Eco-friendly fabrics, almost a second skin, with which Franco Francesca, the first high fashion eco-designer, has been designing and creating collections since 2006. Clothes that have nothing to envy to the polluting ones, on the contrary, "they also save energy, help reduce the greenhouse effect and are transformed at the end of their life cycle into fertile humus". After Ingeo, cotton, jersey and silk, now the eco-designer who loves green, especially if emerald, is studying new ones eco-fabrics for the next collections.
1) What did the idea of using environmentally friendly fabrics come from?
From an early age I was used to a lifestyle in full respect for nature, organic food and reuse of any materials with zero waste. I then immediately brought these principles back into fashion, at the beginning of my fashion designer studies, in 1997 in England. The following year, in collaboration with my sister Imma, I presented in Italy the first ethical high fashion collection made entirely with recycled and vintage fabrics.
2) What was your first green achievement? What reactions has the novelty aroused at the times?
It was on May 31, 2006, at the Venice Cube on the Giudecca Island, on the occasion of the closing of the "Ingeo Earth Month 2006". I wanted to organize an event in Venice to officially present one of mine Green collection: a small collection (jacket-top-skirt) entirely made with Ingeo fabric, and continued with the inauguration of a "creative gallery" where products were exhibited eco-efficient, developed and produced by international brands, which then laid the foundations for my future 'Green projects'. People were amazed, a lot.
3) Which eco-friendly fabrics do you use today? What is Ingeo?
Ingeo, from the Greek "Natural ingredients of the earth“, Was the first synthetic fiber in the world, launched in 2003, made 100% from corn. It has the same performance as synthetic fibers obtained from petroleum. With a fermentation process the vegetable sugars are transformed into lactic acid and then they are polymerized to obtain fiber. In September 2006 at the Villa deste in Cenobio (Como) I presented the first wedding dress in the world entirely made of Ingeo fabric.
Currently I continue to use any recovered fabric, especially from past collections alongside eco-friendly fabrics such as cotton, jersey, silk and milk.
4) Advantages and disadvantages of these materials, both for the user and for those like you who work on them?
Products biodegradable ensure the characteristics and performance of traditional materials, but also allow for save energy, contribute to reducing the greenhouse effect and are transformed at the end of their life cycle into fertile humus. The garments must be washed and ironed at temperatures that do not exceed 30 degrees otherwise the heat will ruin the fabric until it is completely destroyed.
Eco fabrics are much softer, almost like a second skin, they can be washed with bicarbonate even by hand and dry much faster than common fabrics avoiding ironing.
5) What market is there today on this type of Green Fashion? Does the use of green materials raise the price of the product?
Today more people and are approaching a green lifestyle and the fashion of large consumption has stolen the business even if in Italy we are still the beginnings !!
THE green materials they can cost at least 10% more than synthetic ones, but I have always tried to find solutions and expedients so as not to raise costs, especially when I make high fashion and wedding dresses. Very often, customers who choose ecological clothes also want clothes that are certainly fashion but more practical, less burdened with frills that do not increase costs by managing to sell unique pieces.
6) How will you be present in the tribute calendar to Gianni Versace?
The Calabrese Chamber of Fashion has selected several designers to pay homage to the memory of Gianni Versace through a calendar, who starting from his Reggio brought Italian fashion to the world. I was lucky enough to be selected to represent the month of March through an emerald green dress, the color of the year 2013 and a symbol of my brand, which is inspired by Greek mythology, a theme so dear to Gianni Versace.
7) It will be the year of the emerald green, but also of the green: what an eco-sustainable products are you planning for the next collections?
I am working accessories such as necklaces with recycled materials and bags made in canvas / organic cotton where I had the abstract prints of the paintings by the Danish painter, Martin Kalhoj reproduced, who has already sold the 2013 preview collection in his art gallery in Copenhagen.
Also I am looking to be able to use new eco-fabrics which are not yet on the market… but for now the project is top secret.