By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
Ah, Italy! It’s a country known for its beauty. Whether it’s found in a Renaissance palazzo, in the tri-coloured deliciousness of a classic pizza Margherita or in the sleek, modernist lines of Vespa scooter, there’s something gorgeous no matter where you look in most Italian cities.
Until now, most Italian fashion hasn’t been particularly eco-friendly; in fact, many Italian brands rank amongst the lowest for eco-friendliness. But luckily, a few are starting to make a difference by making their creations from more ethical and sustainable materials, including vegan leathers.
Here, I’ve rounded up some of the most Vegan Friendly Italian Fashion Brands from my beloved homeland that I believe are maintaining the traditions of sartorial beauty in my country.
Leave it to Italians to come up with a vegan leather made from food! Marzeri Milano makes shoes from a materials derived from apples (apple leather) and cereals that miraculously gives off different textures like patent leather or suede. They’re so animal-friendly, they’re certified by PETA and the Vegan Society, and are so planet-friendly, they’re biodegradable after use.
But the best part of this brand is their fine Italian craftsmanship: all their shoes are handmade by artisans in the old-school style that has been refined by Italians for centuries.
“Walk lightly” is how CamminaLeggero translates into English, and clearly the brand means to walk lightly on the Earth. The label adamantly does not use animal skins, wool, silk or any other material that may cause unnecessary suffering to animals. Their fully eco-friendly footwear is manufactured with as little energy used as possible in all stages of production, and is made in Northern Italy by local craftsmen and artisans.
Roman born Tiziano Guardini is an eco-artist who creates sharply chic environmental couture. No wonder he has been defined the “designer of nature” – his raffia crochet handbags are an excellent example of the way he merges originality and sustainability, creating eco-sculptural accessories. Just as exceptional is Guardini’s soya silk collection, where kimonos, shirts, trousers and skirts are all fashioned from soya fibre, which has little impact on Mother Nature.
OOD is how it’s written and Wood is the way it’s pronounced. These chic handbags are the result of Marta Antonelli and Marcello Antonelli joining forces in creating a new fabric out of wood that they call Ligeah.
This plastic-free, vegan-friendly material is as soft as leather, thanks to a technique that uses interwoven walnut, birch and ash wood fibres to create a magical, wood-grain effect.
Of all the vegan friendly Italian fashion brands I know of, this is perhaps one of my favourites! This vegan fashion house uses only the most eco-friendly materials imaginable, from peace silk (which doesn’t harm the silkworms) to hemp, linen and organic cotton to create its flowing, feminine styles.
The brainchild of Jose Luis Toniutti, an art director based in Milan, the label prides itself not only in working with a small, ethical collective to construct the garments, but also in making sustainable luxury surprisingly affordable.
Photo credits: @xeniaoffwhite
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