Yesterday night the Green Carpets Fashion Award was held in Milan. The gala coincided with the last day of Milan Fashion Week and was held at the glamorous La Scala opera house. This award gala is the brainchild of Livia Firth’s Consultant agency Eco-Age and Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana (CNMI), aiming to highlight Italian craftsmanship and supply chain. During the night 11 awards were handed out “…to a range of mills, artisans, emerging designers and brands, in recognition of their achievements in areas from environmental and social stewardship, to the preservation of Italian heritage and crafts, and celebration of “Made in Italy”. All awardees are either from Italy, or strongly involved in the Italian supply chain.”
Italian Fashion and craftsmanship has long been synonymous with luxury and quality, but what does “Made in Italy” really stand for today? According to Italian law a product needs to be planned, produced and packed in Italy to achieve the label “Made in Italy”, but can we really trust that labeling? The day before the Green Carpet Fashion Award Gala the site Business of Fashion published an article titled “Can an Award Show Solve Fashion’s Sustainability Challenge?”. The article points out the obvious flaws in blindly celebrating “Made in Italy”. Undoubtedly, supply chain transparency remains a key issue. “There is absolutely no transparency in the luxury industry as to how much is really made in Italy, or perhaps made in Eastern Europe and finished in Italy. That’s a massive issue in the industry. Made in Italy is an example of best practice — it’s just that there isn’t much of it anymore,” says Orsola de Castro, co-founder and creative director of Fashion Revolution.
Nevertheless, Livia Firth wants to change this attitude and argues that we need to shine light on the workers, or the handprint as she calls it. “What we call the handprint of fashion is hugely important — once we start putting producers again on the front stage and make them work in partnership with designers, we will have achieved huge results.” This idea is specially reflected in one of the 11 awards titled “The Art of Craftsmanship”, which this year was handed to the seamstresses of Maison Valentino, presented by Annie Lennox. Find the full list of winners here.