Image: Alberta Ferretti and Livia Firth
Guests including Arizona Muse, Eva Herzigova, Doina Ciobanu, Rosanna Falconer and Niomi Smart joined Italian designer Alberta Ferretti and Livia Firth at Mr Fogg’s House of Botanicals to launch the ‘Love Me’ Collection with support from Eco-Age. Rosanna Falconer, digital strategist and co-founder of FashMash, reports from the launch.
Ascending the spiral staircase up to lunch today, one might have mistaken Mr Fogg’s House of Botanicals for the buzziest cafe in Milan, pulsing with the energy of friends exchanging stories and exclaiming praises. La dolce vita was in full swing as guests from Arizona Muse to Eva Herzigova joined Italian designer Alberta Ferretti and Livia Firth to launch the ‘Love Me’ collection. And how could it not be? The capsule collection, supported by Eco-Age, is a celebration of the planet and a declaration of how we must save it.
Ferretti, elegant in black with the ‘Love Me’ graphic on her sweatshirt, moved effortlessly between guests, admiring the way each had styled the pieces and then sharing her passion for the reasons behind them. As we sat down together, she referenced the power of both the assembled guests and the tech-savvy youth: “This capsule is for communication via women like you. I opted for highly visual messages that will strike a chord even with those who don’t usually care about sustainability. It’s that ability to communicate online rapidly, with global reach and also at a culturally diverse level.” As we chatted, Mary Charteris, Niomi Smart and Doina Ciobanu flitted past, dressed in ‘Love Me’, ‘Help Me’ and ‘Save The Earth’ slogans respectively: the perfect manifestation of her point. With over 2 million reach collectively, their message will no doubt prove irresistible to their followers, each worn in their own idiosyncratic style.
Images: Mr Foggs House of Botanicals, and Albert Ferretti with Eva Herzigova
Ferretti began her ethically conscious journey in 2011, with a capsule created with Emma Watson and People Tree. There was no turning back, as she began integrating socially and environmentally responsible practices throughout her business and supply chain, encouraging customers to change their attitudes too. “But now, I need to ask more directly,” she emphasised to me. “I’m calling for attention. Help! For the future of the world!”
Doina, who is an ambassador for the UN’s sustainability programme, thinks that the success of the collection lies in its wearability: “I love that it’s wearable, fun and not too “fashion”. These are clothes for real life which is so important as you want as many people as possible to spread the message.”
But they are also so much more than their (albeit brilliant) messages: materials have been meticulously sourced, after years of research, with certifications for recycled and organic materials as well as lower chemical use. Even the garment labels are recycled. My jumper, for example, had eye-catching metallic cuffs and collar that caught the sunlight through the window. Glitzy fabrics typically equal eco concerns but this thread is upcycled from dead stock. Arizona Muse, fresh from Milan where she spoke at the 3rd International Roundtable on Sustainability, told me “I find a lot of pieces that are made as a ‘spokespiece” for sustainability are not as strong as the main collection, and that really bothers me. We need to make these sustainable pieces as good as the main collection, if not better. That’s why I love the jumpers for example, for their chic, high-waisted shape.”
It was Livia Firth, co-founder and creative director of Eco-Age who summed it up best in her speech alongside Ferretti. Firth emphasised that the brand’s ethical stance reaches far beyond this collection: Ferretti has been working at all levels of her company to change the fundamentals of the business. “She has found the perfect organic cotton, the perfect recycled cashmere and is using it throughout her collections but she wanted to make one collection that spoke of the work she was doing, that people could immediately recognise.” Catching up with her later over smoked miso aubergine with rice, Firth told me, “there is so much more attention now on the impact of our choices (not only fashion choices) on people and planet. The fashion industry is moving so fast – Alberta’s example speaks for many,” she enthused in a powder pink knit that proclaimed, ‘It’s A Wonderful World’. With women as passionate as our hosts, the influential guests in the room and the clear message of the collection, we have a fighting chance of keeping it that way.