It was crucial to prove that top-tier fashion design could tell positive stories about the planet and the people involved
Livia Firth

When Carlo Capasa, President of the CNMI (the Italian Chamber of Fashion), told me he wanted to launch the first ever Oscars of sustainable fashion, The Green Carpet Fashion Awards, we immediately started work to deliver it. Most of the luxury fashion world has ties with Italy – whether because of the big brands like Armani, Gucci, Valentino, Versace and Prada, or because of its amazing textile mills and factories. Italy is unique in this way as it’s still where designers and producers work in partnership. Craftsmanship remains a vital part of the industry and the handprint of fashion – the impact of the supply chain on the people who make the clothes – is clearly visible. The Italian government has been instrumental in supporting the project and the inaugural 2017 event at La Scala in Milan was a huge success.

The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange project is another great achievement, in which we united artisans and designers from member countries. It also represents an incredible collaboration of the forces within the industry that have made it happen, including The Woolmark Company, and, of course, Swarovski, which has been instrumental in connecting artisans from all over the world in its work with Swarovski Foundation partner Nest, a US-based nonprofit created to support the handworker economy.

When I’m asked about my drive and passion, I believe it’s about understanding how we are all interconnected. When I started meeting garment workers, rancheros, artisans, woolgrowers and the many different people working in supply chains, I was able to hear their stories first hand. I could no longer pretend I didn’t know about their struggles and their dreams. I was aware of how their experiences were interwoven with the products that we consume. It’s those stories that drive me.

If I have to think about one particular ‘moment’ that stands out, I will say that I don’t think about life in terms of accomplishments. However, any time you seize an opportunity that life has thrown at you and you’ve made it count – whether that be work, family, friends, travel or business – well, that’s an accomplishment.

This story appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2018 issue of SALT magazine.

Image: Livia Firth in vintage Capucci at The Green Carpet Fashion Awards. Credit: Riccardo Giordano Sicki/IPA/Rex/Shutterstock