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Jun 12, 2024

How fresh talent can bring sustainability to fashion (for real)

At Fondazione Sozzani, a three-day exhibit featured the top 9 works from 600 fashion students, envisioning a responsible future for the industry


If you’re passionate about art, photography, fashion, design, or their constant interplay, you can’t afford to miss Milan’s newest hotspot. Located at 3 Via Enrico Tazzoli, it is the new home of Fondazione Sozzani.

Founded in 2016 by Carla Sozzani, Kris Ruhs, and Sara Sozzani Maino, Fondazione Sozzani builds on the cultural work Carla Sozzani began in 1990 with Galleria Sozzani. In addition to its Paris location at 22 Rue Marx Dormoy and a forthcoming Milan site at 87 Via Bovisasca, the venue at 3 Via Tazzoli provides a dedicated stage for art, fashion, social projects, education, and sustainability.

Fondazione Sozzani not only showcases exhibitions by both established and up-and-coming artists but also serves as a hub for ground-breaking projects addressing crucial issues like environmental and ethical responsibility. One standout initiative is the “I’M CONSCIOUS” project by Istituto Marangoni Milano, developed in partnership with Sara Sozzani Maino and Fondazione Sozzani.

Emerging talents have presented their work under the guidance of Sara Sozzani Maino after a series of masterclasses and talks focused on environmental, social, and cultural responsibility, as well as the ecological transition in the fashion industry. These projects have expanded boundaries by embracing various approaches, all united by the common thread of sustainability. The participating students, spanning disciplines such as Fashion Design, Fashion Styling, and Fashion Business, totalled approximately 600 second-year students, all committed to exploring the theme of conscious fashion within their respective fields of study.

While Fashion Design students created fully upcycled capsule collections, Fashion Styling students curated either editorial photoshoots or short films, and Fashion Business students developed innovative circular fashion business models and communication strategies. A select few of these projects, which highlighted the intersection of eco-friendly fashion with social and cultural inclusivity, were chosen for the grand finale of the “I’M CONSCIOUS” event.

“It’s incredible to witness how diversity acts as a source of inspiration and innovation” – Sara Sozzani Maino, Creative Director of Fondazione Sozzani and International New Talent and Brands Ambassador at Milano Fashion Week

This important event took place as a three-day exhibition at the Fondazione Sozzani spaces in Milan, showcasing the talent of the nine finalists: Laura Szundy, Lou Souchel, Roberto Muscoso, Giulia Gaiati, Aya Dahan, Emilia Wellros, Alessio Pasqualini, Ida Markulf Samuelsson, and Neža Čeferin. Among these exceptional students, three emerged as winners, each presenting the most comprehensive visions for reshaping the industry narrative through innovation and dedicated research. The winners were Giulia Gaiati for Fashion Business, knit designer Lou Suchel for Fashion Design, and Ida Markulf Samuelsson for Fashion Styling.

Sara Sozzani Maino with the winners

Sara Sozzani Maino with the winners of the "I'M CONSCIOUS" project: Giulia Gaiati for Fashion Business, knit designer Lou Suchel for Fashion Design, and Ida Markulf Samuelsson for Fashion Styling
Is Sustainability Fashion’s Essential New Standard? It Absolutely Should

Sara Sozzani Maino, a leading figure in the fashion industry and a dedicated talent scout, shared her invaluable insights on the essential role of sustainability in contemporary fashion. “Sustainability is a fundamental issue,” Sozzani Maino emphasised. “And it’s also about impact and fostering awareness and knowledge through responsible projects that can positively influence the market.” 

“Sustainability is also about fostering awareness and knowledge through responsible projects that can positively influence the market” – Sara Sozzani Maino

Additionally, Sozzani Maino highlighted the crucial role of showcasing emerging talent. “It’s essential to offer a platform for new voices and innovative ideas,” she stated. “Through initiatives like ‘I’M CONSCIOUS’ today and Vogue Talents over the years, we’ve cultivated synergies that have brought visibility to numerous talented creatives from diverse backgrounds.”

“It is crucial to provide platforms for new voices and innovative ideas” – Sara Sozzani Maino

 According to Sara Maino, sustainability has an essential role in contemporary fashion

Some of the "I'M CONSCIOUS" clothing pieces showcased at Fondazione Sozzani. According to Sara Sozzani Maino, sustainability has to play an essential role in contemporary fashion
Future Fashion Leaders Unveil Sustainable Fashion Potential at Fondazione Sozzani Exhibition

At 3 Via Tazzoli, Fondazione Sozzani underwent a three-day transformation, emerging as the quintessential stage to explore the future of sustainable fashion through the lens of emerging talents.

As Fondazione Sozzani hosted the exhibition showcasing the works of the nine finalists of the “I’M CONSCIOUS” project, it didn’t just present a series of projects blending aesthetics with social and environmental commitment to its diverse audience. It highlighted the fresh visions of emerging creative minds — the fresh talent and disruptive ideas of tomorrow’s fashion players.

Sara Sozzani Maino remarked, “All the young talents have investigated sustainability, offering intriguing perspectives,” addressing the importance of personal narratives in shaping unique approaches to sustainable projects. “The standout students are those who fearlessly experimented, bringing forth originality. They embraced freedom and took bold risks,” she continued. “This spirit of freedom and innovation is essential for dismantling barriers and introducing fresh ideas within the fashion industry.”

“Fostering a spirit of freedom and innovation is essential for dismantling barriers and introducing fresh ideas within the fashion industry” – Sara Sozzani Maino

Undoubtedly, “I’M CONSCIOUS,” among other initiatives spearheaded by Fondazione Sozzani, stands as a pivotal advancement towards a more inclusive, sustainable, and ethical-driven fashion industry. Such endeavours underscore Fondazione Sozzani’s continued role as a pioneer in championing creative diversity and shaping the trajectory of fashion’s future. 

“Never stop dreaming. It’s the best path to growth” - Sara Sozzani Maino

Concluding her remarks, Sara Sozzani Maino imparted invaluable advice to the youth: “Never stop dreaming. It’s the best path to growth. Stay true to yourselves, to your values, and never abandon them.”

Some of the clothing pieces (and related creative inspiration moodboards) showcased at Fondazione Sozzani

Some of the "I'M CONSCIOUS" clothing pieces (and related creative inspirational moodboards) showcased at Fondazione Sozzani. 



Agnese Pasquinelli
Fashion Business, Digital Communication & Media student, 3rd year, Milan