Materials coming from window installations in Fendi boutiques are about to get a second life. The seductive allure of creative sustainability is at the centre of the latest project presented by Istituto Marangoni Firenze in collaboration with the LVMH’s Maison. DIS-CYCLING is the name of this unique program, launched under the creative direction of New York artist Sarah Coleman and involving students from Fashion Design, Multimedia Arts and Textile Innovation courses.
“I am really excited to do this mentorship with all the people who are a part of it, especially the students. When I saw your portfolios, I was so blown away, it was really wonderful to see the passion that you guys have,” Sarah Coleman said during a kick-off meeting with a selection of students from the Florentine campus, who received a brief from the artist internationally renowned for making the upcycling of luxury accessories the philosophy of her work and who has joined the prestigious I’M Mentors of Istituto Marangoni Firenze this year.
“We hear about sustainability all the time now, because we are obviously in a real crisis. I feel like we have been for a very long time. Since I was a child, I have always found myself very connected with the environment. Animals and nature have always been something very important to me. I never decided that I wanted to be an artist to repurposed materials, it just happened naturally,” Coleman explained. “Since I was a little kid, back at my dad’s place, I started seeing the stuff in his house as my art room. He didn’t have a set up for a child who was really creative and wanted to make stuff all the time, so I started wondering “How can I make this object that is intended for adult use into something else?”. Now he is probably more excited than he was when I was younger.”
The project places the material at the centre of a creative process of recovering materials previously used in Fendi’s window installations, thinking about how to deconstruct them so they can find new life as artworks and in entirely new contexts.
The project will also be made possible by collaborating with Pardgroup, a historical Italian brand that handles the window change-out operations of all the brand’s European flagship stores.
This creative, interdisciplinary project will include online and in-person meetings with Fendi managers and tutors from the Florence school, who will support young talented students in all the stages of creating an art installation that brings matter and digital together.
The program is divided into two parts. The first one will include group brainstorming, starting with workshops with the tutors, who will put together the teams as soon as the students get to know each other and their different skills. Finally, Mentor Sarah Coleman will reach Florence to work alongside the students on their ideas, supporting them with their works’ conception, development and final execution.
Her expectations of the project? “I know that it will be better than we even imagine,” she stated during the meeting. “I saw your work and I think there is so much talent and that we are going to create something really amazing. I know that everyone has his skills set that they are tight to, but each group should have someone that really loves to get their hands dirty a little bit,” Sarah Coleman anticipated. “I am so excited to meet you guys in person and I am here if you need me! I love to connect with people and create something that we can be proud of and that is very meaningful to us.”
The final works will be showcased in autumn at the Fendi Factory exhibition space in Capannuccia (Bagno a Ripoli, Florence). They will be a symbol and, at the same time, the result of an increasingly integrated approach to sustainability.
“We started working together with Fendi during the pandemic, in the summer of 2020, such a terrifying, unknown and scary time. While working with them it really became clear to me that there was so much room to create anything, and nothing ever is too much or too crazy», the artist said. “They really want to push ourselves to create something that we are really proud of and exhibit whatever message or feeling. And so, I want you to feel very proud at the end of the project and I really want to be open and available to you guys. Feel free to use me as a soundboard for your ideas and share anything with me. I am really open to listening to you, because it is very clear that you guys have a real talent and a lot of passion for what you do,” Sarah Coleman concluded.