The Redemption of Fashion | EDGE Talks to Silvia Giovanardi

The future of fashion is simple: it has to be the redemption of itself, it has to demonstrate that it took awareness about the bad situation it caused with superficiality, carelessness and lack of synergy (the key of everything), and it has to be the first educator of a new consumer that won’t “consume” fashion anymore: he/her will become a new “investor” in fashion, the modus vivendi that has to flourish again in the humus of this revolution! – Silvia Giovanardi

This quote corroborates the EDGE philosophy and belief about the state of the fashion industry.  Silvia Giovanardi, with her namesake Milan, Italy fashion house, has uprooted the fashion system.  In her words, ” through my work, I intend to propose an actual lifestyle, a modus vivendi founded in the rediscovery of profound values, such as the respect for mother nature, its rhythm, its beauty and its wonderful gifts”.  This interview reflects on her profound passion for the beauty of fashion through the synergy of all these elements.  Quite simply, this is what is missing in today’s fashion.

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Silvia, you pursue the fashion business with a purpose of sustaining the earth through beauty.  Where did your vision come from and why do you feel the need to pursue fashion in this way?   

The origin of my vision is my love for Plato. When I start thinking about sustainability in fashion, I analyzed in deep that word: “something that is able to sustain”. What’s able to sustain? Fundament, of course. What we need to sustain and to take care of? The world. Plato said that Beauty is the phenomenon which sustain the world by generating it, because in his vision Beauty is the fundament of the entire world of ideas, the real world in his doctrine. So Beauty is, at the same time, mother and cure of the world. I want to take care of people through this modus vivendi (the way by which I intend fashion) based on Beauty, that generates the cure for what’s wrong in this industry. In this sense Beauty is Purity and Action, not vanitas.

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How does fashion connect to culture and how does that impact your design process?    

Fashion is a language. It is an ensemble of symbols that stand for something bigger, more ancient than them. Fashion is the tool of the designer who wants to communicate the universe of cultures and literatures that built up his/her own personality, and make all these intimate features wearable and breathable, in order to connect them with the present and the future of who will wear that kind of awareness. This is the great receipt of avant-garde. I am made of my culture, my curiositas, my mom’s books, etc, and every single aspect of my path of life is translated, for example, in my way to do specific researches, to use particular colors, to create wired contaminations, and to keep everything together under the same vision.

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With your value based approach in the creative process and given your passion for appreciating the beauty in the environment, how do you lessen the negative environmental impact with your design practice?  

I use a lot of tools: first of all I only create patterns that produce almost zero waste.
The second way to minimize negative impacts and communicate new and positive value is [to use] natural dye. I use different colors that come from roots, leaves, flowers, etc., and I leave them in their original aspect by putting the plant as it is on the fabric. Then it is cooked with just vapor. In this way the fabric maintains all the therapeutic features of the plant. This means a strong and powerful cure for our body.

Every symbol I use evoke nature, peace, truthfulness and love for the health of everyone.

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What effective means or venues of exposure do you communicate your message, your collections to your audience? 

This is a transversal and transcendent message, and the right place for it is in the mind and in the hearth of people; this is why I try to choose places in which people can recognize and feel comfortable, but at the same time they have to be outstanding, like nature and beauty is.

For example, I’ve done my artistic-site specific-performance in Paris, in a gorgeous place in front of the Tuileries; in New York at Hayward House in the upper east side, an incredibly elegant venue; and on the sand in front of the sea, in Rimini, Italy, the place which gave birth to me. I’ve chosen the sea because it gives birth everyday to life.

In addition, the performance was focused on food: a famous Italian chef, Antonio Palmisani, created some special food made of the same ingredients of fibers and natural dyeing plants I used for my collection, in order to better explain people how I take care of them through this kind of new art. The food was into a wall made of hundreds bento-boxes on which I painted with people, and then models who were wearing the collection gave those special bento-boxes to everyone, and invited them to taste the same recipes of the clothes. This was magical.

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Many in the industry talk about how the fashion system is broken.  The industry is in an artistic rut.  Silvia, as you put it, “fashion industry’s deplorable effects are devastating”.   What do you think the future of fashion should be as an industry professional and as a consumer?   

The future of fashion is simple: it has to be the redemption of itself, it has to demonstrate that it took awareness about the bad situation it caused with superficiality, carelessness and lack of synergy (the key of everything), and it has to be the first educator of a new consumer that won’t “consume” fashion anymore: he/her will become a new “investor” in fashion, the modus vivendi that has to flourish again in the humus of this revolution!

Well said!

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Thank you, Silvia Giovanardi, for your insight on how you uniquely approach the creation of fashion.  EDGE congratulates you and wishes you continued success.

All Images:  Courtesy of Silvia Giovanardi

Read more interviews on emerging designers and brands at EDGE Radar.

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