Brands have been rewriting the narrative of sustainability ever since consumers decided they were willing to spend on ethical fashion to save the planet. In occasion of the Out of Fashion and C.L.A.S.S. (Creativity Lifestyle and Sustainable Energy) educational collaboration coupled with the Sustainable Thinking exhibition at the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum, Director of Polimoda Danilo Venturi is helping make sense of the conscious design movement, navigating the complex conversation surrounding the latest buzzword in fashion branding with a matter-of-fact attitude.
Conscious design is on everyone’s mind, yet the word sustainability is being thrown around recklessly and the industry’s running with scissors. “More than misconception, there is speculation and I am disturbed by the over communication we hear today regarding sustainability. If you want to pursue sustainability, just do it, don’t use it for marketing. Sustainability has become unsustainable,” explains Venturi.
Since the beginning, the conscious design discourse has been present at Polimoda and the institute is mindful of the climate emergency. “Polimoda teaches the techniques of sustainable fashion, but the mindset is already there,” notes Venturi. Sustainable fashion has always been part of the curricula; conscious design comes second nature to students. It goes without saying that environmentally transformative workshops contribute to the future of our planet; it is our responsibility as a fashion institution to educate designers.
Due to the critical importance of long term environmental responsibility, Polimoda decided to collaborate with Out of Fashion, inviting students into the conscious design conversation by offering a training program – conceived and curated by Connecting Cultures – composed of six two-day workshops.
Some of the topics covered were the circular economy, material and environmental sustainability, corporate responsibility, worker rights, technological innovation, sustainable design as well as communication and consumer relationships. By bringing in outside experts, Polimoda is instilling sustainable mindsets in future fashion professionals.
Polimoda teaches the techniques of sustainable fashion, but the mindset is already there
For many students, these workshops are the guiding force into the world of conscious design. In addition to Out of Fashion, Polimoda has partnered with C.L.A.S.S. (Creativity Lifestyle and Sustainable Energy) to offer an inspirational eight-step program based on Smart Innovation and the new role of the designer. “Buying in excess is the luxury we all cannot afford any longer,” states Venturi.
The concluding workshop focused on the brand case history of Ferragamo. Carolina Riccieri, General Merchandising Coordinator of Salvatore Ferragamo, discussed the creativity behind sustainable thinking and presented the new Salvatore Ferragamo sustainable capsule collection “42 Degrees.”
“It’s not a matter of sustainability, it’s a matter of design,” stressed Riccieri. The success of collections always comes back to the customer liking what they see. Brands are investing in sustainability and it shows. During the final workshop, students also had the opportunity to listen to Stefania Ricci, Director of the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum. An informative visit of the Sustainable Thinking exhibition at the museum followed the lecture, offering insight into founder Salvatore Ferragamo’s innovative works with recent explorations in the realm of sustainable design.
With all of this in mind, Polimoda is transparent about its vision. Driven by long term values, Danilo Venturi concludes that “to the industry, I say, searching for the right materials is important, but what really destroys the planet is overconsumption. A product must be designed to last.”