Unveiled in Milan last June, Etro's new 2015 Spring-Summer collection is based on agricultural biodiversity with the slogan "you are what you eat".
Made of natural fibers (nettles, bamboo, soy and banana leaves) and using the theme of food (clams, pasta with vegetables and floral compositions that recall the works of Arcimboldo, and thus the mascot of Milan's Expo 2015), the clothes pay tribute to Italian excellence, in both food culture and high fashion. The primary novelty of this venture however has been the support that stylist Kean Etro has given to Slow Food's initiatives, particularly Terra Madre and the 10,000 gardens in Africa project.
His fashion house in Italy has recently adopted a community garden in Saba Igbajo, Nigeria. The garden is cultivated by a group of young farmers (six men and two women aged 22 to 33 years old) who have decided to convert their system of production using Slow Food's philosophy of good, clean and fair. Made up of a few plots of land organized throughout the community (in the Oyo region in the south-west of Nigeria), the garden is home to various vegetables, grains and fruits (yams, cassava, cocoyam, watermelons, cucumbers, corn, millet, peanuts and pineapples).
Benjamin Olaniran Olatilo and his seven colleagues in the community of Saba Igbajo have thus virtually walked down the catwalk with the top names in the fashion world, representing the force and determination of countless African farmers and ranchers.
Etro has plans to adopt two more gardens in the coming years, and has also invited his stylist colleagues to contribute to the cultivation of Africa's future.