Zegna Embraces Milan’s Industrial Past

Since Alessandro Sartori rejoined Zegna, the brand has been on the hunt for Milan’s industrial architectural treasures as the backdrop for its fashion shows. 


Ermenegildo Zegna Spring/Summer 2020 menswear show in Milan. Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.

Sartori – who returned to Zegna after his tenure at Berluti – chose the former Falk Iron and Steel mill in Sesto San Giovanni, just north of Milan as the stage for this season.

The austere metal skeleton of the factory which once employed over 10,000 workers, one of the largest facilities in Europe, exuded the prowess of the past.  

Used just once for the Zegna show, the facility, which has been abandoned for 30 years, will be completely requalified as a new hub for the Italian financial capital. Città della Salute e della Ricerca will feature a huge medical and research center. Construction will kick off in September. 

The industrial venue also is part of the new Ermenegildo Zegna philosophy. In fact, the upcycle process of the factory is also in tune with Zegna’s new ethos, one it promotes through the hashtag #usetheexisting. 


Ermenegildo Zegna Spring/Summer 2020 menswear show in Milan. Photos by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.

“We lose 20 percent of the raw materials in the spinning process and another 20 percent in the cutting process,” explained Alessandro Sartori in the press preview before the show. “With this new approach we recover almost all the waste. On top of this, we also started to produce clothes with recycled plastic-based material that we get from different sources. But that’s not all; 10 looks out of the 48 that will be unveiled at the show are 100 percent made with upcycled materials.” The collection strongly called to mind the aesthetic of the industrial venue. The palette reflects the colours of the abandonment: rust, dusty shades of green, pink, burgundy, sand, together with black and graphite grey. There were two different silhouettes, the sharp and the loose. The collection was very focused and it marks the ongoing evolution of Sartori’s language.

Lucio Vanotti Spring/Summer 2020. Photos: Courtesy of PR.

In the same vein, Lucio Vanotti, a designer who often looks to Milan’s architectural and industrial landscape, hosted a presentation on Friday that developed 10 specific items of the men’s wardrobe in various different patterns and colors. The idea is to fill a man’s wardrobe with focused, essential styles. Worker uniforms and daily livery ensembles turn garments into a sort of everyday armor. All the materials were natural and the colours conjured earth elements: intense shades of green, classic blue, gray, and black. It’s a smart project in which Vanotti really believes, as he is focused on creating an online platform around this idea of wardrobe essentials.

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