Here’s How This Season Milan Fashion Week Embraced Sustainable Fashion.

Arthur Arbesser fashion show during Milan Fashion Week. (photo: courtesy Milano Finanza)

Written by Melo Albert

Have you ever heard the words “Sustainable Fashion”? To put it into simple terms, the sustainable fashion philosophy is about meeting the needs of the present without compromising the future generations ability to meet their needs. This means that to start the chain reaction, a designer’s aim is to create garments that are both eco-friendly and timeless for longevity and utility. By doing this designers will boost value of local production through sourcing environmentally safe textiles and give importance to ethically acceptable working conditions in the industry.

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Alpaca farm (photo: courtesy)

Sustainable fashion is the exact opposite of fast fashion. Fast fashion results in a tonnage of waste materials due to high demand for trends that come and go. Fast fashion requires bigger production, excessive labor to workers, and in addition, contributes to more carbon footprint and the eventual negative impact to the environment because of harmful textile manufacturing.

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Models with gas masks – part of a Greenpeace campaign to remove toxic chemicals from the supply chains in Indonesia (photo: The Independent)

In line with this timely issue, Milan Fashion Week celebrated the concept of sustainable fashion highlighting brands employing sustainable principles when launching their new collections.

To kick things off, Vogue Italia’s Sara Maino in collaboration with YOOX Net-A-Porter Chairman and CEO Federico Marchetti launched The Next Green Talents – an exposition highlighting budding designers who have put sustainability at the center of their creative process. The Next Green Talents initiative aspires to raise awareness around the theme of sustainability and promote an ethical approach towards fashion consumption.

Emerging talents are not exceptional only for their creativity and their courage: they represent, in fact, both the spirit of our time, and the great questions that will define our future. Today the need to provide innovative and sustainable consumption patterns is one of the most significant challenges facing our society. The seven talents we have selected this year with Sara Sozzani Maino and the Vogue Italia team put sustainability at the center of their creativity, continuing Yoox’s long-term commitment to promoting a greener industry, long before “green” was in fashion”

Federico Marchetti, Chairman and CEO of Yoox Net-A-Porter Group.

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Peruvian designer Zhdeh Matin at The Next Green Talents event hosted by Yoox and Vogue Italia. (photo: Nichelle Cole)

From The Next Green Talents project seven designers were selected for their commitment to pioneering ethical approaches in design and environmental-conscious. They were invited to Milan Fashion Week and showcased their winning look designed for the Yoox x Vogue Italia competition and presented their latest collection.

The winning designers were represented from countries all over the world, which included: Bethany Williams (UK), Cora Bellotto (Italy) and Renata Buzzo (Brazil), the designer collective of Bite Studios including Elliot Atkinson, Suzanne Elvi, Veronika Kant, and William Lundgren (UK), Ksenia and Anton Schnaider (Ukraine), Gabriela Luna and Corina del Pinal (Guatemala), and Mozhdeh Matin (Peru).

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Winning designers of The Next Green Talents initiative (2019) hosted by Yoox & Vogue Italia. (photo: courtesy image)

Across Milan Fashion Week presentations and runways that adhered to sustainable concepts were also abundant. Officina del Poggio, for example, with its iconic oval-shaped bags explored the usage of sustainable materials in their collection. Synthetic eco-leather and organic velvet as finishing materials proved that eco-friendly substitutes are as durable and aesthetically pleasing.

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Officina del Poggio Fall/ Winter 2019-20 collection.

For more innovative techniques to further enhance the luxury feel of their bags, Officina del Poggio pursued bio-products that are typically discarded as waste. For example, the brand used naturally dyed salmon skin and heat-meshed Ostrich leg skin to add depth and exoticism to the bags.

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Close up of an Officina del Poggio clutch bag. (photo: courtesy)

Japanese designer Mitsuru Nishizaki, who is celebrating his 10th year as creative director of Ujoh, tapped Saldarini Cashmere Flakes as a sustainable material to use in the traditional puffer jacket. The use of cashmere flakes eliminates the need for goose feather as stuffing and assures the same visual impact and softness with a high power of thermal insulation.

The Saldirini cashmere flakes were purchased in Mongolia. This is a notable new relationship because it not only provides sustainable support to shepherds living in the area, it is an accommodating discovery that allows a suitable mix of innovation and tradition.

This season it is marked that Milan, being one of the capital fashions of the world, is reminding us that we as consumers have social and environmental responsibilities. Sustainable fashion starts with the design AND with us, the fashion wearers. A sustainable approach of making and buying clothes is the key to protecting the planet as well as the lives of those involved in the creation of garments.

As I end this article, let me leave you with something to ponder on: Are you willing to trade your fast fashion wardrobe for sustainable fashion? Are you willing to buy less and buy better? And, are you willing to choose well to live well? Let us know what you think and leave comments below.

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