As fashion moves more toward sustainable practices, upcycling seems to be the hottest and trendiest topic right now, with brands such as Miu Miu, Burberry, Alexander McQueen and Marine Serre all tapping into the trend.
Contemporary fashion label Forte_Forte, meanwhile, quietly embraced it almost 10 years ago by partnering with silk specialist Mantero Seta to retrieve and breathe new life into deadstock silks.
Now marking the opening of its latest flagship store in Italy’s tony resort destination Forte dei Marmi, the brand — owned by private equity Style Capital — is unveiling Bloom, a 10-piece capsule collection crafted from old garments in the Forte_Forte archives up until spring 2020.
“This project is very close to our identity and stems from a deep reflection on sustainability that we carried out during the first lockdown last year,” said the brand’s creative director Giada Forte.
Bloom was originally a communication project that debuted last year when the brand started posting on its Instagram account a series of flower pictures to offer relief during the lockdown.
“Each piece of clothing or fabric in the unsold stock brings about a lot of values — from the research trips made to create them to the artisans and weavers we worked with, and they had to be celebrated in some way. It’s not only about making a sustainable statement by way of upcycling but also a way to telegraph the human values that go into the creation of fashion pieces,” Forte explained.
The collection comprises duster and trench coats, as well as billowing frocks and shirtdresses, all exuding a DIY and arty feel.
“Upcycling is a beautiful process in that it forces me as a designer to push my creativity and rethink the same fabrics and pieces I had conceived in the past as if they were characters into something new,” Forte said, adding that the timeless quality of Forte_Forte pieces made the process easier.
Each style is available in three to four pieces and comes with a dedicated label bearing its flower-inspired name and the number of the item, as well as information on the seasons the fabrics and scraps come from.
Exclusively available from June 11 at the Forte dei Marmi store, which opened last month, Forte said the capsule echoes the free-spirited sentiment of rebirth the store opening conveys, and did not rule out debuting similar projects for each new flagship.
The choice to offer the capsule exclusively in the physical store is strategic. “The beautiful thing about such projects is that they can help people rediscover the pleasure of physical shopping in such a digital-driven and frenetic world,” Forte said. “To fully understand these items, you need someone that tells you the story and process behind it and this cannot happen online.”
The brand’s sustainable bent goes way back: After the seminal project with Mantero Seta 10 years ago, Forte_Forte last year introduced the “Corde Vocali” project asking artist Pauline Guerrier to use the brand’s deadstock fabrics for her artistic tapestry — a reflection on the notion of gender — which led the creative director to apply the same cut and sew aesthetic for a range of 14 limited-edition garments.