- Fuorisalone 2018, WASTE NO MORE at Ventura Centrale
American fashion designer Eileen Fisher, the founder of the women's fashion brand of the same name, has dedicated her career to challenging the fashion industry with an unusual, ethical approach. Mindful of the fashion world's huge impact on the environment, the designer set herself some ambitious environmental and social goals, which include materials and resources as well as aware corporate practices. This is the context for the birth of DesignWork, the latest initiative of the Eileen Fisher brand, where creatives turn old clothes and scraps into new textiles and felt them to create more clothes, wall hangings and accessories for interiors.
The DesignWork creations are being showcased for the first time on the international scene at the 2018 Fashion Fair in Milan. The exhibition, curated by Lidewij Edelkoort and Philip Fimmano is called WASTE NO MORE and is taking place in the galleries of Ventura Centrale. A really suggestive setting where visitors are confronted by an arch of used clothing at the entrance, made of metal gabions filled with three tonnes of discarded clothing while demonstrating the colourful aesthetics of recuperated materials.
This is a way of introducing people to the problem of textile waste, particularly considering the environmental impact of the fashion system, ranging from the manufacture and dyeing of the fabrics to actually making the garments. A vicious circle that Eileen Fisher aims to disrupt with DesignWork. She buys back used clothing from her customers. The perfect clothes are put back on the market as vintage items, while others are reinvented and felts by long-time collaborator and artist Sigi Ahl. She does this in partnership with a team at Eileen Fisher's sorting and recycling facility in Irvington, New York.
The results of this creative transformation process are displayed in the space at Via Ferrante Aporti 19. Large wall hangings that look like paintings: “I come from the world of art”, Sigi Ahl told us, “my references range from Paul Klee to Rothko and Pollock”. But you can also see plump cushions, coats and even soft toys, showing how artistic creations can be crafted from what some people call rubbish.
Edelkoort observes how DesignWork blurs the lines between design, fashion and activism, proving that it is possible to bring forth sustainable responses without relinquishing beauty. Eileen Fisher explains how the modus operandi of the fashion world can be improved with the application of renewable solutions: "What is new is how we're scaling our systems to create a truly sustainable business model that's circular by design".
An exhibition that makes visitors really think about the mountain of used and unsold clothes after each season, when roughly 85% becomes waste in a landfill - including many of the items donated to charity - with an approach that demonstrates the beauty of sustainability.
WASTE NO MORE
Eileen Fisher with Edelkoort Exhibitions
17 - 22 April 2018
Milan, Via Ferrante Aporti 19
Images: Ruy Teixeira