“New Sustainable Fashion”, sustainability becomes business
The students enrolled in the course dedicated to sustainable fashion at Bocconi University have visited Cittadellarte. Francesca Romana Rinaldi: “The day of dialogue and discovery at Fondazione Pistoletto has generated new ideas and stimulated the participants.”

Creating innovative business models through sustainability: this is the main mission of “New Sustainable Fashion”, a course at Bocconi University promoted by Vogue Talents with a networking event supported by Patagonia. The workshop, held from 7th to 27th July, aims at training students, young managers, professionals and graduate entrepreneurs to face the complex system of responsibility within the fashion industry, providing them with concrete instruments and sharing inspirational entrepreneurial practices. The eight participants, all women, are five Italian and three from abroad (Hong Kong, Belgium and Lebanon).

Why sustainability? As explained on the website of the course, this is the factor rewriting the rules of the game of fashion industry. The long and complex process of integrating ethics and aesthetics in the chain of values has started. Working in responsible innovation is therefore not only desirable, but also necessary. Companies need to create a model of sustainable and contemporary business to answer the needs of millennials and of future generations.

But back to the course, which was launched on 7th July at Milano Fashion Institute. On this occasion, Olga Pirazzi, managing Cittadellarte‘s Fashion Office, presented Cittadellarte Fashion B.E.S.T.’s work on sustainability and its collaboration with the UN; while Maria Teresa Pisani, acting chief of UNECE – United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, illustrated the link with Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals. The 27th July will be the last day of the initiative, which will be held at Patagonia’s spaces in Milan, where Pirazzi, Pisani and Paolo Naldini, director of Cittadellarte, will take part in the closing ceremony and hand out the certificates. Yesterday, 24th July, was an important day for the participants in the course: the group, together with the course director Francesca Romana Rinaldi, visited Cittadellarte in the morning, and the sites of Reda and Zegna in the aftenoon.

(Francesca Romana Rinaldi)

Francesca Romana Rinaldi explained the mission of the initiative: “The participants, even though from different backgrounds, have had the common objective of creating sustainable solutions for the fashion sector. During the course, we have investigated many realities, giving the girls the opportunity to get to know good practices of sustainable fashion. Through the different activities, they have had the chance to understand the possible solutions to adopt in both the supply chain of the raw material and the manufacturing and commercial processes, all the way to distribution and retail.

The visit to Cittadellarte – says the director – was a day of dialogue and discovery which confirmed everything we had seen, but it also revealed itself to be a way to generate new ideas in the participants. I hope this course will strengthen our collaboration with Fondazione Pistoletto, and lead to the creation of new business models by the participants in the workshop, who are in fact already developing interesting entrepreneurial ideas.”

Olga Pirazzi, too, expressed her satisfaction: “I am pleased the group has come to Biella to get to know Fashion B.E.S.T. and Cittadellarte in person. We are working to make this the start of a continuous collaboration with Bocconi University. For the next editions, we would like to organize new workshops lasting more than just one day. I am also happy we joined the school in this first venture, which has closely involved us from the very beginning. I hope our contribution has been an important experience for the participant’s professional baggage.”

Veronica Ambrosetti, one of the participants, validates Pirazzi’s views: “Sustainability is a responsibility fashion companies must have, in regards to the environment and to social and human rights, relatively to the stakeholders working on the project. We have embarked on this journey because we believe that fashion must be tied to sustainability. The experience at Cittadellarte has been a fundamental stage in this process.” Her words are echoed by Pauline Chapelier, from Belgium: “I enrolled because I would like to work in the fashion sector linking it to sustainability, a factor much less relevant in my country. These weeks have allowed me to get to know many different points of view in the field, and I will take what I learnt through this experience to Belgium.”