According to the designer, “Companies must pay attention to each step of the production chain to ensure its sustainability. Nowadays, it is easy to find a collection labelled as ‘eco-friendly’ or ‘sustainable’, only to discover that a very small percentage of the fabrics used are from recycled materials. Where does the process stand? What about the rest? Whilst most firms have chosen a more sustainable direction, this is not enough. We are running out of time.” Of course, Lauriola acknowledges the challenges that companies face, having struggled himself as a student and young designer with no external financial investments. He explains that “Sourcing and purchasing natural and eco-friendly fabrics is the hardest part. The prices are affordable only for giants like Adidas or Stella McCartney, who have made sustainability a key part of their brand image, and can therefore afford high volume purchases without impacting their profit margins.”
Lauriola admits he perhaps holds more faith in the customer side of the market. He believes consumers will be the main driver for this desperately needed shift to a greener fashion industry: “There has been a great increase in the consumer demand for sustainability, especially now thanks to the new LOHAS [Life of Health and Sustainability] consumers. This market group which is growing among the Gen-Z and Millennials, and is seeking greener, more organic offerings from companies that adopt a more holistic approach to creating their products.”
Lauriola’s collection is innovative not only in terms of the fabrics and techniques used, but in how it tackles one of the world’s most pervasive social issues of today: gender identity. The standardization of body types and the predefined labels we are assigned to are being challenged. With his nogender project, Lauriola is taking a step towards liberating those from society’s confining ‘norms’. Freedom should be synonymous with human existence, and the clothes one wears cannot contribute to the freedom of expressing one’s identity if they retain such labels. In describing his project, Lauriola notes that the collection currently only comprises prototypes and is limited to his Master’s project and that the pieces are not intended to be sold to the public. Rather, they embody the utmost expression of an intense and dedicated project thesis extending the frontiers of research in sustainability, design and fashion. However, such a collection could very well be a starting point for the development of an actual, marketed, avant-garde collection. Staiy most certainly has its fingers crossed for this one!