By: Alicia Peacock Writer & Journalist | Specialist Arts & European travel

Italy is a country that is synonymous with hand-crafted artisan design, pioneering fashion power-houses and haute couture. So, as consumer habits are erring more towards environmentally responsible, ethical and sustainable fashion brands, it isn’t surprising that the Italians already have countless independent labels ready to meet demand. 

From greater transparency along the production chain to slow-fashion dedicated to limited-edition capsule collections, and made-to-measure brands, the Italian fashion industry is already making great leaps towards a more sustainable future. See below for some of the Italian slow-fashion labels that are grabbing our attention right now. 

Erendira Italia

Erendira Italia is a Bologna-based sustainable fashion brand that was created in 2010 by Catia Bacillieri who had a dream of creating her knitwear line. 100%, made in Italy from 100% Italian yarns, Erendira Italia, works with ethical suppliers to create retro and boho-chic womenswear. 

What to buy: Pastel tones and tribal designs best define Erendira Italia’s slow-fashion collections. The crochet elements of their dresses are made entirely by hand. You can expect light silk-cotton and silk-viscose blend dresses in billowing a-line, sinuous styles, as well as elegant lightweight trousers, skirts and knitwear. 

Francesca Geraci

Francesca Geraci, founder of this Neapolitan slow-fashion chemisier, is dedicated to reimagining the blouse. Each garment is handcrafted and made-to-measure in bold fabrics, silk blends, cottons and brocades. 

What to buy: Italian tailoring at its finest, Francesca Geraci’s shirt dresses are lightweight and bright with practical, hidden pockets, full skirts and seamlessly gathered waistlines for an extra flattering, feminine silhouette.

Where to shop in Italy: As each garment is made-to-measure, it can take up to 10 days for your order to be fulfilled. If you find yourself in Naples, head to Francesa Geraci’s Show Room on the Via del Parco Margherita. If you are staying in one of our luxury villas near Rome, Naples is an hour and a half by train from the Eternal City or 2 hours by car. 

BIFI Italia 

This luxury homeware and lifestyle brand based in Milan is inspired by the rich flora and fauna of South Africa. Whether sumptuous velvet and silk fabric, ceramics, shoes or furniture, BIFI Italia offers a careful selection of products handcrafted by Italian and South African artisans.

What to buy: BIFI Italia’s signature footwear. Revitalising a 19th-century tradition, the soles of Friulane shoes were made from scraps like old bicycle tyres, while the uppers were made from leftover fabric. Today, these upcycled, sumptuous slip-ons are made from quality, velvet fabrics with delicate embroidery. 

Where to shop in Italy: BIFI Italia’s Showroom can be found on the Via Santa Marta in Milan. 

Rifò

In Tuscan dialect, Rifò means “redoing”, which pretty much sums up this sustainable fashion brand’s ethos. Not only are the clothes made 100% in Italy, the entire garment production — including their trusted suppliers — is based within the textile district of Prato, near Florence. The focus at Rifò is on recycled and recyclable textile fibres, repurposed into quality garments. They make clothes in small quantities too, based on pre-sale demand to ensure that nothing is wasted. A percentage of the proceeds from each sale helps fund local projects and causes around Prato as well. 

Rifò Fall/Winter 2021-2022

What to buy: Each Rifò collection is made from recycled yarns. Old garments — mainly cashmere, cotton denim and cotton — are transformed into raw materials and then spun into new yarn, saving energy, water and reducing waste. Expect high-quality staple pieces, like recycled cashmere, cotton knitwear and comfortable t-shirts. 

Souldaze Collection

Founded in 2015 by Domitilla Mattei, Souldaze is a brand committed to ethical and conscious fashion with a low environmental impact. They produce fewer limited-edition collections from natural, recycled, surplus (deadstock) and vintage fabrics. All garments are designed and ethically made in Rome by local seamstresses, and all their suppliers are based in Italy.

What to buy: Souldaze is proof that you don’t have to sacrifice stylish silhouettes to shop more sustainably. Think, boho floral dresses, chic, silk evening wear, cashmere coats and tailored feminine two-piece suits. 

Pietrasanta 

This statement jewellery brand was founded in the small town of Pietrasanta on the Tuscan Coast, north of Pisa. They are committed to more sustainable practices within the fashion industry, which is why each piece of jewellery is handcrafted by a team of artisans in Milan and each premium Italian resin bead is locally sourced. At Pietrasanta, each collection is limited edition and entirely made in Italy. 

What to buy: Inspired by the glamour of 1980s Italian fashion, the statement earrings and necklaces are big, bold and brightly coloured. 

Poethica the Label

Poethica is an ethical, eco-conscious, luxury, slow fashion label that was founded in 2019. They are committed to minimising their environmental impact, using natural, organic fabrics from GOTS certified suppliers, only working with those who can guarantee the safety of their workers. They are entirely transparent about the production processes behind each garment, over 90% of which are cut and sewn in Italy. They are just as against cruelty to animals as they are kind to nature and the people they work with; all their silk is ethically sourced and they are completely plastic-free. Poethica donates 3.3% of all its profits to charities like Greenpeace and the Goodplanet Foundation as well. 

What to buy: Romantic, delicate, feminine, ethereal designs nicely summarises the beautiful garments Poethica creates. These are real investment pieces worth every penny, from organic broderie anglaise blouses to deadstock vintage lace and cruelty-free silk dresses.

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