Fairplay

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Fashion & Trends, Style

Green Carpet Awards Held Fashion Accountable

By Sofia Celeste 28 September 2017

MILAN, ITALY – I wouldn’t say that the names Giorgio Armani, Miuccia Prada, Pierpaolo Piccioli or Alessandro Michele ring any bells when it comes to eco-sustainability or ethical fashion. But there they stood on the stage of Milan’s La Scala at the inaugural Green Carpet Fashion Awards, standing side by side, holding the CNMI Recognition of Sustainability award in silence.

As they stood there before the crimson velvet curtain, in front of Anna Wintour, Gisele Bündchen and Hollywood stars like Colin Firth, Andrew Garfield and Dakota Johnson… it was clear that they were being put on the spot, with the responsibility in their hands to really trailblaze the industry’s sustainable goals for a 360 degree fashion industry. The hope is that their silence and their presence at the new “Oscars of Fashion” means they are totally UP for the challenge.

By combining Hollywood and fashion, Eco Age’s Livia Firth and Camera Nazionale’s Carlo Capasa may have found the secret sauce to educating the world about what sustainable fashion is.

Sustainability means a lot of things: preventing waste, using environmentally-friendly raw materials and components, upgrading facilities with renewable energy sources and adopting an ethical approach like not sourcing blood diamonds and paying artisans and seamstresses from here to Bangladesh, a decent and livable wage.

So far, vanguard brands and big retail chains have failed to communicate their sustainable practises to the public but many of them are making small strides. Gucci actually already uses up-cycled yarns for some of its designs, H&M actually has a recycling program where you can bring your old clothes to the store and MaxMara has used NewLife, a polyester made of up cycled plastic bottles.

Since I started writing Fairplay, about 2 years ago, I’ve traveled to Seoul, the Silicon Valley, MIT… and this online magazine has interviewed some real crusaders: people like Neri Oxman, the head of MIT’s Media Lab and in her own right is a scientist, who created Mushtari, a wearable that converts sunlight into useful, biological matter for the wearer. Also in the MIT milieu is Chilean-born PhD Yuly Fuentes, the founder of DeScience, an incubator for fashion innovators and scientists. Here in Milan, we have Giusy Bettoni, the founder of the C.L.A.S.S. Hub, a library, press agency and networker, whose main role is putting brands in touch with sustainable textile makers (such as Filpucci and Gruppo Cinque who are providing fashion’s biggest brands like MaxMara and Gucci with recycled up-cycled, organic and chemical-free materials).

Other notable names we have crossed paths with are Suzanne Lee, who is the creative director of Modern Meadow Inc. an innovative New York-based team of scientists, engineers, designers and artisans who are developing sustainable materials with cultured animal products, as well the founders of Living Inc. a Denver-based biotechnology startup that is deriving pigment from algae — an innovation that is primarily used for paper and printing but has already been tested on materials like burlap and cotton.

The reality on and off the catwalk, during the ready to wear shows, was quite disappointing. This week alone, I interviewed about 20 designers - big and small - and I don’t want to name names, but you know what? There is only a micro amount of individuals who integrate sustainability into there fashions. Most designers who successfully titillate the millennial market with their techno, fluorescent designs have no clue what sustainability actually means. Among the superficial responses I received: Sustainability means not using fur… Not over ordering materials… one even said they make honey to re-propagate the bee population.

Milan’s pillars like Vogue Italia’s Vogue Talents team, WHITE Milano, Pitti Immagine have been crucial in cultivating young creative talent, but the cold, hard truth is many of those talents are not adopting sustainable practises from the start — unless they are given financial support or discounts.

Sustainable fabrics and components still cost more than the average material.

Another complaint is that organic and sustainable materials are not “beautiful” or “striking” enough. Since most materials are not tinted with chemical dyes, their colours are muted and reflect the colours of nature, since nature itself is the only source from which their pigments are derived. In addition, the mainstream consumer does not care to wear recycled fabrics, nor do they understand what sustainability is or what the consequences are.

Many designers and most consumers do not know that fashion is the second most harmful industry to the environment, behind oil.

And so the message is this: No matter how much of a creative genius you are… if your clothes do not biodegrade and the materials you use have polluted someone’s drinking water, you are just creating even more waste.

Young talents who will survive in an age of geopolitical strife and global warming, will be those who find a way to bridge science with fashion — in order to find real solutions to save our planet.

   

 



Sofia Celeste
FAIRPLAY Editor-in-Chief

When she is not hunting down the latest in tech and fashion, Sofia Celeste is scouting artisan talent for her online magazine bacoluxury.com. Born in the US and raised on the Pacific Island of Guam, she went on to write for Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal. Her work is now regularly published in top fashion publications NOWFASHION and WWD.

MILAN, ITALY – I wouldn’t say that the names Giorgio Armani, Miuccia Prada, Pierpaolo Piccioli or Alessandro Michele ring any bells when it comes to eco-sustainability or ethical fashion. But there they stood on the stage of Milan’s La Scala at the inaugural Green Carpet Fashion Awards, standing side by side, holding the CNMI Recognition of Sustainability award in silence.

As they stood there before the crimson velvet curtain, in front of Anna Wintour, Gisele Bündchen and Hollywood stars like Colin Firth, Andrew Garfield and Dakota Johnson… it was clear that they were being put on the spot, with the responsibility in their hands to really trailblaze the industry’s sustainable goals for a 360 degree fashion industry. The hope is that their silence and their presence at the new “Oscars of Fashion” means they are totally UP for the challenge.

By combining Hollywood and fashion, Eco Age’s Livia Firth and Camera Nazionale’s Carlo Capasa may have found the secret sauce to educating the world about what sustainable fashion is.

Sustainability means a lot of things: preventing waste, using environmentally-friendly raw materials and components, upgrading facilities with renewable energy sources and adopting an ethical approach like not sourcing blood diamonds and paying artisans and seamstresses from here to Bangladesh, a decent and livable wage.

So far, vanguard brands and big retail chains have failed to communicate their sustainable practises to the public but many of them are making small strides. Gucci actually already uses up-cycled yarns for some of its designs, H&M actually has a recycling program where you can bring your old clothes to the store and MaxMara has used NewLife, a polyester made of up cycled plastic bottles.

Since I started writing Fairplay, about 2 years ago, I’ve traveled to Seoul, the Silicon Valley, MIT… and this online magazine has interviewed some real crusaders: people like Neri Oxman, the head of MIT’s Media Lab and in her own right is a scientist, who created Mushtari, a wearable that converts sunlight into useful, biological matter for the wearer. Also in the MIT milieu is Chilean-born PhD Yuly Fuentes, the founder of DeScience, an incubator for fashion innovators and scientists. Here in Milan, we have Giusy Bettoni, the founder of the C.L.A.S.S. Hub, a library, press agency and networker, whose main role is putting brands in touch with sustainable textile makers (such as Filpucci and Gruppo Cinque who are providing fashion’s biggest brands like MaxMara and Gucci with recycled up-cycled, organic and chemical-free materials).

Other notable names we have crossed paths with are Suzanne Lee, who is the creative director of Modern Meadow Inc. an innovative New York-based team of scientists, engineers, designers and artisans who are developing sustainable materials with cultured animal products, as well the founders of Living Inc. a Denver-based biotechnology startup that is deriving pigment from algae — an innovation that is primarily used for paper and printing but has already been tested on materials like burlap and cotton.

The reality on and off the catwalk, during the ready to wear shows, was quite disappointing. This week alone, I interviewed about 20 designers - big and small - and I don’t want to name names, but you know what? There is only a micro amount of individuals who integrate sustainability into there fashions. Most designers who successfully titillate the millennial market with their techno, fluorescent designs have no clue what sustainability actually means. Among the superficial responses I received: Sustainability means not using fur… Not over ordering materials… one even said they make honey to re-propagate the bee population.

Milan’s pillars like Vogue Italia’s Vogue Talents team, WHITE Milano, Pitti Immagine have been crucial in cultivating young creative talent, but the cold, hard truth is many of those talents are not adopting sustainable practises from the start — unless they are given financial support or discounts.

Sustainable fabrics and components still cost more than the average material.

Another complaint is that organic and sustainable materials are not “beautiful” or “striking” enough. Since most materials are not tinted with chemical dyes, their colours are muted and reflect the colours of nature, since nature itself is the only source from which their pigments are derived. In addition, the mainstream consumer does not care to wear recycled fabrics, nor do they understand what sustainability is or what the consequences are.

Many designers and most consumers do not know that fashion is the second most harmful industry to the environment, behind oil.

And so the message is this: No matter how much of a creative genius you are… if your clothes do not biodegrade and the materials you use have polluted someone’s drinking water, you are just creating even more waste.

Young talents who will survive in an age of geopolitical strife and global warming, will be those who find a way to bridge science with fashion — in order to find real solutions to save our planet.

   

 



Sofia Celeste
FAIRPLAY Editor-in-Chief

When she is not hunting down the latest in tech and fashion, Sofia Celeste is scouting artisan talent for her online magazine bacoluxury.com. Born in the US and raised on the Pacific Island of Guam, she went on to write for Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal. Her work is now regularly published in top fashion publications NOWFASHION and WWD.

 

Photo: WWD

 

Photo: WWD

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