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«This year, the Fashion Film Festival Milano will speak a different language» says Ms. Cavalli Etro

Best green fashion film category, the three nominated film focus on the need of changing behaviors, circular rethinking and artisanal indigenous textiles

«Not just a celebration of the talent of the Maisons, but a mirror of society. Fashion Film Festival Milano tells of a fashion system that tackles major social issues. No longer closed and elitist, however listens to territories such as gender equality, environment and inclusion, of which it is the interpreter». Affirms Costanza Cavalli Etro, founder and director of the Fashion Film Festival Milano. We explored the Best Green Fashion Film category in order to understand how sustainability communication is evolving in terms of brands and projects recounts.

Fashion Film Festival Milano winner: New world order

New world order, directed by Timur Celikdag for The Travel Almanac Magazine, is the fashion film that won for the Best Green Fashion Film category at the Fashion Film Festival. The film captures a world in which there is no practice of the standard and usual behavior of human beings. The need is to rethink the conduct to change the state of things. A series of elements that are part of the everyday life of every human being on earth seem to take on a dystopian connotation in the film. As if to ask why it has come to this point. Images of natural disasters such as melting glaciers or fires in the middle of the oceans follow one another with those of human beings. 

The voice in the background places blame on the latter; explaining that indeed one person is insignificant to the world. That even if one thinks one can control the future, without change there is no option. Evolution beyond the nature of the human being themselves seems to represent the possibility of having a duty to care; with respect to everything around them. 

Cultural & Social injustices –COVID-19

«Having pushed earth beyond its limits, our quest to colonize Mars as a plan B seems perverse to me. This as well as social networks and surveillance cameras tracking all our movements. The Cultural & Social injustices we witnessed during the last year have inspired the making of this film», explains Celikdag. 

The effects of the actions described by the director are also obvious through symbolic images. For example that of a flower sinking into oil and are only part of the issues that society is facing today. Close your eyes, repeat the voice at the end of the film. The exhortation to think about the past, the actions and the possible changes is clear. 

«The effect of the above is for some parts of our society only a fraction of the issues they are struggling with. They force us to rethink how to do things in a different way. Therefore to treasure the people and things we have in our lives. We don’t get a chance to incorporate subjects like these into fashion stories we create very often», states Celikdag.

Keep moving – Best Green Fashion Film category

Keep moving, directed by Joana Deusdado and Sofia Miranda. One of the films nominated for the Best Green Fashion Film category. The film aims to make people understand the wide waste of clothes often thrown away. Even when they could evolve in different ways. The initial scene shows a pile of clothes stacked all together. 

The criticism is of the habit of disposing easily and without reflection. This is to say those garments that have represented something for the person who has worn them; starting from the form of expression of one’ s being. «One truck load of clothes burns or goes in landfills every second. We need to stop ignoring it», says the voice over. Valérius 360 produced and designed the film, a newborn textile recycling unit and yarn manufacturer. 

Overstock fabrics into new thread

Six are the steps needed to transform overstock fabrics into new threads and paper. This is what the film explains as it enters the laboratories where the project takes place. It continues with some data, explaining briefly how this process can save water, chemicals and energy up to eighty-five percent. 

«Keep Moving is a symbolic narrative that uses minimal visuals; taking viewers through the lifecycle of clothes and the possibilities of textile recycling. Showcasing shapes, colours, textures and facts. Ultimately looking to inspire the audience to think ahead and let fabrics continue towards a sustainable circular movement».

Lampoon, Fashion Film Festival, Rocha, direction Miguel Thomé Oliari and Fernanda Pompermayer
‘The Three Building Blocks’, Directed by Miguel Thomé Oliari and Fernanda Pompermayer for Rocha

Preserving Minangkabau Textiles at Fashion Film Festival Milano

Another film nominated for the Best Green Fashion Film category is Preserving Minangkabau Textiles, directed by Randy F Darius. The production of the film occurred in Indonesia in the area of West Sumatra. Here the tradition of the high-quality textiles, called Songket, has been maintained. 

The protagonists of the film are some women who from their remote villages keep this knowledge and tradition alive. The film could go into the documentary genre; in the way it objectively captures the production of these fabrics step by step. It explains how these indigenous textiles are fundamental in handing down the culture and traditions of the place. Not being reduced to a mere garment but representing a distinctive sign of the identity of the population. 

By the same reason, the film aims to raise awareness of this traditional practice. It is being lost over time, by going after an indigenous community that lives close to the jungle and keeps that alive. «The women have preserved the art of Songket through hand weaving techniques and motives that are generations old. Moreover, this elegant fabric requires complex planning and intricate workmanship. For instance, Songket requires talented artisans and months of hard work to produce this internationally renowned textile», explains it. 

Reovering an ancient and sustainable technique of dyeing fabrics

In the Lintau region the artisans have managed to recover an ancient and sustainable technique of dyeing fabrics. Although the territory and the factories in which they operate are poor and with minimal availability. in the Lintau region the artisans have managed to recover an ancient and sustainable technique of dyeing fabrics. Plants, nuts and wood are some of the natural materials. Artisans select and collect them in the jungle to employ in this process. For instance, this allows us to avoid toxic elements, using materials that contain antioxidants and produce intense and unique colors. 

Indigovera, mahogany and cattapa are some of the used plants and are abundant in the jungle. This also permits the community to sustain itself through the cultivation of these plantations; having the dual purpose of cultural and environmental conservation. The following frames include a series of manual steps.Performed at the loom by the artisans, trying to make evident the particularity of the creation of each fabric. 

«The making of such exotic textiles is more than just dyeing and weaving. It is the patterns themself that creates Songket. The patterns are not just the design of lines, but motifs, which are unique to each culture. Some of these motifs are generations old. Others come from ancestral designs adopted with new concepts; emerging from more recent contemplation», states the closing of the film. Likewhise, the creation of the Limpapeh brand has permitted the artisans to continue their ancient work; in a modern society, taking care of the heritage of their culture.

Lampoon reporting: green side of Fashion Film Festival Milano

All the films shown above explain why it is so difficult to ascribe a univocal meaning to the word sustainability or green. There are many fronts on which one can operate ethically and respect what nature grants, and the communication that these films seem to give is just that. The projects are even more relevant for their direct link to the fashion world, with brands and projects that are in fact trying to act on different fronts in a conscious way. 

The actual visualization of some of the actions that these projects or brands are promoting allows a one hundred percent transparent communication that contrasts with those attempts to persuade behind greenwashing communication forms. The films in this section, even though at times they may seem aesthetic and distant from reality, aim to communicate certain facts, even if only with a few sentences of warning marked by the voice over. 

Fashion Film Festival Milano promoting effective behaviors

Although projects produce them, initiatives and brands that aim at making profits, they manage not to bring out the product itself, but to dwell on a level of inspirationality that wants to promote effective behaviors. In a society in which image prevails over words, the fashion film proves to be an effective communication model, most of all when it approaches social or environmental issues. 

«Now, after eight years of success, the festival has become a 360° cultural project that lives throughout the year with a strong social commitment. An initiative that represents an international point of reference for the world of fashion and cinema, meanwhile being a launching pad for young talents, a project where the big names of fashion and cinema participate alongside emerging ones. To conclude, it is from the union of these two creative forces that a project is born», affirms the festival founder.

What is a fashion film

«A Fashion Film is a short video that expresses fashion in an artistic way. It focus on photography, editing, music, aesthetics, and full of ethical and poetic sense. Far from commercial purposes, it talks about fashion by enlarging our vision of the world and of the contemporary world. Above all, it is the new communication medium used by fashion to express itself in the digital era». This is the definition given by the festival itself about fashion films.

In 2022, the Fashion Film Festival Milano saw for the eighth edition the creation of an event capable of collecting and proposing new formats of communication from all over the world.

A platform of exchange and launch for young authors

Therefore, the festival aims to be a platform of exchange and launch for young authors who are trying their hand at the production of fashion films. In addition that permits emerging talents to dialogue with the established fashion houses or professionals. These active in the audiovisual productions for the fashion industry. More than one thousand projects participated from fifty-eight countries. 260 are the countries selected to compete for the different categories and awards; such as the people’s choice award, won by the audience most voted film. 

Fashion Film Festival Milano

An event realized in collaboration with Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana. With the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and ICE-Agenzia.

Chiara Narciso

The writer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article.

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