Did you know that nearly half – 41 percent to be precise – of all European luxury goods are produced in Italy? It’s something of a badge of honor for the country. Therefore, it was a particularly big deal when 32 fashion companies signed on to pursue tangible sustainability goals during the G7 summit at the end of August, including top Italian houses like Gucci, Prada, and Versace.
On day three of Milan Fashion week (MFW), 16-year-old Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg was leading a global school and work strike to demand action on the environmental crisis facing humanity. Sustainability has become more than a talking point, a trend, or a PR gimmick – it’s an imperative part of the clothes-making process. With MFW highlighting the skills of Italian craftsmanship and the output of its myriad workshops and factories, sustainability was top of mind for many designers during the Spring/Summer 2020 presentations. How can we evoke change if not at the source?
Marni is one show where the message was evident, not only in the set, but directly in the collection. Guests were seated beneath a plastic jungle, the materials of which were repurposed from reclaimed waste. The clothes, meanwhile, were made from organic fabrics, “recuperated” leathers, and upcycled textiles.
This energetic collection proves that fashion can focus on sustainability, all while refusing to take itself too seriously.
Dosed in acid brights and naif scribble prints, the Marni Spring/Summer 2020 collection was an eye-popping tribute to nature, seen through the “looking glass” of psychedelia. Models emerged like strange birds and woodland nymphs cloaked in a vivid kaleidoscope of colors and decorated with mud-plastered hair in which flowers had taken root.
Spidery knit overlays were like palimpsests atop crushed silk dresses, while apron-like dresses presented unexpected glimpses of skin. Raw-hemmed petticoats peeped out from beneath many of the looks. Occasionally, the designs strayed into Junya Watanabe territory, but Marni’s Creative Director Francesco Risso happens to share the same artistic/eccentric outlook. This energetic collection proves that fashion can focus on sustainability and take responsibility for its contributions to climate change, all while refusing to take itself too seriously.