I often think of the unexpected and surprising joints of life; a few months ago, so not long since the blog went online, I thought I wanted to do a post on Tiziano Guardini, the eco-sustainable designer who is imposing his style not just in the ethical fashion circuit but in the whole fashion world, showing during official Fashion Weeks and attracting the attention of people like Anna Wintour and Suzy Menkes. Then it happened that the guests of my last ‘Monthly Interview’, Sara Francesca Lisot and Francesca Romana Rinaldi of ‘VIC – Very Important Choice’, ‘nominated’ Tiziano Guardini for the July interview, so here we are with immense pleasure!
Tiziano, first of all, congratulations for your work and your successes. I would like you to track, for eco-à-porter, your sustainable path with the most important steps that led you to win last September, the ‘Franca Sozzani GCC Award for Best Emerging Designer’ and in October the PETA Award. In particular, what was the driving force that brought you closer to eco-fashion? Because I read that you studied economics.
Thanks for the compliments and to my friends who ‘nominated’ me. Are you sure you want me to start at the beginning?! Ok, you asked for it! I was drawn to fashion at the age of 11, when I ended up with a block of sheets in hand to draw entire collections and even then there were references to nature. Then my parents wanted me to do something ‘safer’ and so I graduated in economics, but as much as I tried … and I graduated with a high grade .. it was not my life and so I worked for two years to put myself through fashion academy, thus starting to build my path. I have been a vegetarian for years, now vegan and I try to be as sustainable as possible in everyday life; as a child I took off my shoes in my uncle’s garden to feel the ground and not to crush the ants, so I think I was born with this sensitive need, so when I wanted to tell something personal I honestly did it! The first exhibition was in 2012 in Altaroma where I was selected to expose a pine needle fur and immediately I was reviewed by Susy Menkes on the New York Times, followed by an invitation to the United Nations. And I continued along this path that is made of continuous research both in terms of style and materials. When the ‘Green Carpet Fashion Awards’ (GCFA) competition came out, many people convinced me to participate in it, first of all from Elena Muserra De Luca, my current press manager, who at the time was running the company where I worked and wrote to me “this is the competition for you, you have to do it!”. Then came the Peta Couture Award and today I try to support sustainable projects and even some of my colleagues on this path.
I do not regret having asked you this question, on the contrary, you made very clear the reasons that have pushed you to this choice and I also understand your infinite love for nature and animals because I share it. In fact, your affirmation ‘eco-sustainability is the ability to perceive the sacredness of life’ that stands on your official website seems a bit ‘the manifesto of your’ belief ‘. Do you want to talk about it?
Life is a precious gift, but it is also so fragile. We are often encouraged to look at our present, our life, our needs, in short. Life is one in the Planet and beyond. We are all connected, both among human beings and with all living beings, with the Planet and the stars and what we do now, our actions, have an impact both on our present and on the future and on those of people far from us. For example, even in the choice of detergents I use eco-friendly ones because I know that these products does not disappear in the sink but reaches the seas, where other living beings live … and so on.
And that’s how you are supposed to reason. I think that in order of time, correct me if I’m wrong, your last project is the short film made by the Pistoletto Foundation in partnership with the ‘Forests Department’ of the ‘United Nations economic commission for Europe’ (Unece / Fao) and the United Nations troupe Web TV (Un Live), which tells about your work. Besides the sustainable theme, is there anything in particular the subject of the short is inspired by?
Yes, you are super informed! The project stems from the need to tell and be actors of change, to be responsible for creating a better future. Hollywood actress Michelle Yeoh wanted to be an Ambassador for this project and some designers were asked to design a dress for her for this film and then she chose mine. It is made of Tencel, an ecological material that derives from trees and we made it at the Cittadellarte of Pistoletto. The short film tells many things, including my part.
I will certainly watch it and I’ll talk about it in depth on the blog. Referring to your creations, which seem almost living sculptures, is there anyone you are particularly attached to? If so, why? And what are the natural materials you prefer?
Surely it is the dress with which I won the ‘Franca Sozzani GCC for Best Emerging Designer’ which is made of non-violent silk, also called Peace Silk, in which, unlike traditional silk, where the cocoon is boiled with the worm inside to prevent it from breaking the thread to go out on the last stage, in the other case you wait as the worm reaches its evolution and becomes a butterfly, and only after it has flown away, you can collect the cocoon now abandoned. The coat is made of nylon coming from the recovery of fishing nets and plastic material from the sea. And then the embroidery … but I would like to invite you to look for it, it’s a surprise!
Here they are Tiziano, I could not share such a wonder with my readers! Listen, this blog was born with the precise aspiration that one day not too far you can talk about ‘eco-à-porter’. As an eco-designer with important experiences, at what point of this sustainable path have we arrived? Is there anything more that our country could and should do to stimulate this fashion industry?
Absolutely, as an emerging designer it is a constant struggle / race. We need a specific and concrete commitment about a concrete will of a better future. I hope it’s a bit like in the African fairy tale of the hummingbird and the lion I often love to tell: “One day, in the forest, a fire breaks out and all the animals run crazy to save themselves, except one, a hummingbird. He collects a drop of water from a nearby river and drop it over the flames, then comes back and collect another one, but while he is returning to the fire, the lion stops him and asks mocking him: “What are you going to do, you little one?”, the hummingbird turns a moment and replies to him “I’m doing my part”. Here it is, I hope we all succeed in doing our part, for ourselves and for others.
Yes, it is an excellent metaphor and I am convinced that the great changes take place thanks to the small actions of many. We are at the end of the interview and I’m sorry because you have been quite a find but I hope we will have a chance to chat again, maybe in person. As a guest of the month of July you should ‘nominate’ the interviewee of the month of September (August we skip it, even eco-à-porter takes a few days off): who will be and why?
I would like to nominate a friend of mine, whom I met at the beginning of her career and who produces shoes, working on the theme of sustainability, she too in Italy. Hello Paola Caracciolo!
Well, then waiting for Paola Caracciolo, I thank Tiziano Guardini again, kind and creative visionary soul and I wish him all the best for his extraordinary path.