CHANT of LIFE

BLKonBLK - - Chant Of Life -

Fendi. All fash­ion fol­low­ers know the name, an Ital­ian lux­ury dy­nasty started by Edoardo and Adele Fendi in 1925 as a fur and leather shop in Via del Plebisc­ito in Rome. The ‘baguette,” sale to LVMH and of course a cre­ative di­rec­tor called Karl Lager­feld are fash­ion legend. It is a global yet oh-sovery-ital­ian brand per­haps best il­lus­trated by Fendi’s 2 mil­lion euro in­ves­ment into up­grad­ingth­at­most­fa­mousofro­man­places, the Trevi Foun­tain. “It’s about ty­ing us with a city that makes mil­lions of peo­ple dream,” says CEO Pi­etro Bec­cari. Yes, the Fendi’s are more Ro­man than just about any­one. So, when­thechance­came­to­visit Ilaria Ven­turini Fendi, youngest daugh­ter of Anna Fendi at her farm on an­cient Etr­uscan land out­side of Rome we jumped at the chance. It is there Ilaria and her ded­i­cated crew have based her own up­cy­cled and evi­ron­men­tally smart la­bel, Carmina Cam­pus. Almost a decade ago Ilaria turned her back on fash­ion and her role as a de­signer at Fendi, leav­ing much of that to her sis­ter Sylvia and pur­chased the mag­i­cal farm I Casali Del Pino with the aim of liv­ing a slower, more or­ganic life. Ilaria has al­ways been re­source­ful and a hater of waste so after sev­eral years work­ing on the farm, she be­gan play­ing around with the con­cept of up­cy­cling and be­gan cre­at­ing bags and ac­ces­sories out of end-of-line scraps from Fendi and else­where. Thus was born Carmina Cam­pus, which is a Latin ci­ta­tion mean­ing “Chants of the Fields.” The company makes bags, ac­ces­sories and even fur­ni­ture - all with Fendi style, cul­ture and her­itage ap­plied - but which uses and reuses ma­te­ri­als that oth­ers pass over or dis­card. This is not “eco­fash­ion” more beau­ti­fully-made prod­ucts fin­ished in a Fendi way. I Casali Del Pino is a vast farm that in­cludes many dif­fer­ent sources of food, in­clud­ing bees. As an api­arist, the Univer­sity of Rome asked her in 2007 to share some of her knowl­edge with bee­keep­ers from Cameroon in Africa. They gifted her a hat which she promptly turned over to cre­ate a bag and her fash­ion flame and con­se­quently, fash­ion jour­ney was reignited. She set up her ini­tial Carmina Cam­pus team and trav­elled to Cameroon to in­ves­ti­gate po­ten­tial pro­duc­tion of the bags, a trip which in turn led to a meet­ing with Si­mone Cipri­ani and the ITC Eth­i­cal Fash­ion Ini­tia­tive. It is a re­la­tion­ship that has blos­somed as hand­somely as the flow­ers on show at the an­nual Flo­rac­ult fes­ti­val held on the farm with Carmina Cam­pus now em­plo­ing 70 Kenyans full time. Clearly Ilaria’s vi­sion and will­ing­ness to work with the ITC Eth­i­cal Fash­ion Ini­tia­tive has opened the door for the col­lab­o­ra­tions to follow: Vivi­enne West­wood, Stella Mccart­ney, Sass & Bide, Karen­walkerand­cor­so­co­moa­mongthem. Like Stella Jean and all of the de­sign­ers we met in Rome, Ilaria has a strong vi­sion for the fu­ture of fash­ion. A place where fash­ion can ini­ti­ate change, pro­vide work and en­rich and em­power cul­ture and peo­ple. Not char­ity, just work! Carmi­nacam­pus web­site

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