The importance of sustainability has brought a momentous change in the world of fashion. We are going to explore this topic with Carlo Capasa, President of the National Chamber for Italian Fashion.
Today, what is the main role of the Chamber for Fashion?
Since its creation, CNMI represents the highest cultural values of Italian fashion, and its mission is to protect, coordinate and improve its image, both in Italy and abroad. Today, the Chamber is pursuing a strategy based on four pillars: sustainability, training and new brands, digitalisation and storytelling.
Now that fast fashion has become so popular, what does eco-sustainability mean? Consuming less?
Yes, consuming less, but above all consuming responsibly. It is our task to help change the consumers’ mindset, inviting them not only to buy less but also to ask where the items they buy come from. What is their story? Has anyone suffered to create them? Has the planet been respected during the production process? Today, all this is easy to find out and we can no longer pretend we don’t know. We, as Italians, have a great responsibility in this regard. In Italy, we produce 41% of the world’s high quality clothing; the second country after us is Germany, with 11%. All the big brands come to us to produce their clothing, and the Italian supply chain is intrinsically sustainable. That means that we have a great competitive advantage, which must be valued and communicated better.
The textile industry is the second most polluting one, after the oil industry. How can the Chamber for Fashion influence companies? How important is the topic of sustainability for the latest generations of fashion designers and consumers?
The National Chamber for Italian Fashion has put the theme of sustainability at the very heart of its strategy since 2012. We have created a working group that includes the associated companies (Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Ermenegildo Zegna, Fendi, Gianni Versace, Giorgio Armani, Loro Piana, Max Mara, Moncler, OTB, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, Tod’s, Valentino), and it has produced several documents for internal use. Not only do these companies apply these guidelines internally, but they have also put their expertise together with great generosity, helping to develop a sustainability strategy together. Millennials, especially, consider sustainability as the most important factor when it comes to purchasing, meaning that there is great attention to this value and a new awareness. This also applies to new designers, who already start out as “sustainable”.
The CNMI, together with Livia Firth, has created the Green Carpet Fashion Awards, now in their third edition. What are the goals of this annual event, which has become a very important appointment for Italian and international fashion?
When Livia and I talked about creating this event for the first time, four years ago, the world was different. When it comes to fashion, since this sector always anticipates trends, everything happens very quickly. At that time, we needed to communicate the glamour of sustainability. CNMI had already produced several technical documents; Livia had been working on the subject for years, carrying out an important message. We wanted to show that sustainable fashion did not mean wearing a sackcloth and a pair of sandals. We created an important event with the participation of stylists and celebrities from all over the world. Now, the challenge is to reinforce the idea that non-sustainable fashion can no longer exist. This is the only way: we cannot go back. After the Green Carpet, many companies contacted us, not only because they wanted to participate, but mostly because they wanted to know how to become sustainable, what steps to take. This is the biggest achievement of the Green Carpet Fashion Awards.