Italy’s Slow Fashion Movement

How the country's top designers are resisting the US and UK approach to "fast fashion."

This article, written by Colleen Barry, appears on ABC News.

Italy’s Fashion Elite Resists Tendency Toward Fast Fashion

Behind the scenes at Milan Fashion Week, the industry’s future is shaping up to be a game of fast vs. slow fashion.

Word has rippled across the Atlantic Ocean and the English Channel of a movement to speed up the fashion cycle and strut runway creations straight into store windows and consumers’ shopping bags. But that notion faces resistance in the Italian fashion system.

Italy, after all, gave birth to the slow food movement in the late 1980s after the arrival of the first McDonald’s in the heart of Rome, seen as an affront to the nation’s world renowned tradition of culinary excellence. So, too, is this new interpretation of fast fashion an anathema to Italian craftsmanship.

Carlo Capasa, president of Italy’s fashion chamber, said Italian fashion is driven by “a spirit to create desire,” whereas fast fashion is “to satisfy a need.”

“The different between creating a desire and satisfying a need is the difference between slow fashion and fast fashion,” he said.

Not only does it take time and research to create fashion innovations — both in terms of innovative designs and new techniques — it takes time for the public to fully grasp them, he said.

“Because if a creator is a true creative, he is proposing something that doesn’t really exist,” he said, making the incubation period between presentation and sale important “for people to understand the message.”

Mario Boselli, the honorary chairman of Italy’s fashion chamber, views the debate as a contrast between the U.S. and U.K. business models in the fashion industry and the approach favored by the French and Italians.

“New York has always been the land of branding and marketing. We and France, we are more the area of creativity and manufacturing,” Boselli said. “I think the logic is different. They follow their interest, we follow ours.” Read more at ABC News.

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