Cinzia Calarco on colour, texture and all things ethical and sustainable women's fashion

As soon as the sun comes out, my layers come off and I’ll take any opportunity I can get to soak up the rays. There’s nothing better than the feeling of the sun on my skin after three months of a Melbourne winter. 

Welcoming the warmer months also comes with a more colourful wardrobe, and the Botswana Dress is a Spring wardrobe staple. It's ethically made in Noosa on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, and it’s a great layering piece for all-year wear too. It’s Australian designed and Australian made, sustainable, made with eco-friendly stonewashed linen, and vegan. I’m wearing a size 10, and it’s comfortable, breathable and super fun to twirl in too, plus the straps are adjustable for a flexible fit. 

It's just one of the bright and beautiful pieces in No.22's range, designed by Cinzia Calarco. The No.22 range is full of bold prints, perfect for pairing outfits from the beach to an evening dinner. Cinzia stepped away from the studio to share more about her colourful and transeasonal range, and what 'ethical fashion' really means to her... 

Why are you passionate about ethical fashion?
Every collection I create is the result of a creative process, the summary of who I am and my values.

For me, fashion is an artistic expression and as such it must be ethical because through art we convey a message that influences people’s lives. My fashion takes inspiration from the outside world and its uniqueness that I love and respect. And those who love the world do not put at risk the lives of people and the planet.

For me, ethical fashion is the only way to do fashion.

Why are you passionate about sustainability in the fashion industry?
I am aware that the fashion industry is primarily responsible for global pollution, the consumption of the planet's resources and climate change. Knowing that I am part of it even on a small scale forces me to always review the way I deal with this business.

I am happy to have always contributed in a sustainable way with all the choices I have made. I have always loved natural materials that can be easily recycled. In my production process, I have invested in local people in my community, and it is from those people which I have learned the most over the years. Above all, for me, sales have always been a means of educating my customers to love and appreciate handmade and sustainable products that stand the test of time.

Why do you do what you do?
Fashion is the expression of my creativity that lives inside of me, it gives me the opportunity to shape, design and colour the world that is around me. I wake up in the morning and feeling lucky because I can do what I love every day. It’s challenging and not always easy, but it gives me a lot of satisfaction, and when I see women looking and feeling wonderful with something that I created, it inspires me to keep going!

Your collection is trans-seasonal. What design process do you go through when creating a range that can be worn year-round?
I totally embrace trans-seasonal dressing in my collections. Layering is typically the best way to move from one season to another. I define my collection with moments into a woman life, I like to tell her story.

In the last Safari collection, she travels through Africa visiting beautiful lands, immersing herself into the colours of a safari. I imagine her going from the morning to the evening playing with her wardrobe. She adds layers to her outfit such as a wool blazer for the chill sunrise watching the animals waking up, through to the hot morning sightseeing with her light silk top and a very flattering rayon palazzo pants, finally moving into the evening sunset with a beautiful long sleeves dress covered with a colourful soft wool scarf.

No.22 is greatly inspired by Italian traditions and culture. What is the biggest difference in your opinion between the Italian and Australian fashion industries?
I grew up in a cultural environment that has always respected and exalted excellence. Being surrounded by genius, beauty and art can be overwhelming and stimulating at the same time. We have always exported Made in Italy abroad and in the last 20 years we have imported fast fashion from overseas, but culturally it does not belong to us.

I believe that the main difference between Italian and Australian fashion lies in its past and its roots. When I look at Australian fashion I see its contemporaneity and its look to the future. When I look at Italian fashion I see its past full of memories where timeless elegance is enclosed. I like being here and having the opportunity to experience two different cultures, trying to invent new forms of expression.

Support a sustainable fashion future and shop the full No.22 range here. 

The Fashion Advocate x 







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