Sustainable fashion trends

Design competition and fashion show in Italy

Sustainability has become a buzzword in recent years. Global developments such as the world’s growing population, climate protection and high resource consumption present enormous challenges to companies. As producers and service providers, they are challenged to reduce their ecological footprint. Sustainability has been anchored in Freudenberg’s Business Principles for more than 165 years. Illustrating the technology group’s sustainability, the sector Apparel of the business group Freudenberg Performance Materials recently held a design competition with a fashion show in Verona, Italy, where schoolchildren and university students were encouraged to design sustainable fashions using the groups materials.

Sustainability as the key to innovation – last March, Freudenberg Performance Materials called on fashion and design schools throughout Europe to submit designs for sustainable apparel. Forty-five students from 23 European fashion and design schools in Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Poland and Spain took part in the competition and presented their fashions under the “designing sustainably” motto. The jury of ten international members, who work for large fashion companies or are National Chamber of Italian Fashion members, selected the competition winner on September 13. They named the most sustainable design concepts in the following three categories: Innovation, Design and Production. Before the award ceremony, there was a special surprise for the candidates: They were able to see their creations on a real catwalk with professional models. The winners also received 2,000 euros in prize money.

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from 23 European fashion and design schools took part in the competition.

Innovation category

The first prize in the Innovation category went to Nuria Costa and Ane Castro of Spain’s Esdi Fashion Institute. The winning duo said of their design: “We produced our fashions with a 3D printer and an embroidery machine with digital controls. We could thus make sure we only produced and used as much material as we needed – without any production waste.”

Production category

Andrea Piva from Italy’s Naba School won first place in the Production category: “Since I started in fashion, I have always worked with high-quality materials. So I really wanted to take part in the Freudenberg fashion contest: I identify closely with the company’s sustainable approach and products.” Piva uses local products for his fashion pieces. He only uses Italian wool, thus saving emissions associated with the transport of materials from abroad.

Design category

Lorena Mazo French from the Esmod Fashion School in Lyon, France, won first prize in the Design category. “Every day I see so much packaging in the stores, at my house, on the streets, in rivers and lakes. It will not all be recycled and litters our environment. I wanted to reuse the packaging and work with it in my fashion pieces. We need to fight a big battle for our environment – so I also named my collection ‘Our Riot’,” she said after the event.

A stage for networking

The competition is intended to bring talented young designers together with the European textile industry and emphasize the importance of sustainability as a foundation for innovation. Freudenberg uses the initiative to provide a platform where colleagues and talented young designers can network with the main players in the textile industry. “I was impressed by the participants’ creativity. Even better was how natural they were in their approach to sustainability,” says Uli Scherbel, General Manager Freudenberg Performance Materials Apparel.

After the award ceremony, Freudenberg organized a customer event with some 600 guests at the Gran Guardia, the historic Veronese palace from the early 17th century. The panel discussion focused on the topic of “Sustainability as Innovation Driver”. Francesca Romana Rinaldi, Director New Sustainable Fashion at the Milan Fashion Institute, hosted the discussion: “The fashion industry is one of the largest industries in the world. Unfortunately, it also consumes a large amount of water and many of the chemicals it uses have a negative impact on our environment. So sustainable fashion is becoming ever more important both for suppliers and customers.”

The fashion industry is one of the largest industries in the world. So sustainable fashion is becoming ever more important both for suppliers and customers.

Francesca Romana Rinaldi, Director New Sustainable Fashion at the Milan Fashion Institute

Fashion shows at Freudenberg

As far back as the 1950s, Freudenberg has organized its own fashion shows. The first Vlieseline Fashion Show with its own models was held in 1953 for members of the women’s apparel industry.

A decade later it was presented to an international audience of experts. In 1972 the shows celebrated a large birthday with the 50th collection from its own fashion label.


Sustainable Action

Sustainability is an integral component of Freudenberg Performance Materials` product cycle. The Business Group pursues the goal of achieving the lowest possible CO2 footprint and pays close attention to the raw materials used and environmentally friendly production processes. The Freudenberg Group provided sustainable interlinings for the candidates’ creations used in the competition. The raw materials are produced using recycled fibers.

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