The first interview of the summer is with two really smart girls ‘nominated’ the last month by Matteo Ward, co-founder of the manifesto-brand Wrad: Sara Francesca Lisot and Francesca Romana Rinaldi, who have joined their paths to give life to a beautiful online business model with a 100% focus on ethical fashion. First Francesca Romana (FRR) and Sara Francesca (SF) want to thank Matteo for the ‘nomination’ and then we can start the interview:
FRR + SF: Thanks Matteo for thinking about us! Matteo was one of the first brand partners of our VIC – Very Important Choice, he is also a national representative of the Fashion Revolution movement and ambassador of the first European sharing + circular fashion platform where everything is sustainable.
Good. Sara, Francesca, first of all I would like you to talk a bit about your educational and professional paths because I imagine that it is also thanks to your experiences that you then came to the foundation of your VIC – Very Important Choice start-up. You, Sara, for example, I know you attended a Masters in Social Entrepreneurship & Management, while Francesca is often invited as a speaker to international forums and to the United Nations to talk about responsible fashion.
SF: I have always been sensitive to the issues of sustainability, of man-nature connection and of living in harmony with the environment and with ourselves. My other business The Art of Green deals with this and offers coaching, workshops and retreats in the middle of nature. As you can see, I’m a fan of entrepreneurship. The Master I pursued in Denmark has added practical tools and knowledge to a strong personal passion. Living in the Nordic countries I knew a sharing subculture and clothing library services that inspired VIC’s idea.
FRR: As fashion management teacher, director of the New Sustainable Fashion course at the Milan Fashion Institute, expert in sustainable fashion, business consultant and co-author of ‘The responsible fashion company’ (Egea, 2013), a book on the integration between ethics and aesthetics in the supply chain, I was looking for a business idea to develop and grow that would allow me to implement what I have been telling students for so many years and what I discuss with companies. In 2017 I was invited to attend a United Nations working group on the transparency and traceability of the supply chain. This and other opportunities for active participation in industry summits allow me to confront continuously the concrete challenges of the fashion industry at national and international level, putting responsible innovation at the center.
And then VIC was born; how you did you meet and why did you decide to found it, even if it is clear that the interest in sustainability has always accompanied your respective paths.
FRR: The idea of Sara Francesca, CEO of VIC – Very Important Choice, arrived at the right time! That’s why I accepted the challenge and became co-founder and Marketing Director of the new start-up: fashion is a mature sector that needs to be renewed to attract more and more Millennials and respond to the new needs of Z Generation.
SF: After a series of life stages around the world (including the latest in Ibiza in a beautiful country house with an edible permaculture forest), I decided to return to Italy to create a business with a social impact and give life to the idea of VIC. I immediately thought of calling Francesca, whom I had known about five years earlier through our respective sustainable fashion and lifestyle blogs.
Would you like to explain to the eco-à-porter readers what VIC is and above all how it is structured?
FRR: Gladly! VIC – Very Important Choice was born with the idea of innovating the sector through the creation of a sustainable clothing sharing platform but also the creation of a community of LOHAS consumers (i.e. lifestyle of health and sustainability). Entry into the VIC community happens through a € 49 monthly membership which entitles to the use of 3 items and / or accessories to be returned at the end of the month. Everything happens online, with the convenience of a normal e-commerce site. Just fill in the form on the site and subsequent communications will be via email and whatsapp.
SF: In October 2018 we expect the official launch of the service, but you can already use it by registering as Early Adopter on the site, as Francesca said. There are advantages and special bonuses for those who support this initiative right away! We already have a small group started up with users all over Italy and we are continuing to collect subscriptions. The selection criteria we have applied to brands are those of beauty and absolute transparency of the supply chain. Each garment contains a story that tells not only the composition of the fabrics but also their provenance, construction methods and instructions for washing and maintenance. We want to tell what’s behind each VIC selected item to create information on a new fashion system.
If I have understood correctly, the garments you put on the platform are sustainable labels, so I imagine there is also a good research and ‘scouting’ to always find new designers to propose. Who does what and to whom you address, in short, how do you find the clothes?
FRR: Scouting is continuous and we both take care of this very important activity. Our goal is to create a platform that allows us to bring all sustainable brands closer to the Millennial generation, for now at the national level and soon at the international level. Until today we have selected Italian brands that we already knew: from October we will start to take part in international trade fairs, where we will continue to scout to widen the platform.
Of course, Millennials make for a good chunk of the market and this is also a great way to raise awareness! Now I ask you the question I ask all my guests: can we already talk about eco-à-porter? Or will we talk about it sooner or later?
FRR: In the case of VIC – Very Important choice, yes, I think we can talk about eco-à-porter. Sustainable fashion accessible to everyone, even to those who, although very interested in sustainable fashion, thought it too expensive and unattainable.
SF: Absolutely! It’s the VIC’s mission!
Would you like to ‘nominate’ my next guest? Who will be and why this choice?
FRR&SF: We would like to nominate Tiziano Guardini, a designer who uses natural fabrics and eco-sustainable materials. Tiziano’s collections will be on VIC -Very Important Choice from October 2018.
I know his work and actually, I had already thought of contacting him for an interview, so it’s a good choice! Francesca, Sara, congratulations for this beautiful project, I saw that among your partner brands there is also Esthéthique, which makes me really happy because I knew them at the last edition of ‘Fa la cosa giusta‘ in Milan and I liked very much their scarves in wild silk, in fact I’m preparing an article about them! Good luck, I hope that many of my readers will become your customers!😉
See you in July with Tiziano Guardini!