Like most major cities whose economies have dwindled in the downturn, Milan is looking forward to some consumer-driven action.

This story first appeared in the September 8, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Mayor Letizia Moratti described the chance to participate in Fashion’s Night Out as one that “couldn’t be missed, since fashion is Milan’s creative and productive force, equating work and income for the territory.”

Citing fashion and design as creation and beauty, Moratti believes notion affects everyone’s tastes and habits.

But Moratti’s upbeat attitude goes beyond fashion, as the mayor’s team has masterminded Adopt a Tree, an eco-friendly initiative conceived especially for Fashion’s Night Out.

It is part of a larger green project that ranks high on Moratti’s priority list, aimed at planting 500,000 trees to make the city greener and more homogenous with the suburbs.

A large number of the 377 names participating in FNO have agreed to back Adopt a Tree by donating a percentage of their sales from Thursday. Twenty percent of sales from the FNO T-shirts will be donated. Based on the proceeds, the city will decide how many trees to plant.

“It’s an alliance between creative beauty and environmental beauty that we strongly advocate,” said Moratti.

Thanks to the event, Moratti believes both the Milanese and tourists will discover the true face of the fashion system, one that needs to “surpass an elitist approach and communicate with people.”

She also wanted to highlight the importance of fashion for Milan and for Italy in general and is happy to be doing so in such a fun manner. “We want all the Milanese, not only insiders, to be proud of the city’s fashion industry,” said Moratti, adding that Italy and fashion are inseparable, citing such other Milan initiatives as an exchange program with New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology.

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