Bollier and finalists

MILAN — Matea Benedetti, Calcaterra, CO|TE, Leo Studio Design and Tiziano Guardini were revealed on Tuesday as the five finalists of the CNMI Green Carpet Talent Competition.

Launched in March by Italy’s Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana and Eco-Age, founded by Livia Firth, the competition invited emerging designers to create a bespoke look celebrating Italian craftsmanship and sustainable innovation, as well as social and environmental values, and produced in Italy. Value Retail has signed on as a partner. The five finalists will be invited to attend The Green Carpet Fashion Awards, Italia, to be held on Sept. 24 at the La Scala theater in Milan, during Fashion Week.

Benedetti created a look crafted from apple waste, a uniquely Italian innovation, created in Bolzano, Italy, while Daniele Calcaterra’s look features “feathers” made by weaving hemp rope, organic cotton organza and silk. The suiting is made with Tencel, a fiber made from wood pulp, sourced responsibly from sustainable forest plantations and produced in a closed loop process to ensure virtually all water and solvents are continually re-used, powered by renewable energy.

The look by CO|TE, conceived by creative directors Francesco Ferrari and Tomaso Anfossi, was produced in Lombardy, and features organic silk shirting and undergarments crafted from Econyl, a yarn made from recycled fishing nets and carpets.

Leo Studio Design produced a look in Italy’s Apulia region featuring printed culottes, backpack and shoes made of Econyl with a printed skirt made of organic cotton, using no pesticides or fertilizers in the process. Guardini created his look from organic silk and recycled nylon. The dress features hand embroidered “sequins” which are created using up-cycled seashells and discarded CDs collected in Italy.

The judging panel was made up of Desirée Bollier (chair, Value Retail Management); Carlo Capasa (chairman, CNMI);  Ruth Chapman (cofounder and executive co-chairman,; Mira Duma (chief executive officer and founder, Fashion Tech Lab); Livia Firth (creative director, Eco-Age); Andrew Keith (president, Lane Crawford); Derek Blasberg (writer, editor and host of CNN Style); Stefan Siegel (founder, Not Just a Label); Sara Sozzani Maino (deputy editor in chief Vogue Italia, head of Vogue Talents), and  Elaine Welteroth (editor in chief of Teen Vogue).

“Our goal through this emerging designer competition was not just to find the best talent but to plug that talent into a brilliant network of support and knowledge,” Firth said. “Through the mentorship scheme with Value Retail we’re offering our finalists passionate about ecological and social justice a pathway to true sustainability: the ability to be able to grow and sustain their fashion business in the future. Many sustainable designers have not had these opportunities before so we’re hoping it’s a game changer for sustainable design in fashion.”

Firth and Capasa on Sept. 1 presented the statuette designed by Chopard’s copresident and creative director Caroline Scheufele for the Green Carpet Fashion Awards, Italia, in Venice, during the city’s Film Festival.

VENICE, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 01: Carlo Capasa and Livia Firth pose with the Green Carpet Fashion Award as they attend an intimate lunch to announce Chopard as partner for The Green Carpet Fashion Awards at Hotel Cipriani on September 1, 2017 in Venice, Italy. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images for Eco-Age)

Carlo Capasa and Livia Firth with the Green Carpet Fashion Award statuette.  Courtesy Photo

Capasa highlighted how “this project includes an important educational aspect: sustainability must become one of the characteristics of the future of fashion, clothing and accessories must not only be beautiful and well made, but also sustainable.”

The five finalists will each participate in a 12-month mentoring program with Value Retail. The designers will also have their collections featured in The Creative Spot, a pop-up boutique dedicated to showcasing new talent at Fidenza Village, Italy, from October. Furthermore, throughout 2018, the winner’s creations will take center stage in boutiques across Value Retail’s Collection of 11 Villages.

Value Retail’s Bollier said the partnership reflected the group’s “support of emerging fashion talent. As they progress towards the global stage, we look forward to mentoring the five finalists and giving them the knowledge to develop their brands on an international scale. The Value Retail Villages in Europe and China present a wonderful platform to showcase their collections, acquainting our discerning guests with the names of tomorrow alongside established world-class brands, beginning with The Creative Spot boutique at Fidenza Village.”

The winner of the CNMI Green Carpet Talent Competition will receive the Franca Sozzani GCC Award for Best Emerging Designer, in honor of the late Vogue Italia editor in chief. The recipient will be revealed at The Green Carpet Fashion Awards, Italia on Sept. 24 and will have the opportunity to present at Milan Fashion Week in February.

The Green Carpet Fashion Awards, Italia, are supported by the Ministry of Economic Development, the Italian Trade Agency and the city of Milan.