Milan designers embrace sustainability and Gen-Z’s influence

MILAN (AP) — The growing influence of Generation Z was clear on the second day of Milan Fashion Week: Emporio Armani unveiled an “upcycled” capsule collection, Dolce&Gabbana filled their front row with teenage champions of the Tic-Tok social media platform. Tailoring was mindful of youthful preferences.

The younger generation is increasingly driving trends and the growth of menswear sales, according to Italian National Fashion Chamber President Carlo Capasa.

Fall/Winter 2021 is shaping up to be ‘’the year of the new tailoring,” Capasa said, with clear streetwear influences in more formal dressing. Cuts are looser and patterns are a bit bolder. Also on runways: chunky knitwear and cross-body purses are new menswear protagonists.

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EMPORIO ARMANI-RECYCLED

Emporio Armani unveiled a capsule collection of 18 upcycled garments, which designer Giorgio Armani said was only ‘’the start of the discussion.’’

Milan fashion houses are making more public their efforts to create sustainable collections, especially as consumers indicate that environmental consciousness as a key purchasing criterion. It is fitting that Armani launched the initiative with his Emporio Armani line for youthful dressers.

All of the garments – puffer coats, cargo pants, jumpsuits, ribbed cardigans, among them – were in black and white, easy to mix and match. Many carried bold writing – ‘’I Am Saying Yes to Recycling’’ – and a new R-EA logo.

Armani said his aim was not to promote his name, but ‘’the Earth.”

‘’Also in the main collection, I think we should make more recyclable fabrics. This is the beginning of the discussion,’’ Armani pledged.

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YOUTHFUL TAILORING AT EMPORIO ARMANI

Giorgio Armani took traditional menswear textiles — Prince of Wales plaid, chevrons and checks– and glammed them up to suit the younger Emporio Armani man.

That included enlarging the patterns, as if through a magnifying glass, ‘’to create something new,’’ the designer said, or adding a smattering of crystal studs and beads to traditionally cut suits.

‘’This is the dilemma, to use this medium, that we make available especially for young people, in a way that it does not become either grotesque or too feminine,’’ Armani said. ‘’But at a certain point, I say, we need some courage, to get beyond tradition a little bit.’’

Armani dubbed the looks “Classic Pro,” pro for progressive. Key accessories included cross-body purses and puffy shoulder cozies than can prove functional on top of an over-coat or under a jacket. The color palette was mostly neutrals with a streak of black and red combos — two colors that Armani said hold their own together.

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INFLUENCERS MEET TRADITION AT DOLCE & GABBANA

Designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana put their fashion house’s artisans on full display during the Dolce&Gabbana runway show for Fall/Winter 2020/21. Knitwear specialists sat in the showroom foyer, knitting together four strands of yarn, to create the sort of chunky sweaters with Lurex detailing that would later fill the runway. A watchmaker tinkered with dials nearby, and a goldsmith assembled jewelry.

The artisans’ presence highlighted the brand’s DNA, but also the shared heritage that has made Italy the largest producer of luxury goods in the world.

The Dolce&Gabbana collection was softer than usual, with models enveloped in generous knitwear, from big-stitch sweaters to jumpsuits or long-johns, to full-on cable-knit double-breasted suits.

A model wearing a Jon Snow-style woolly black coat carried an actual living lamb down the runway, as the designers sought to link the finished product with its source.

There were a few sartorial notes, like a double-breasted suit worn with a small cross-body bag cinched with a watch chain. But the mood was cozier than business or evening sleek, featuring rich velvet and corduroy, knitwear knapsacks, distressed work boots and earthy tones.

The designers invited the top U.S., British and Italian influencers from the video platform Tik Tok to the front row. Seventeen-year-old Loren Gray was in from Los Angeles, wearing a gold puffer jacket and virtually accompanied by her 37.2 million Tik Tok followers.

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