May 15, 2023

Can fashion make a difference?

Watch the video of the Conference “Making fashion last!” at BASE Milano, the 3rd of March 2023.

Fashion is often considered futile or superfluous compared to other social phenomenons, however – in history – it has always been crucial for the communication and representation of social status, professional roles and personal identity at large.

If we consider fashion garments as metamorphic objects that bring our identity to a higher narration, fashion is enriched with a deeper meaning and power of expression: what we wear interposes between the inner world and the cosmos as objects able to convey messages and personalities that the body alone cannot deliver.

This form of communication has twofold attributes: technical and emotional, that are both strictly connected and intertwined to one’s personal sphere and sensitivity. Garments are “personalities pret-a-porter” (E.Coccia, 2017) and for this reason the fashion industry is one of the favorite victims of marketing and the capitalistic economy.

Always relying on people’s emotional aspect, fashion marketing prompts us to believe that our identity is constantly evolving and that we always need new outfits to communicate ourselves. By leveraging on the identity and people’s emotional nature, fashion marketing strongly influences lifestyle and consumption habits.

Indeed, fashion is one of the world’s most important industries, driving a significant part of the global economy and moving around 1.7 trillion dollars as global revenue (McKinsey, 2021). If on the one hand this sounds overwhelming, on the other it encompasses a huge power that could be channeled in a less harmful, more innovative and creative way, bringing a positive vision for a more sustainable future.

Fashion is therefore an interesting playground to imagine and design a new transformation because it encompasses culture and business. The challenge for all that work in the fashion realm, from designers to brands, from artists to policy makers, is here and looking for a new possible direction.

Six experts with different perspectives and backgrounds gathered – a few days after the Milan Fashion Week, to discuss how fashion can make a difference and what it should care about for a less harmful future, “trying to reach a level of fairness that excludes exploitation of natural resources and social environments” (M.Gilgenmann).

The conference has been moderated by Alessandro Masserdotti, head of RD and CTO of OpenDot and Dotdotdot. Following is the list of the speakers:

  • Emanuele Coccia, philosopher / Talk about fashion and identity
  • Cosimo Dorato, Creative Manager di Oakley / Talk about trends
  • Mirko Gradi, Product Sustainability & Circularity Manager Golden Goose / Talk about business challenges
  • Paolo Naldini Director of Cittadellarte Fashion B.E.S.T. Biella / Talk about holistic educ-action
  • Liat Rogel, PM of Centrinno project from the Municipality of Milan / Talk about urban policy
  • Max Gilgenmann, co-chairperson Fashion Revolution Germany / Talk about collective actions


Enjoy the discussion!


Story by Opendot

Blog post credits

Marta Savoldelli