The future of Slow Fashion, between Haute Couture and Prêt-à-porter. Interview with Alec Ross
Luca Litrico interviews Alec Ross, former consultant of President Barack Obama. They talk about the future of Slow Fashion, and what differences are now between Haute Couture and Prêt-à-porter after the pandemic.
Alec Ross was the tech and innovation consultant of Hillary Clinton during the administration Obama. He currently lives in Bologna where he’s working as Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Business School of the city.
Luca Litrico is the third generation leading Sartoria Litrico, the family tailoring Atelier founded in 1951 that always worked in the field of sustainable fashion.
Luca reached out with Alec for a chat about Slow Fashion, Green Economy, and the changes we are facing in the fashion world.
LUCA: Hi Alec, thank you for accepting this interview with us. At the Bologna Business School, you teach technology and geopolitics, and you also know the city very well because you have already been there 25 years ago to study medieval history. I know that your interests are wide, and include also the Fashion world, one of the Italian strategic industries all around the world. You’ve just published your new book, “The Raging 2020’s”, and it resonates with one question I’m reflecting on since the first start of the pandemic outbreak. During the first lockdown, I always wondered about where Fashion will be in the future and what will be the role of Slow Fashion. The Haute Couture Atelier with their bespoke creations is back in the spotlight thank to their sustainable nature because they have a knee for the raw materials chosen for the creations. Each little Atelier works under profound respect for the fabrics, chosen wisely, for the environment, because Slow Fashion means work with less waste possible and for the Client, who is the canvas in which the artisan can bring to life the most unique creation. We do all of this following a long, important, artistic tradition, the backbone of the tailoring work.
ALEC: Fashion is not the first sector that comes to mind when most people think of the environmental impact. But fashion is responsible for 10 percent of the world’s carbon emissions and 20 percent of the world’s wastewater, more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. Most people do not realize the wastefulness of their wardrobes, but at its current growth rate, the fashion industry will produce a quarter of the world’s carbon emissions by the year 2050. Some brands do not mind cashing in on humanity’s shopping sprees, but others have pioneered a more sustainable approach to clothing their customers. Most prominent among them is the atelier of Alta Moda because of their values and approach. This makes it more environmentally responsible and more attractive to consumers.
LUCA: In wich way the Green Economy, the sustainable fashion and the Slow Fashion, can work together with new technologies, also in the materials? And how can we “save” the global industry, and the workers, that has jobs in the Fashion World, from textile clothing to footwear and leather goods?
ALEC: Green Economy, sustainable fashion, and Slow Fashion can use emerging technologies in a variety of ways. Technology is only a tool, but it is a powerful tool. For too long, fashion has been a “dirty” industry. The only way that it can become a more clean, sustainable industry is to follow the leadership set out by those in sustainable fashion e Slow Fashion. The tools of big data are proving to be one of the most important resources we have to achieve our sustainability goals. It allows us to be more “precise” and in so doing to reduce waste. It allows us to make the most of what we have. In this case, it is an example of how technology can enable our humanity, rather than reduce our humanity.
By thanking Alec Ross for his availability, we remember that his book “ The Raging 2020’s” is dedicated to anyone interested in deepening these issues.