Italian design competition rewards fashion sustainability

Green Carpet Fashion Award judging panel

Green Carpet Fashion Award judging panel

Italy’s fashion body, the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana (CNMI), in partnership with Eco-Age and the Italian government, is investigating the future of sustainable fashion and the notion of “Made in Italy” with a design competition for up-and-coming designers.

The contest, which is also being supported by the Bicester Village Shopping Collection by Value Retail, will culminate at the Green Carpet Fashion Awards, Italia, happening at the end of Milan Fashion Week on September 23.

Judges include British Vogue’s editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, Derek Blasberg (who has recently been appointed as the head of YouTube’s new fashion & beauty content partnerships division), Eco-Age founder and creative director Livia Firth, and singer Ellie Goulding. Between them they have handpicked five finalists who will be showing their creations at the award ceremony in September.

“The design talent and innovation this year has blown me away,” said Firth. “The designers we’ve seen are not only highlighting traditional Italian craftsmanship but also creating their own materials when they can’t find sustainable solutions on the market. Through their creativity, drive and passion they are setting a clear challenge to the wider industry.”

Finalists include Teatum Jones, who created a dress made from recycled polyester and other materials such as laser cut sequins made from recycled plastic water bottles; Gilberto Cazolari, whose look was created from jute coffee bags originated from Brazil and bought at a navigli (flea) market in Italy; Behno, who created a gown made of GOTS certified organic silk and ECONYL® regenerated nylon (a yarn made of discarded fishing nets and carpets); Davide Grillo, who created a cape covered in silk ‘feathers’ and a gown with a hand-painted design using onion skin, logwood and walnut shell; and Wrad, who created a ‘mint fabric’ made from 50% mint bamboo viscose and 50% GOTS certified organic cotton.

“This year’s entrants are making deep connections that run into the Italian supply chain but also offer commentary and in a way solutions to the global plastic pandemic or climate change,” said Carlo Capasa, president of the CNMI. “Young designers invested in sustainability are pushing the limits of fashion further every year. It is stunning to see.”

All five finalists are now embarking on a mentorship program with the Bicester Village Shopping Collection by Value Retail, which will include interactions with mentors spanning across Europe and China, whose expertise range from fashion, retail, supply chain management, consumer insight, brand building and marketing, among other topics. The final designs will also feature in The Creative Spot, a platform showcasing new talents at Fidenza Village outside Milan.

At the award ceremony in September, one designer will receive the Franca Sozzani GCC Emerging Designer Award and be given the opportunity to present at Milan Fashion Week in February 2019 with the support of the CNMI.