Eco-Friendly Slow Fashion from Italy
I’ve been living in Miami long enough to think that Spanglish is a language and that it’s normal that peacocks cross the streets. But I was born and raised in Italy, still very Italian for an American and too Americanized for any Italian.
Two decades in Miami have contributed to speak less Italian than a student, balance English and Spanish on a daily basis, still my style is recognized as Italian, despite the fact that I access the same stores and online portals as anybody else in this part of the Ocean.
Hence the book I am writing, “The Cheat Sheet of Italian Style” a tell-all of the secrets that lay in the closet, with the intent of making it achievable for everybody, making the Italian way a state of mind beyond the Country’s borders.
Contrary to the common belief that to dress like an Italian one has to splurge in expensive designer clothing, I have re-discovered the basic principles of sustainability, workmanship, family heirlooms and quality that pervade Italian style.
We are bombarded by the devilish temptations of fast fashion chains and the malicious knock off’s industry, however attachment to strong values like tradition, quality, excellence and a general luxury state of mind prevail when it comes to getting dressed.
The shopping experience begins in the closet: reinvent what you have, not far away from the #30wears campaign promoted by EcoAge and Livia Firth.
Not that we don’t like shopping, I would be totally lying. When ready to purchase, it means we did our homework, we know our A,B,C, chances are we know the mill that produced the fabric of the blazer we are about to acquire, we may have saved the money, we have a seamstress or tailor on call that we trust with repairs, up-cycling and making to measure.
My first approach to mindless consumption was right after I moved to Miami: supermarkets, department stores, even restaurant portions, there was more than meet the eye. It was a the land of prosperity, like the Paese dei Balocchi in Pinocchio. And I fell for it. There was always that new tee shirt I needed and why not order the big salad and take the doggy bag home? Little that I know, I ended up with an overloaded closet full of junk and extra weight.
The process of detox started with reinstating mindfulness in my every day thought process: spend more to spend less. Five poorly executed jackets equal (almost) the perfect blazer, that, like the perfect storm, happens once, but it’s glorious. Same with food injected with GMO’s versus organic. It turned out that slow food and slow fashion started acquiring a status in my life again. It wasn’t easy, it’s like having an addiction and being exposed to temptation: how many times was I prompted to get in a fast fashion store lured from the perfection of the windows? Still, three to six months later, I had to get rid of those garments I couldn’t resist buying. What turned me into a clean recovered shop-a-holic unfortunately wasn’t even the maxed out credit cards, but that perennial discontentment with my own closet.
I think that for my first introductory post, I wrote a lot and thank you for reading until here! I will come back with more details so don’t hesitate to take it to the comments if you have any questions.
One note on the fact that slow fashion is not only an Italian thing: this past month I have been invited to a couple events organized by Kit and Ace, a brand Made in Canada with the tagline that says: Integrity, without It nothing works. Travel, research and longing for ease and comfort on one side, and sophistication and luxury on the other, brought founders to become the torch bearer of what’s called technical luxury. Their trademarked fabric, technical cashmere is one of the softest materials I have ever worn. I like to think that luxury is a state of mind. Kit and Ace is an affordable luxury meets your everyday life: car, planes, grocery shopping, buses, kids park and then your own laundry machine, dry flat and tomorrow you wear it again. I know that my tee shirt will be the beginning of a series.
About the Author
My name is Francesca Belluomini and I was born in Viareggio, Italy in the bucolic region of Tuscany famous for Florence, where Marquis Emilio Pucci and Guccio Gucci were born. As I nomadically traveled the world, I continued to find joy in mixing everyday fashion, local market finds with those sartorial staple pieces that accompanied me everywhere. Indeed, having lived in cities where fashion happens, like Milan and London, has forged my knack for fashion. I believe that “a noteworthy moment cannot be mass-produced”, which is why styling takes place in an almost ritualistic, detailed manner. Soon it will all be in a book, The Cheat-Sheet of Italian Style a 10-step manual on how to wear your wardrobe the Italian way.