Ethic is Aesthetic
Talking to Marina Spadafora,
the queen of ethical fashion

Her career is an exciting journey that started with momentous awareness of our commitment to respect for the environment and continued along paths of important social issues and challenges leading her to become coordinator for Italy of Fashion Revolution, the international movement for sustainable, ethical fashion, as well as one of the most cutting-edge designers on the Milan scene in the nineties. The daughter of textile entrepreneurs in Bolzano, after studying fashion design in Los Angeles and having worked for a lengthy period of time as a film costume designer, Marina Spadafora came back to Italy in the late eighties. She launched a fairly successful knitwear collection and collaborated with big names in fashion such as Ferragamo, Prada and Miu Miu, but realised that she was the wrong-shaped peg for this particular hole and so took on a project for the production of native clothing in Burkina Faso. That moment marked the birth of collaboration with the ethical luxury brand Cangiari in Calabria, her full-time collaboration with Altromercato, the awareness campaign Fashion Revolution (set up after the tragic collapse of the factory manufacturing clothing for well-known international brands in Rana Plaza in Bangladesh that killed 1129 people in 2013) and much more. We meet her during Pitti Filati, where her knitwear collections will be the star of a special project in collaboration with Modateca Deanna.
What characteristics must a knitted garment have today in order to be described as premium quality?
Real quality starts with the yarn.The choice of a yarn with high-performance characteristics, which ensures comfort and durability lays the foundations for creation of a top-quality garment.Knitwear finishing is a must, and so fully-fashioned garments and good make-up, all details that distinguish knitwear from jersey.
What can we expect for fall/winter 2019-2020 from this creative laboratory that is Pitti Filati?
I expect to see an even wider range of sustainability and innovation. These, in my opinion, are the fundamental characteristics for winning products on the knitwear scene.
What do you think are the evolutions awaiting the world of knits, in Italy in particular?
Our tradition will save us from the price war.If we want to hold onto our supremacy in the world of fashion, we must continue to progress in innovation, quality and sustainability.Luxury companies must resist the temptation to chase the huge profits they can make by producing abroad and continue to manufacture in Italy.The end consumer appreciates products made in Italy.
Your name is associated with ethical, aesthetical fashion. When did you become aware of the environment and of how much what we do affects it?
It is something that goes back a long time, linked to spiritual research and social and political awareness that started in the seventies.Since then I have always maintained a line of conduct consistent with my ideals.
Three simple steps that take care of the environment every day. What are yours?
I take a glass bottle and a glass with me to the office for my drinking water, I pick up what my dog produces in compostable bags and I am a loyal recycler.
You have travelled all over the world, which culture has taught you the most?
Nepal has always fascinated me and my Nepalese craftsmen move me with their honesty and ability to resist and produce in truly difficult conditions.
You worked as a costume designer in Hollywood, in the mecca of cinema. How much influence has that period had on your creativity today?
I am a magpie, I adore everything that glitters…I would make everything in lurex!