During this year’s sustainable fashion celebration, Suzy Menkes was presented with the Visionary Award and Sinéad Burke was honoured for her support of industry diversity. Five young creatives, meanwhile, were on tenterhooks waiting to see whether they had won the Franca Sozzani Green Carpet Challenge Award for Best Emerging Designer after presenting an environmentally-friendly red-carpet look to a panel of judges, including Edward Enninful, Livia Firth and Natalie Kingham, in July.
It was Gilberto Calzolari who scooped up the top prize on the night for his striking dress crafted from jute coffee bags. Originally crafted in Brazil, Calzolari purchased the sacks from the Navigli market in Milan where they are sold to use as barriers to curb the flooding of canals, a growing concern due to climate change. In recognition for his work, Calzolari will receive a year-long mentorship programme from the Bicester Village Shopping Collection by Value Retail, the opportunity to present his work during Milan Fashion Week in February 2019, and retail space in Fidenza Village’s 2019 Creative Spot boutique, a pop-up showcasing up-and-coming design talent.
“Gilberto’s work was beautifully executed and could have been a great piece in any material,” Natalie Kingham, fashion and buying director at Matchesfashion.com, told Vogue of his hessian fabrics that were also embellished with Swarovski's lead-free Advanced Elements crystals. “The story behind it added to its charm and beauty.”
To keep the topic of sustainability at the forefront of a growing conversation, the other four finalists – Teatum Jones, Davide Grillo, Wrad and Behno – will also continue to receive support from the parties involved in the CNMI Green Carpet Talent Competition. Each designer will have access to the Bicester Village Shopping Collection’s retail experts and the chance to show their designs in the Villages during 2019. The work of Sozzani, who was dedicated to supporting the next generation throughout her lifetime, continues in more resourceful ways than ever.