue with the stakeholders. Hopefully these will soon concretize.

Very interesting to understand how sharing a common vision could bring two important industries in the Denim World to create a brand that keeps sustainability and transparency at its core. In this way it was born and continues to be developed Haikure, good, well dome and beautiful jeans.

Two phrases are emblematic of the Sate of the Art in terms of Sustainability in Fashion between the Italiand and the British scenario.

Anna Zegna – VicePresident of the “Camera della Moda” – stressed that it is time to create a table where to find a definition of sustainability for Italian Fashion.

On the other hand the British University representatives while presenting themselves and their work explained that are now more then 15 years since in the UK both the academic and the industrial world have started talking about this.

Une detail above all. While presenting the history of sustainable fashion in the UK, Rebecca Earley – Director of the Textile Futures Research Centre at Central Saint Martins – and Dilys Williams – Director of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at the London Collage of Fashion – of course used a beautiful picture of a Katharine Hamnett campaign where t-shirt become a strong social communication vehicle. This very t-shirts are now eventually arrived also in Italy thanks to a collaboration between the designer and Coop supermarkets (see a previous post for details). Pity that such a praiseworthy, hopefully ground breaking, initiative is arrived with at least 20 years of delay.

Katharine Hamnett for Solidal Coop – a fair trade project

From today in all Coop supermarkets all over Italy is much easier to be ethical in style.

From the large and catchy phrases on the t-shirts the most fashionistas clients could guess that only a designer like Katharine Hamnett could have backed such an idea.

YOU/ME, STOP AND THINK, TOGETHER IS POSSIBLE, KNOWLEDGE IS POWER, SAVE THE FUTURE, GENIUS, LOVE

Solidal Coop is a known brand and identifies their sustainable products since few years now. This time they did it all. They put together great design, organic cotton and fair trade for both the textile and clothes production. Really a nice job.

forgotten fabrics rebirth – Saisei

Saisei in Japanese means rebirth-recovery. This was exactly what Giorgia Palmirani had in mind when in her Bologna workshop started this new and unexpected accessories brand.

Old unused kits, scraps of historical workshops, old materials, military tents and army fabrics carrying the signs and taste of the time, yet carrying their glorious, never lost story.

All this is turned into comfortable large and stylish handcrafted bags. At White in Milan and Tranoï in Paris Saisei is presenting the new fall/winter 2012/13 collection.

Mash – Assembled selecting the essential parts of old Italian army tents (including: writings, studs, etc….) once finely manufactured, all bags undergo the exclusive in capo waxing and colouring processing, to reach their final and unique look yet clearly showing the original features of the fabric.

Vespucci – Here the material is the hemp fabric recovered from the Vespucci school ship old sails,then dyed and waxed through the same exclusive process.

Paint – the same hemp fabric is hand painted with strokes of acrylic paint and then also finished with wax.

Simple shapes for big-size bags a sort of container for all past and present stories, where continuity and and history find their common thread.

a colourful White Show @ Milan Fashion Week

This Fall/Winter 2012/13 Fashion Week in Milan arrived at its close just yesterday and it’s now time to try to evaluate how sustainability was felt and its promoters lived the show.

Many articles wrote about the lack of foreign visitors, about the absence of the Japanese and how the Chinese invasion they expected did not happen. Despite this dark perspectives, the presence of national and international buyers, top journalist and bloggers in town was clearly felt and the visit they all paid to White is a clear sign that this event remains the place where to find new tendencies and most creative design.

It was not a case that most, if not all, sustainable brands did choose this particular show to promote themselves and their collections. Beside the well established and strongly present C.L.A.S.S. section (with 13 exhibitors), the event could count on 11 brands for which design and product really merge with attention to people and environment, that counts for around 10% of all exhibitors.

Material research, traditional craftsmen skills and innovative design where the key aspects an which all brands developed their new collections. Claudio Cutuli scarves and their secular vegetable dyeing tradition, Silent People extracting all possible beauty from old leather garments turning them into bags and purses or Sennes giving new life to portuguese wool production creating elegant accessories, these just few examples of how sustainability can actually be conjugated to create beautiful fashion.

The outcomes of the meeting between design and artisanal work in two collaborations were very impressing: Dalaleo joined with Michela Bruni to create an incredible new line of fashion jewellery. km/a consolidate their partnership with Italian shoe artist/artisan Andrea Verdura in a collection where leather and reclaimed material really find new a connection.

Stay tuned for more news on selected brands.

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