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Introducing Tonight´s Dialogue
La Pietra Dialogues Green Fashion Committee
La Pietra Dialogues
February 22, 2012

Introduction by Jonathan Hunter and Tara Tosten of the LPD Green Fashion Committee:

The La Pietra Dialogues student committee has been working on this Green Fashion project since September and it is very exciting to see it finally come into fruition.

This Dialogue was inspired by the newspaper article, “Green Dreamer”, an article that reported on a sustainable fashion line by Ilaria Venturini Fendi. After researching green fashion and discovering the importance of eco-friendly clothing, we began to plan an event that would encourage students to get involved. The dialogue is meant to educate students on the subject of Green Fashion, and the two upcoming events, the recycled clothing workshop and the green fashion show, allow students to put their acquired knowledge to use.

Before I begin I would like to thank Ellyn Toscano, our director, for supporting this project and accepting our proposal, Lucia Ferroni, Marija Bazzani, and Megan Metters for helping us bring this event to life. Nick Dakin-Elliot, the Horticultural curator for the Villa La Pietra gardens, for helping us use the greenery from the garden for tonight’s decoration and all of the students who have contributed to the realization of this evening’s dialogue.

We define Green fashion as clothing that is produced in consideration for the environment and social impact. Reducing the fashion industry’s carbon footprint includes both the simple process of recycling clothing as well as using efficient and innovative production techniques to create new clothing; all in an effort to reduce pollution and waste.

For example, on average, about a fifth of a pound of pesticides go into making a single cotton t-shirt, practices such as these lead to serious environmental effects and are the kinds of production methods green fashion is trying to change. Some companies are beginning to embrace a more sustainable way of manufacturing clothes, such as H&M which uses organic cotton, free of pesticides, for some of its t-shirt production. Unfortunately, these businesses are still the minority. Utilizing green techniques during manufacturing would reduce the pollution in the soil, water and atmosphere, greatly lowering the impact the fashion industry has on the Earth.

We believe that the consumer has the ability to influence the fashion industry in that everyone has a choice. Demand drives production. Voting for green fashion can be done easily with each new purchase. By supporting green-fashion lines or by recycling worn clothing to create new ones, a more sustainable industry will begin to emerge.

Tonight’s dialogue with James Ferragamo and Gel Ceccarelli is the first of a series of three student-run events hosted by La Pietra Dialogues. Next month we will have a Green Fashion Workshop, in which students will have the opportunity to take part in the process of recycling clothing. Students will be able to experiment with donated clothes to design and create new outfits that are both sustainable and fashionable. The clothing created will then be modeled in our Green Fashion Show event in April.

I would now like to introduce one of our speakers tonight, James Ferragamo. James currently heads the Women’s Leather goods division of the Ferragamo company, a position he earned after studying marketing and business at NYU stern with a masters in Finance Accounting and International Business. After graduating James worked as a buyer for Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as for the shoe department of the Ferragamo company where he launched a new line of Ferragamo shoes. While James has been running the Women’s Leather Goods division, he has made an effort to incorporate environmentally friendly methods and products into the company by creating the first Ferragamo line to use biodegradable and non-pollutant chemicals on their leather.

Campden Media acclaimed James’s for “pushing the company down a clean tech agenda” with the new collection which launched in spring of 2009. This collection of eco-friendly bags is the first environmentally friendly collection Ferragamo has produced to date, but it is an important move toward sustainability for the company. We hope James will be able to offer interesting insight into the question of whether such a large company can truly be “green” and if Ferragamo has any plans to for continued sustainability efforts.

We are also very pleased to have Gel Egger Ceccarelli in attendance tonight. Gel is currently the Material Research and Development Coordinator for Salvatore Ferragamo and has been with the company for over 30 years.

After initially working in the Public Relation and Advertising Department of Salvatore Ferragamo, Gel became involved in the research and acquisition of materials for shoes and bags. This position gave her the opportunity to work side by side with technicians from several different tanneries and textile industries. Gel’s current position requires she frequently collaborate with suppliers and technicians at fashion and art exhibitions. Her job is to find new ideas and transform already existing ones into new or different products. This role is exemplified in the archive she created to enable stylists to have access to information on the articles they need to find. The purpose of the archive is to stimulate fresh ideas for collections and new materials, by creating a conversation between the past and present. Gel’s knowledge in the process of manufacturing and promotion of fashion products will give a fascinating insight into the realities of fashion production and green fashion techniques.

I would now like to introduce Monica Warek and Caitlin Ryan, our moderators for this evening.

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