Could you tell us about your background in design and consulting?
Silvia: In the past, I designed for international brands, mostly within fast fashion, such as the Inditex group which includes Zara, Adidas, Armani, Topshop, as well as other brands in apparel, homeware and interior design At the moment, I work as a textile designer consultant, focusing on sustainable design. My experience in the fast fashion industry earlier on in my career was great because it allowed me to gain perspective on the main issues within the industry, which later helped me think about alternative ways in which the industry and its stakeholders can move forward. I underwent a huge shift in my mindset, with a voice in my head screaming at me, calling me to do something that aligns with my ethics and values. It led me to open my own design studio in Milan.
Meanwhile, in 2013, I met a girl from Finland who wanted to launch a sustainable fashion start-up. At the time, there was a huge gap in the market for contemporary sustainable fashion brands, especially in Southern Europe. We felt there was a lack of conscious design in existing labels so that’s why we created the start-up. It went well! We started by crowdfunding and within a short period of time, we created a special collection for YOOX Net-a-Porter Group, and were featured in VOGUE Italia in the talents section. These experiences helped me to refine my work as I had to reassess the entire design process to minimize waste and be more selective about the materials I used, for instance. In fact, some researchers argue that 80% of a product’s environmental impact over its life cycle is determined during the design phase.