After two years, conventional proclamations about the pandemic providing a possibility to retool one’s business principles and discover newfound vigour appear to be accurate.
Beginning in February 2020, a slew of new names have arisen, seizing the opportunity presented by the direct-to-consumer business model, connecting their brands with sustainable and socially charged ideals, and developing strategies for lifestyle propositions that go beyond fashion goods.
In a country where the female-led business has stagnated for cultural and political reasons, the fashion sector in Italy has produced a few encouraging examples during the last two years, with a handful of women-helmed brands gaining traction.
WWD interviewed the women within these fashion endeavours.
Tu Lizé cofounders Beatrice Selini and Camilla Lorenzi
Tu Lizé, like many nascent businesses, began as a hobby for Camilla Lorenzi and Beatrice Selini, who, while coming from a family that operates an accessories manufacturing firm, never saw fashion as a career option.
A random revelation with a thrift store vendor selling military attire inspired the team to go all-in on upcycling, adding colourful crocheted sleeves and quickly gaining accolades from friends and acquaintances. This encouraged them to launch the business in 2021 and launch their debut collection in spring 2022, receiving orders from about 30 premium shops in Italy.
“We’ve always been interested in vintage pieces, and when we came across the military coats, we decided to change them by infusing femininity and romance into them via crochet,” Lorenzi remarked.
She agreed that the employment of military clothing in the present environment, given the crisis in Ukraine, has taken on a different connotation, but she emphasised that the vintage quality of the clothes, rather than the precise design they bore, is what counts most to them.
Vernisse cofounders Francesca Filipo and Eugenia Penta
Buttons are sourced from a Milan-based supplier that has been in business since the 1970s, and packaging and gift bags are made from scraps of organza and other fabrics, which are frequently sourced from leading textile firm Ratti.
Vernisse launched d-to-c, releasing different drops throughout the season and manufacturing goods on a made-to-order basis, which has allowed the duo to ensure consistency with their eco-friendly bent while also growing their business sustainably.
In addition to its e-commerce site, the business has previously done trunk exhibits in major international locations such as Paris. “It was vital for us that customers experienced the brand personally, therefore setting up marketing outside of the internet channel was the appropriate initial step,” Filipo explained.
Pop-ups are often regarded as excellent business enablers. Vernisse participated in the “The Italian in Paris” pop-up shop at the Hôtel Particulier Le Molière last December and created a festive-themed capsule collection for fashionable retail destination Modes using devorè velvet, faux fur, and ’80s Lurex textiles. Similar activations will be released in the future, according to the pair.
Bragoon cofounders Simona Orsini, Luisa Fachini and Marella Pessina
More collaborations with unexpected partners are in the works, according to Orsini. “We like organising various initiatives and venturing outside of our main [fashion] industry.” “Bragoon is more than simply things; it is a design and sustainability initiative that can be readily adapted to many areas,” she noted.
As part of their dedication to sustainability, the three co-founders are aiming to reduce the supply chain, which comprises multiple players dispersed across Italy, as well as identify sustainable and environment coating substitutes.
“We believe that sustainability should be approached cohesively, and we are dedicated to supporting ethical labour initiatives and a responsible pipeline.” “We want to collaborate with companies that share our values,” Orsini explained.
Despite starting in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic’s second wave in 2020, Bragoon has succeeded in attracting consumers to its e-store and secured distribution arrangements with local merchants such as Wait and See, Eral 55, Tenhoa, and Bici&Radici, a bicycle and flower shop in northern Milan.
Skin of Nature founder Elena Beraldo
She travelled to Asia in 2017 because she was interested in acquiring eco-friendly man-made fibres. There, she learnt about the supply chain and the challenges of generating recycled fabrics.
“Since the brand is a blend of my passions for fashion, nature, and sporting activities, there was no way I could make a collection without it being sustainable,” Beraldo added. “In 2017, sustainability was not the polarizing issue it is now, and it was difficult for me to locate classes to learn more about it, let alone organisations who were already where I anticipated them to be in terms of green standards.”
In 2020, she launched the brand with a small Hong Kong-based design team, focusing on sportswear and yoga. Aquatilis, the first series of yoga sets made from regenerated polyester, was created in collaboration with marine researcher and underwater photographer Alexander Semenov. Its minimalist designs and the usage of Semenov’s photos as prints, generated using waterless procedures, suited the objective of exposing the brand to clients, according to Beraldo.
“My aim is to develop the brand into a lifestyle offering that isn’t necessarily associated with sportswear or the yoga lifestyle,” Beraldo explained. For example, the second collection to be released this year is devoted to windbreakers and rainproof outerwear, with four styles made from Fulgar’s Amni Soul Eco biodegradable nylon.
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