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.

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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.

Tire Tubes… the italian way

Most of our cars use tubeless tires nevertheless are millions the inner tubes dumped in landfills or burnt often just on the road side.

Designers all around the world have explored the potential of this material, actually a very polluting and environmentally dangerous one. Starting from a dark and uneven surface like tire tubes to create fashion accessories has not be easy. The results are though extremely interesting and worth a look.

Heidi Ritsch

Well known for her bags from cars and trucks inner tubes, now she is presenting a new line of belts made out of recycled bicycle tires and tubes. She is one of the pioneers of Italian Ethical Fashion, always ahead in design and sustainability. Her products are made mainly in collaboration with Hands a social cooperative in Bolzano helping people with alcohol and drugs problems.

Hell’s Kitchen

Probably the most elegant and sophisticated recycled material collection of bags and accessories in the Italian scene. To find Hell’s Kitchen products in concept stores, like Merci in Paris, is a pleasure and is more then probable:

Materials such as heavy duty inner tubes, car seat-belts, t-shirts, shirts etc are strictly recycled and carefully elaborated and are brought back to life in a different form as bags and unique and charming accessories. Take a seat at my kitchen table and savour the dishes I’ve prepared, but be careful… that you don’t grow a tail as well!!
Hell’s Kitchen 100% Chic Recycle!

Marco Lai says

Mnmur

Two very young designers, a city like Turin and lot of hard work are the ingredients of Mnmur. Knitting and sewing bicycle inner tubes with recycled canvas and other car parts, they present an interesting and always growing collections of bags and accessories.

Lorena Giuffrida

Her ideas and creativity shows how this recycled material can be versatile. Fashion jewellery, mainly necklaces are hand made by Lorena Giuffrida. A new life for tubes with a glam touch. 

Banuq, Sass Brown and Italy

What do a Berlin label and a british Designer/Academic have to do with each other?

The simple connection is Italy and of course Ethical Fashion.

Banuq is a Berlin based, sustainable menswear brand, founded in 2007 by two Italians Davide Grazioli and Mauro Pavesi.banuq

Sass Brown, autor of Eco Fashion – probably the most interesting book on the subject of the last years, is the Resident Director for the Fashion Institute of Technology’s study abroad program in Florence.

To better understand both this is what Sass Brown writes about Banuq in her blog.

Banuq on Ecofashiontalk

Banuq is a sustainable menswear fashion label founded in Berlin in 2007 by two Italians, Davide Grazioli and Mauro Pavesi. The collection is based on the concept of classic and timeless garments, inspired by contemporary cultural explorers, a trait the partners both embody… (continue on ecofashiontalk)

Fair Trade, Weddings and Style

It was 1995 when a small group of people started a cultural association named “Cose dell’altro Mondo“. It was one of the first Fair Trade experiences in Milan. Later, after having opened in 2001 a new space all dedicated to weddings, in 2004 they launched the first Fair Trade clothes collection in Italy branded as “L’Orlo del Mondo“, that in 2008 become an exclusive wedding gowns collection.  

Behind this new direction there are different people and professionals. The clothes are all made in India by the artisans of Craft Resource Center – CRC, a Fair Trade Organization member of WFTO (the World Fair Trade Organization) since 2004. Every part of the dressed are hand made, from the fabric – mainly handwoven silks – to the embroidery then stitched and sewed together by master tailors in the outskirts of Kolkata. All designs and patterns are realized by the Cose dell’altro Mondo staff with the consultancy of Andrea Orazi. L’Orlo del Mondo wedding dresses are simple and charming with light embroidery in pastel colours. The fabrics are mainly off-white or cream doupion and khadi silks with some inserts of Aimsha silk – realized without killing the bug.L'Orlo del Mondo

Obviously in a wedding the dress is probably one of the most important parts, but of course there is much much more. Gifts for each invitee (“bomboniere” in Italian); traditional almond or chocolate candies, invitation cards, wedding gifts and accessories for maids of honor and groom’s moms.

All together a great and unique Fair Trade experience.

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