Sustainable designer Gilberto Calzolari (@GilbertoCalzolari_official) showcased his latest eco-conscious collection for the first time at Milan Fashion Week. We caught up with him afterwards…
You’ve achieved a lot in the year since winning the Franca Sozzani Green Carpet Challenge Award for Best Emerging Designer. How was Milan Fashion Week?
“It was thanks to the support of the National Chamber of Italian Fashion and its president Carlo Capasa that I was able, for the first time, to be in the official calendar of Milan Fashion Week with an event/performance. My collection, ‘Unnatural’, represents a development of my artistic path and a radical step forward, as the topics of environmental sustainability and respect for our planet are laid out, not only in the choice of the materials, but also from a thematic and conceptual point of view.”
Can you explain the inspiration behind your collection, and choose your favourite piece?
“Nature that has been altered, filtered and modified by man is at the core of the collection. The theme comes to life via precious brocade fabrics with floral motifs, shimmering with green and copper lamé reflections, as if they have been contaminated by acid radiation. There’s also embroidery shaped as beautiful blossoming flowers, made from recycled plastic bottles, which is probably my favourite piece from the collection and a symbol of nature trapped by plastic. Meanwhile the light blue top crafted in transparent PVC is a tribute to the provocative works of Damien Hirst, where nature is literally immersed in formaldehyde.
“As for the fabric, it’s inextricably linked to eco-sustainability: from GOTS-certified silk and eco-sustainable denim to EVO nylon and SEAQUAL polyester – made from upcycled plastic from the sea. The same is true for accessories and embroidery, including the padding, which is made from fibres recycled from PET bottles; the die-cast maxi zippers; and embroidery made from recycled food packaging nets.”
It’s great to see more and more brands creating eco-focused collections. Which ones have caught your eye?
“I think Stella McCartney remains one of the most pioneering brands and the greatest example of one truly devoted to eco-sustainability, but it’s nice to see that the fashion world is embracing the environmental issue more. To me eco-sustainability is not only the future of fashion but also a necessary and much-welcomed reaction to the pollution created by mass production.”
“My collection represents a development of my artistic path and a radical step forward”