MILAN — F_WD presented its second collection here and, in a sign of social and ecological responsibility, chief executive officer Fabio Ducci and designer Raphael Young explained that the company not only wanted to create a sustainable brand but also to raise awareness of the issue among consumers.
The products are 100 percent vegan, are made of 20 to 50 percent of recycled or recyclable materials and are, for now, about 2 or 3 percent biodegradable. But the company aims to further increase its technological research. “For us, being vegan is just the least we can be, the first step for a sustainable brand,” the designer explained, adding that “there are many brands that brag about being vegan and think to do well for the planet, but being vegan can also mean doing even more harm by the use of chemical products than using animal materials could mean.”
Recognizing there’s still a long way to go, mostly due to the large investments in research and technology that suppliers need to do to adjust to the new green wave, the brand has ambitions to reach higher levels of biodegradability as the third and ultimate step of sustainability.
“I wanted to give birth to a new project within the Onward Luxury Group, going back to our essence of being a talent incubator,” Ducci claimed, adding that last summer he met with Young, who opened up an “unknown world to me, of recycled materials, biodegradable rubber and sustainable production processes and soon his project caught mine and many others [in the company’s] interest, therefore, last September we kicked off the project.”
In a clearly streetwear style, the former Calvin Klein shoes and accessories designer — as well as fashion consultant for several brands like Tod’s, Off-White, Paco Rabanne and Jil Sander, among others — literally printed activist messages of ecological awareness all over the collection.
Prices range from 250 euros to 350 euros and the spring 2020 collection presents a range of unisex pieces of footwear and accessories such as backpacks and pouches. The brand will present its ready-to-wear line in the next few months, comprising a collection of T-shirts, sweatshirts and jeans, all made of recycled cotton. The brand is sold through more than 80 retailers in the U.S., Europe and Asia, and several pop-up shops have been set up in department stores such as Selfridges, Le Bon Marché and Tsum.
Onward Luxury Group produces the collections of a range of international labels. Over the years the company has been manufacturing collections for Rochas, Antonio Berardi, Mulberry, Proenza Schouler and See by Chloé. In addition, parent company Onward Holdings controls several fashion labels, including Jil Sander, Joseph, J. Press and leather goods-maker Maison Moreau.