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  • Susanne Madsen

Ermenegildo Zegna wants the fashion industry to stop creating waste

The Italian brand’s SS20 menswear collection utilised upcycled fabrics as part of its new #UseTheExisting project

Backstage at Ermenegildo Zegna SS20Photography Christina Fragkou

Ahead of Ermenegildo Zegna’s opening slot on the Milan menswear SS20 schedule, the brand teased #UseTheExisting as an appetiser for the collection – revealing itself to be about reusing fabrics within a high fashion framework.

PhotographyChristina Fragkou

Incorporating upcycled wools and technical fabrics reworked from remnants by Zegna’s textile division, the new collection conveyed a new mindset: that refined materials can be sustainably made from existing discarded ones or those of seemingly little value.“We are working on new generations of sources where we value the recyclability like a new source in order to not waste any single material of the production chain,” artistic director Alessandro Sartori told us after the show, noting how it’s been crucial for him to conjure a modern message that reaches beyond aesthetics.

Backstage at Ermenegildo Zegna SS20Photography Christina Fragkou

With fashion being one of the top three most polluting industries in the world, there’s a certain urgency to responsible production. Underscoring the idea of sustainability, the collection was staged at the large-scale derelict Falck iron mill. “This location, being part of the biggest industrial conversion in Europe, tells the story of #UseTheExsisting at its best,” Sartori said in reference to how the gigantic brutalist wasteland structure is about to be salvaged into something of lasting value: housing, hospitals and parkland.

The industrial monument and its imminent new format echoed in the clothes, where steel hues collided with earthy colours in tailoring lines that morphed into precision sportswear or more languid shapes. “I love to transform the tailoring message thinking that there are new generations of suits where tops and bottoms are matching without necessarily being a classic jacket with pants,” Sartori noted. “A shirt in the same fabric of the jacket or a bomber in the same fabric of the trousers can be cool suits too.”

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