近幾十年的環境污染加劇，令我們不得不正視及提出不同的解決方案。時裝業為世界上第二大污染的行業，水污染、勞工權益及燒毀過季衣服等浪費的問題都為人所詬病；部分時裝品牌率先提出可持續性的思考模式和產品，例如Vivienne Westwood主張「Buy less, choose well, make it last」，並呼籲停止購買時尚新品至少六個月、Stella McCartney採用二手T-shirt和過季衣服改造成新的系列，連速食時裝品牌H&M也推出Conscious系列，利用回收物料和水果等可持續物料製衣。由此可見，可持續發展的模式是服裝業必須要思考的一大命題。
Everything we do has a price to pay. A piece of clothing, a bottle of water… all these things come with a price at the process of production, transportation and even disposal. The scary images like rubbish floating in the ocean and landing on Lantau Island perhaps speak more than words. Regardless of how much effort human spend on picking up the trash, there are still numerous plastic bags, toothbrushes, plastic wraps, bottles and cans pushed onto the shore by the sea wave. Cattles are standing among mangrove eating leaves bound by plastic waste. The waste we disposed of would not go away, they would just end up becoming part of our lives.
Our world has become increasingly polluted in the past few decades. There is an urgency to look at the question with utmost seriousness and to seek for a solution. Fashion is one of the major polluting industries in our world. Problems arising from the industry including water pollution, exploitation of labor and the irresponsible disposal of out-of-season clothing have always been heavily criticized by the general public. As a response to this criticism, some fashion brands began to propose a sustainable business model and products. Just to name a few examples, Vivienne Westwood has proposed to “Buy less, choose well, make it last” and urged consumers to stop shopping for at least six months, Stella McCartney has launched an upcycled collection made of secondhand t-shirts and out-of-fashion clothing, even the fast-fashion brand H&M has joined the initiative to launch the Conscious collection that is made of upcycled material and sustainable materials like fruits. These examples are obviously evidence of the unavoidable need for the fashion industry to focus on sustainability.
The Sustainable Thinking exhibition by Salvatore Ferragamo in their museum in Florence has clearly demonstrated the brand’s effort in exploring the possibility of sustainable fashion. The exhibition has two major topics of discussion — the use of natural, upcycled or innovative material, and the re-examination of traditional craftsmanship. “Sustainable development” was first defined in 1987: Brundtland Report as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Ever since the brand was founded in 1927, Salvatore Ferragamo has dedicated to researching and analyzing various materials. On one hand, they were a pioneer of using linen, cellophane and fishskin in their production, on the other hand, they skillfully use traditional handicraft technique to build installation art with reused resources. The brand has seemingly struck a perfect balance among art, material and the ecosystem.
Sustainable Thinking consists of ten sections, some of the exhibits that cannot be missed are the brand’s shoes from the 1930s to 1950s. Beginning his career as a shoemaker, the founder Salvatore Ferragamo was not affected by the limited resources during the Second World War. With a creative mind, he used tree bark, fish skin, cellophane that was used as candy wrapper to make his shoes to solve the lack of typical shoe-making materials. In recent years, the brand applied its state of the art technology to transform reused clothing into quality products. Their various projects have demonstrated an innovative mind and an endeavor in environmental protection.
Launched in 2018, the “Rainbow Future” sandals are hand made with crocheted organic cotton in layers covered in the same material Certification ISO 14067 Certification GOTS – Global Organic Textile Standard.
Collaborating with artists, the exhibition is also showcasing installation arts that address the necessity of sustainability. Pensiero Naturale is a hanging art piece knitted with natural material made by the Milan artist Paola Anziche. Exposed under the light, it is a manifesto of the harmony and balance between nature and art. The Argentinian artist Tomás Saraceno worked together with a biologist, an astrophysicist, an engineer and an architect to create a massive sculpture/installation art that is a response to the global environmental concerns. The last section of the exhibition invites visitors to recover our relationship with nature and rethink the priority of sustainability. The section showcases a space of environmental-friendly material made by artists and young designers. This space does not only introduce in details the nature of natural fiber and the production process but also remind us of the capability of sustainable development. This is an exciting exhibition, as well as a journey of self-reflection. How can our world move forward on the road of sustainable development? This is a question not to be neglected or delayed. The exhibition is now showing until 8 March 2020 in Museo Salvatore Ferragamo.