Milan Design Week: @ Fabbrica del Vapore and others

Just a month ago there was the grand opening of a new space with is the “Fabbrica del Vapore“: the Cathedral! Honestly a really nice and welcoming space, pity for the huge tent in the centre of the external garden hosting, since a few years now, the Ciak theatre. In the Cathedral itself for the Fuorisalone there where different installations and artworks exhibited. Interesting the work done by some Croatian Designers Data By Despot  using felt and especially recycled nylon tights. In another part of the Fabbrica del Vapore there is the “ECO temporary shop” an idea of Stefano Pisciotta and Best Up. A space where few brands where presented and eventually sold to the public in one of the very few spaces available in town where to purchase something sustainable. Beautiful and colourful the felt blankets and home decorations by aManiLibere a project by FiloDritto. This is a Enna (Sicily) based social cooperative working with the local female prison and using traditional textile techniques, mainly felt.It was also possible to have a look to some pieces of Rianne de Witte s/s 2011 collection. Simple lines, fine jersey for the organic cotton and the lyocell short dresses, tees and shirts. Another brand present was G.O.D.D. A simple but effective concept: use organic denim to reinterpret eco ready to weare fashion. Jeans, jackets, shirts and light blouses all in summery light colours from ecru to indigo shades.Beautiful and unusual the fashion accessories realized by Tomoko Tokuda recycling mainly watches parts wired together.

Together with Hell’s Kitchen bags (already present @ econtamination) the use of car parts arrives at its hight in the accessories designed by Paolo Ferrari for his brand 959. 1959 was the year in which Volvo introduced seat belts as a standard in their vehicles. This project – writes Paolo Ferrari on his website – has the objective to bring your back to an ethical, estethical and up-to-date dilemma design.


The Eco Temporary Shop will remain open till the end of April in Via Procaccini 4 Milan.

Moving to another part of the city, part of the Brera Design District, one could admire the fascinating and exotic atmosphere of the carpets presented by Nodus. Milan design and asian craftsmanship, attention to nature and Fair Trade, simplicity and elegance, these are the elements of the Nepali made 100% undyed Himalayan wool.

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Milan Design Week: John Malkovich and Cardato Regenerated CO₂ Neutral

The second event visited for this 2011 Milan Design Week has been the presentation of a few projects installations and products together at the Milan base of the Pecci Contemporary Art Museum of Prato.

The idea was to show the excellence Made in Prato where style and environment are founding criteria. Beside the presentation of a special Design Week issue of Eco_Design, interesting magazine on sustainability, living, design and energy, OpificioJm and Rebecca guested John Malkovich there to present his new clothes collection Technobohemian and a preview of Rebecca by John Malkovich jewellery line.

The ex-industrial space of the Pecci Museum was the prefect setting for different installations dedicated to the “0Km – zero kilometer” design, realized with the products present at OpificioJm.

What was really interesting was the presence of the Prato Chamber or Commerce with their certification label Cardato Regenerated CO₂ Neutral: the first textile products certified “Zero Emission”, outcome of 21 Prato based companies engagement and creativity. The certification can be applied only to really produced fabrics that comply to the following criteria:

  • produced in the Prato Textile District
  • realized with at least 70% of recycled material (clothes or textile industry waste)
  • have cancelled their Carbon Footprint by purchasing Carbon Emission Credits from the Chamber of Commerce.

The estimate is that yearly some 20.000 tons of wool material is recycled in the area giving to Prato practically a world wide monopole in this field. 

Milan Design Week: econtamination

The Design Week – Fuorisalone – is clearly the biggest event in Milan. Hundreds of thousands of people arrive from all over the world to enjoy a very democratic series of events, taking place in many different corners and contests of the City. A visitor, expert or simply curious, can enter and have a look in any showroom, space, event or other setting realized in the most temporary way possible. Many are the year long activities – from car service to artisan laboratories to shops – that close down for the Fuorisalone to rent out their spaces to some design company, collective or super brands.

In this interesting, original and chaotic atmosphere many are the initiatives where sustainability is at the root of design. We have visited the ones where the connection with fashion is stronger and since in these last years many designers have approached fashion more and more, the events to be visited are quite a few.

Econtamination is a relatively small but interesting event organized by equology – marketing and communication. Few of the brands present are either well known or interesting new entries.

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  • Beyondskin: this is probably the first time we see this UK brand in Italy. They showcased some of their shoes from the 2011 P/E collection, of course made with their special 100% recycled PET microfiber. Fresh design and attractive colours and always a nice and simple feminine touch.
  • Campeche: not at all a new entry but more and more and established certainty (see Campeche: from the past to a sustainable future). Beside the usual range of pastel colored scarves – few new summery designs available – they showcased a new line in bourette silk (in collaboration with a swiss producer) and new jacquard patterns cloth dyed – a newly introduced technique in their plant.
  • Ecoist: Another new entry in the Italian scenario. This US based company produces stylish bags and fashion accessories exclusively made with recycled chocolate bar wrappings, magazines, and many other waste materials.
  • Hell’s Kitchen: Not at all new to Ethicalista (see Tire Tubes… the italian way) presented most of their collection from the helmets – the only certified made in recycled tyre rubber in the world – as well as their notebooks and agendas lines together with HK Teck for technology addicted people who always carry a computer. Very interesting their larger bags made with an external thin layer of micro punched rubber that shows the coloured surface underneath.
  • Mitzica: a rather new brand from designer Alice Salmeri. The brand started in Palermo in 2008 using recycled fabrics produced with local workforce.
  • UroboroDesign: The use of cardboard for making design furniture is not new but the innovative lines and forms implemented by this brand gives to the entire range a fresh and original look. Beside this elements Uroboro presents an interesting line of fashion accessories all made with recycled tyre tubes, always etnochic, alternative, elegant and eye-catching. This range should definitely be added to the Tire Tubes… the italian way post.

From People Tree to Alberta Ferretti: a new journey for Emma Watson in Sustainable Fashion

Soon after the presentation of People Tree SS11 collection -third collaboration between the Fair Trade brand and Emma Watson- rumors started about a possible new capsule by the Harry Potter heroine and Italian designer Alberta Ferretti.

Of course Emma Watson objective was to continue the teenage sustainable fashion propaganda she started with People Tree. Doing this with a designer like Alberta Ferretti gave a new and fresh look to the entire collection keeping the style sophisticated, young and sustainable.

Below, Mrs. Ferretti spoke with Style.com on Watson’s style, their collaboration, and her own long-standing environmentalism.

How did you come to work with Emma Watson?
Emma and I have a long relationship that dates back to when I dressed her for the promotion of her first Harry Potter film. Since then, we have been in touch and I was very struck by her collaboration with People Tree. I think she is very serious, intelligent, and extremely talented. She was an obvious choice for me on this project as we share a deep sensibility for the green cause.

How would you describe her style? How did it gel with your own aesthetic?
Emma is a fresh, serene, and intelligent young woman who has a very sophisticated style. She is a young woman who lives life to the full: She is dedicated professionally, involved socially, and is intriguing and cool. We both wanted the collection to be easy to wear and accessible to a wide range of the public. The main inspiration that came directly from Emma was the Jane Birkin mood, typical of London in the late 1970’s, which came when she saw [my] Spring ‘11 collection. However, the collection shows the unmistakable feminine and romantic style of Alberta Ferretti. The two came together in the shared concept of feminine style.

Has ecological fashion been a long-term goal of yours?
Concerns with the environment have always been important to me, and over the years I have been involved in a number of projects. I was born near the sea, I live surrounded by nature, and I am particularly close to the environment and sensitive to ecological problems. The event that made me really think was the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster off the American coast last year. As a designer I felt it was important for me to create a line of clothing that would demonstrate my commitment to eco-friendly principles. The materials used for this collection are entirely organic, and every process is environmentally friendly, from the growing of the cotton down to the dyeing of the fabrics.

Pure Threads collection is available online at store.albertoferretti.com, a portion of profits will be used to support the work of people tree foundation.

This 5 pieces capsule collection is a very significant for Ethical Fashion in Italy. It is the first effort of a major italian designer in this direction, now that Sustainability is becoming more and more relevant in people’s everyday life. Hopefully this is just beginning of a series of steps in tuning-up Italian Fashion and Sustainability.

Milk fiber – eco or not?

Lately on the media there were a lot of articles telling how eco friendly and “good” for human skin Milk Fiber fashion is.

Reading these articles it really looked like one could simply skim some milk, dehydrate it and spin it into a thread. Trying to look a bit more deeply in how manufactures and producers describe Milk Fiber there is not much more. Except some clues concerning technological processes or copolymerization, the process described is very similar to the well documented production of the 1930’s Milk Fiber (invented by Italian inventor Ferretti and commercialized as Lanital), clearly involving heavy chemicals including Formaldehyde. All today’s producers do describe Milk Fiber as environmental friendly and even good for human skin. At the same time none describes how really Casein Protein – a waste product in cheese making – becomes a yarn.

exchangingfire.wordpress.com author asked him/her self the same question:

WHAT IS MILK FIBER?

here is his conclusion:

Milk Fiber is a blend of casein protein and the chemical acrylonitrile, which is used to make acrylic. It’s made using a process that is similar to rayon/viscose, but because it’s a regenerated protein fiber and not a regenerated cellulose fiber, it reacts like wool

Of course this is Exchanging Fire opinion and it sounds well explained, but as long as the producers will not give proves that their processes use are not similar to rayon/viscose, perplexities about Milk Fiber being eco-friendly will remain.

This story sounds too similar to what happened to Bamboo Fiber a couple of years ago. Now is clear that most of Bamboo Fiber out there is actually a Viscose, when will this be clear also for Milk Fiber?

The Green Closet @ Touch! neoZone

Thanks to an initiative of the British Consulate-General Milan it is possible to admire a selection of eight sustainable designers and brands as part of Milan Fashion City, exactly with-in Touch! neoZone, a dedicated area organized in collaboration with Pitti Immagine.

Eight designers for probably the most interesting Ethical Fashion event ever in Milan. The brand selection done by Marina Iremonger, Trade advisor, Head of Fashion and Design Unit at the British Consulate – General Milan, brought to The Green Closet both apparel and accessories with different and very interesting look.

Eco-friendly are the rare Peace Silk, Modal™ and Bemberg™ chiffon fabrics in the Ivana Basilotta collection; the Ecology Undyed and the Supersoft Shetland used for Eribé knitwear, and the organic jersey of People Tree garments. You can be green also when choosing production techniques that have a low environmental impact as in the up cycling process adopted by Ciel and From Somewhere. Vegetable tanned leathers characterise the collection designed by Henrietta Ludgate. Hand skills like weaving, knitting and embroidery are prominent in People Tree designs, a fashion brand that actively supports Fair Trade. With the help and cooperation of famous designers like Bora Aksu and Orla Kiely, People Tree has become a glamorous and trendy label. Industrial waste is the material used for the necklace – defined as the Next pashmina – created by designer Jianhui with hundreds of tiny, ethically-sourced, recycled and lightweight wood chippings. To recycle and intricately weave the precious and the discarded is also the ethos behind the fashion jewellery made by Little Glass Clementine.

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A chance to see in Italy, beside the new collection, the work of Orsola De Castro – the (italian) design soul behind From Somewhere – done in collaboration with Speedo in up-cycling their LZR. People Tree, now in stores (abroad) with their summer 2010 collection including the last Emma Watson designed range, presented a capsule of the work done in collaboration with Bora Aksu and Orla Kiely. Ciel showed a new range of recycled polyester jackets while Henrietta Ludgate and Ivan Basilotta focused on beautiful structured and architectural design, keeping the attention of the viewer on the form and the flow of the garment. The accessories of Little Glass Clementine and Jianhui gave the change of imagining complete looks within The Green Closet. Worth to underline the scottish knitwear presented by Eribé, a contemporary look on traditional apparel and accessories.

The high expectations from such event were met and the presence of many press and buyers – most busy making orders – gives the vision on how also the Italian market and fashion system are actually ready to receive well done, design oriented, beautiful Ethical Fashion.

Milan Fashion Week: en-YOJ, a/w 11-12 new collection

Milan Fashion Week this year renamed Milan Fashion City managed to finally gather under one single “umbrella” all different events, fairs, catwalks and presentations. This busy and intense calendar offer few occasions to admire the new collections of Ethical Fashion brands.

Let’s start with YOJ by Laura Strambi: 

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Details, research and design are the key elements of this new collection. The graphics printed on silk dresses and blouses, also in a limited painted edition, are smooth and soft as the fabric that carries them. The neck line falling all the way to the front moves the artist work, giving to it always a new look. The use of abaca and sophisticated but traditional scottish wool gives to the entire range of clothes both a soft and rough touch that meets very gently.

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