For my first time at Pitti Uomo, I took to the baking hot venue of Fortezza da Basso to explore how sustainability fits into the world of menswear and the future of the industry itself. Although I didn’t come away feeling truly affirmed that designers are making sustainability and ethics their top priority, I did come away with a sense of hope for five reasons.
1. Pitti Uomo is honest
Speaking to some of the brands and designers opened my eyes to how honest the industry is becoming. A key point that I reiterate on my blog is the idea of being open and honest about your progress in terms of your wardrobe, and the same principle was, fortunately, being applied at Pitti.
John Laster, of Swedish raincoat brand Stutterheim, admitted that although the brand is not entirely sustainable due to the materials used, they are conscious of the effects of fast-fashion. “I think the biggest strain on the environment today is the buying and throwing away of things. It doesn’t matter if it’s made organic or not; use it five times and throw it away, use it for one season and it’s not sustainable.”
2. Pitti Uomo understands fabrics
It may seem obvious that a well-respected fashion event based in one of the fashion capitals of Italy would “understand fabrics”, but knowing that the brands and designers themselves are promoting this understanding is almost as important as the fabrics and materials that are actually being used. Teaching consumers and customers the value of what your clothes are made of is an important part of sustainability.
President’s is a Made in Italy menswear brand that is doing just that. They proudly use organic cotton and vegetable tanned leathers in their collections, a step in the right direction.
3. Pitti Uomo is Made In Italy—or is it really?
There is a risk that when purchasing products labelled “Made in Italy”, the garment won’t actually have been made in Italy, especially on the cheaper end of the scale. This brings me back to another concept I like to challenge my readers to participate in: asking. Getting to know a brand before buying and truly understanding and appreciating where they come from will reassure you on whether that label is true or false.
Once again at the President’s booth, I asked whether understanding where men’s clothes come from is just as important as it is within womenswear nowadays. “Yes. For us, not only is it a message and not just a simple right, it is also the mood of our collections. Unfortunately Made in Italy is almost like a business card for foreign countries. We have no problem to sell at a high price; it is a consequence of buying handmade in Italy.”
4. Pitti Uomo cares
A British discovery at Pitti this week was the outerwear brand Lamler, who are not only looking to expand their collection to be produced using more sustainable and eco-friendly materials, but they also have a service that continues to care for your raincoat after purchase.
This is a small gesture but being sustainable with your wardrobe involves keeping your clothes up to scratch for years to come. As Fashion Revolution says with their campaign – loved clothes last.
5. Pitti Uomo recycles
I had the opportunity to attend the presentation of the Save The Duck x Christopher Raeburn SS18 collection, as well as learn more about the Save The Duck brand as a whole. Not only do Save The Duck use sustainable and animal-free materials (including their own, Plumtech), their latest summer collection is made from entirely recycled materials, from the lining to the zipper.
If I had to pick one brand to follow for the future, it would most definitely be Save The Duck.