For the first time ever, the British Fashion Council and Camera Nazionale Della Moda Italiana have collaborated on a special activation, running from January 11th to January 13th, that brings together young British and Italian creative talents in the hotbed of commerciality that is Milan Menswear Fashion Week.
“I think this is a great opportunity for all of us, as it definitely gives us some extra time to meet press and buyers in a different environment from London and Paris, which is always refreshing,” said Bianca Saunders, the Royal College of Art Graduate who showcased her collection last week at London Fashion Week. During London Showrooms, Saunders not only presented her runway collection but also an accessory line designed by Hernan Guardamagna, a sustainable accessory designer which made her square-toed mocassins with draped, recycled uppers.
Set in a large open space in Milan’s Via Savona, young Italian and British graduates co-existed, showcasing the collections they had shown London Fashion Week or prepared for the occasion. A digital installation prepared for the occasion also showcased the work of Cristiana Alagna, Paolo Carzana and Tancredi Vimercati Sanseverino, three Italian graduates of London Colleges.
“Working with an Italian stylist [ed.note: Riccardo Maria Chiacchio], I’ve always been sort of influenced and informed by his very strong Italian aesthetic. However, as in these eighteen months, I haven’t racked up yet any Italian stockists or haven’t done anything in Italy, it's quite nice to see the climate here, especially since Italy is the home of bigger brands,” said Priya Ahluwalia, a 2018 graduate from the MA Menswear course at The University of Westminster and winner of the H&M Design Award in 2019. The designer has, since she first started, been exploring the life of second hand and dead stock clothing, using textile techniques to give them new life.
Undoubtedly, in comparison to London where younger talents are able to be supported and eased into the fashion scene in a better way, it is much harder for Italian talents to face the smattering amount of fashion behemoths present in their homeland.
It was, however, great to see that some young Italian designers who have been making themselves noticed, were also present and active at the event. Unmissable were Mauro Simionato and Giulia Bortoli, who showcased the first part of their unisex collection, for their brand Vitelli. Every year the brand presents two collections and two capsules, and for this special occasion, the couple launched a capsule of their newly-made and completely sustainable ‘DOOMBOH’ items, ranging from blazers, tailored pants lined in vintage 1970s silk and an anteprima of a women’s bar jacket that will be showcased during Milan Fashion Week in February.