London College of Fashion, San Patrignano

Making for Change: fashion can promote social inclusion and one’s own getting back in the game

San Patrignano collaborates with UAL London College of Fashion in London (LCF) and with the social enterprise Making for Change in a partnership that combines state-of-the-art design and craftsmanship to create social change.

Born from an idea of ​​the Zegna Foundation, the project “Conscious Contemporary Tailoring” combines the talents of each of the three companies involved, enhancing craft skills and the ability to conceive and innovate, with an emphasis on recovery and integration values.

Anna Zegna highlighted, “Conscious Contemporary Tailoring is a special project already for its name: three key words bring value to people at the center of the initiative, the actuality of the inspiration and the stylistic and textile horizons of the idea”. The London College of Fashion, the weaving sector of San Patrignano and the Zegna Foundation have created something extraordinary that combines the dexterity of ancient crafts with the innovative technologies and new lines of creativity. It is a project that I am particularly close to, because its committed to ethic principles that were so dear to my grandfather, having remained intact in the spirit and commitment of the Zegna Foundation“.

The project starts from the weaving workshop of San Patrignano. In February 2017, Tom Adams, a professor of the BA (Hons) Fashion Technology degree of LCF for male clothes and LCF former student, designer Bethany Williams, were at San Patrignano to create hand-woven fabrics together with the female residents of the community by interlacing industrial waste materials, or textile fibers, paper or plastic wires.

These fabrics were the basis and the inspiration for a contest of ideas involving 70 fashion students of male clothes from the UAL London College of Fashion. On June the 28th, this second phase ended, with the weaving sector of San Patrignano. Unique samples were produced, out of six finalist projects by the college commission.

During the summer all finished fabrics will pass from the hands of the weavers of San Patrignano to those of Women of Making for Change, a fashion training unit and fashion company based in a female prison in the UK. Here the winning sketches will take shape.

“We are really excited to have participated together with the Fondazione Zegna and San Patrignano, to this truly collaborative project with the common goal of supporting and rehabilitating. This project is part of the Better Lives area, a term we use at LCF to describe how fashion can be used as a discipline to guide into a change, build a sustainable future, and improve our way of life. As head of the London College of Fashion, I’ve been involved in Better Lives for some time, and I know that education is a key factor in the rehabilitation process while keeping people away from the penitentiary facilities. Social enterprises such as Making for Change and San Patrignano are vital to provide access to companies where creativity is central; Offering individuals the opportunity to become independent and contribute to society more positively and I firmly believe that, talent and creativity, do not have social or cultural boundaries”, notes Frances Corner OBE, lecturer and number one of London College of Fashion, UAL.

Making for Change is a social enterprise created by the London College of Fashion UAL and the UK’s Ministry of Justice, which provides professional skills and employment to help prisoners re-enter society to build a better life for themselves and for their families.

The project intends to further promote the awareness of two very different social realities, but similar to the strong orientation towards getting one’s own act together with the inclusion of the individual in society. It will also help young designers to understand that fashion and creativity can be very powerful tools for personal and social change.

As explained by Antonella Boari, San Patrignano Textile Manager: “The weavers, resident to San Patrignano, were excited about joining the project, being able to confront themselves with young designers, such as Bethany Williams, who spent two weeks with us in the community, it was a unique enriching opportunity, which has generated a reciprocal exchange through the expressive language of fashion, capable of breaking social and linguistic boundaries. It was also a confirmation that the loom, that is ancient and precious, can be applied and seen in the use of an old manual to a contemporary taste. ”

“Conscious Contemporary Tailoring” is a research project where the talent of designers of tomorrow is intertwined with the skills of the weavers of San Patrignano with the excellence of the women of The Making for Change unit; The challenge is also within the invention of unpublished uses for materials produced for other purposes, such as cardboard, electrical wires, rubber belts. The final part of the project will be in fall 2017 when the latest tailoring details will be completed and a small collection of clothing and accessories will be ready to be presented to the general public. Environment, social inclusion and talent become convergent themes with connections being explored in a process of collaboration to approach innovative solutions.