Can that – old cans make new bags - Fair-a-Porter


Bags from the latest Carmina Campus collection ©instagram/carminacampus

Can that – old cans make new bags

Ilaria Venturini Fendi’s new collection

Who doesn’t know the big Italian fur dynasty Fendi? One of the first things that comes up to my mind when I think about Fendi is luxury fashion and real fur, which are definitely not so ethical! However, there is one member of the Fendi family who has decided to create something different and prove that high luxury fashion can be more than a simple synonym of luxury and waste. I am talking about Ilaria Venturini Fendi, who created the Carmina Campus brand in 2006, based on ethical sustainability and fashion through a unique model of beauty, luxury and consumer responsibility.

Carmina Campus © PR

Carmina Campus © PR

Ilaria fuses her work with the environmental values she believes in and personally lives by. She matches her designer knowledge with the skilled craftsmanship of Italian artisans in the making of bags, accessories and furniture with all sorts of recycled materials. One of Carmina Campus credo is to constantly reuse materials, which should become common practice with the goal to preserve a balanced relation with the environment.

© PR

© PR

© PR

© PR

Among her projects, she started working in Africa in collaboration with the International Trade Centre ( ITC), a UN-WTO joint agency to produce semi-finished items that would be used in a special made in Italy line. The project was supporting a community of disadvantaged women in Cameroon. NOT CHARITY, JUST WORK is the slogan shared by Carmina Campus and the ITC.

The “Vibram” Collection created by Vibram with up to 30% of reclaimed rubber scraps © PR

“Brick” tote resembling a brick assembly, a tessellated pattern is composed of tiny rectangural all-leather or all-fur offcuts stitched together © PR

Furthermore, in a collaboration with Socially MadeinItaly, a group of social work institutions with a history of rehabilitation programs within Italian prisons, Carmina Campus provides training and support in a number of hubs located within prisons. The final goal of the project is to offer prisoners an opportunity to support themselves while in jail without being a burden for society while also increasing their future opportunities of being reintegrated into society once their sentence is served.

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The “Made in prison” collection made from prison blankets and eco-denim, with prints and leather or fur inserts © PR

When it comes to sourcing materials, Carmina Campus collects vintage, unused and defective materials that do not comply with quality production standards. Each produced item is unique, numbered and lists all the materials that are used for its realization. The list includes soda can bottoms, tin cans, pull tabs and so on… The leather and fur always come from Italian manufacturer color sample swatches or from RTW leftovers. 

Edgy rings made out of can pull tabs © PR

Edgy rings made out of can pull tabs © PR

Messenger bag made of pvc reclaimed from ad signs with a mesh effect obtanied by means of vertical laser cuttings © PR

My favorite thing about Carmina Campus? That the collections are not necessarily seasonal and develop from a given material or special feature. A same style may develop in different variations  or evolve from one collection to another with different materials and assemblages. Definitely a carry on and a good investment that you will be able to keep for more than a season!

The “434 clutch” made of leather sample swatches and other repurposed materials © PR

sauber_kleinTransparent_kleinCarmina Campus meets two of the Fair-a-porter standards: Raw Materials and Transparency. This means that all raw materials must be at least partially certified organic or recycled. In addition, the brand has collaborated with the International Trade Centre (ITC), a joint UN and WTO agency and is now a partner of Socially MadeinItaly, a group of social work institutions that operate within Italian prisons for re-habilitation working programmes. Ilaria Venturini Fendi is a member of “The Circle”, a non-profit organisation created in the UK by Annie Lennox and Livia Firth to promote women’ rights and empowerment. She has received various international awards for spotlighting Ethical Fashion and its place in the future.


Text: Margaux Lombard


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