Meet Camilla Carrara who at 25 has already accomplished her childhood dream of becoming a designer. From modelling DAS playdough as a youngster to creating strong, effortlessly timeless silhouettes, Camilla is carving a name for herself as leader in sustainable design with her label Zerobarracento. Launched last year in Berlin, Zerobarracento already has a number of accolades including being part of Berlin Fashion Week (January 2016) and the Fast Fashion Exhibition at Deutsche Hygiene-Museum, placings in the Creative Conscience Award and Recycling Design Prize (by Marta Herford Museum & Sparkasse) and a mentorship from Christine Fehrenbach (Manufactum GMBH & CO), with many more surely on the horizon. Now based back in her hometown of Milan to be closer to production, Camilla talks to us about her motivations for pursuing fashion design, and sustainable design in particular, as well as future plans for Zerobarracento.
The Fashion Conversation: You gained a BA in Fashion Design from Politcechnico di Milano before pursuing the MA Sustainability in Fashion at ESMOD Berlin? What inspired you to study fashion, and subsequently sustainable fashion design?
Camilla Carrara: Since I was I child I wanted to become a designer. I chose fashion design simply because I have a strong passion for clothing and because I knew I was stronger at designing clothing compared to furniture or other objects in general. Perhaps not the strongest motivation? But I think that understanding your personal abilities is the first step to really do something good in life. During my BA I learnt that what makes me feel most excited are fabrics, so I decided to move in the direction of textile and looking for a MA in this direction I found out the ESMOD MA Sustainability in Fashion. I thought that creating my fabrics in a responsible way could be my contribution to improving the textile production chain. I am one of those people that aims to build a better situation step by step, I’m not a revolutionary, but I do care of my surrounding.
TFC: How did you become interested in zero-waste fashion design specifically?
CC: During the MA at ESMOD I had the chance to participate in a workshop organised by hessnatur (a leader for sustainable fashion) which focused on zero waste design. I met David Telfer, a real icon of zero waste design and gained a deeper understanding of what zero waste can be. I see zero waste design as the strongest tool to really give value to fabrics. It’s also a real challenge – I couldn’t compromise my aesthetic for it, so a big number of trials is needed to achieve what is desired.
TFC: How would you describe your design aesthetic? Who is your favourite designer and why?
CC: The Zerobarracento aesthetic is extremely linear and contemporary but still refined and timeless. Fabrics are the main characters of the collections and volumes are created directly on bodies. I’m naturally attracted by the cleanness of lines, and have always loved Armani, in particular his first collections. Right now I’m also really appreciating Isabel Marant for the material choices.
TFC: What were your motivations for launching Zerobarracento?
CC: One of the key motivations for launching Zerobarracento is to highlight the values of sustainable ‘Made in Italy’. Our suppliers are the real makers of change. Usually Italy is not seen as one of the countries that is really working hard in this field, but, by doing a lot of thorough research, I found several companies that are really innovating and working hard to improve their production. I also personally spend a lot of time “vis à vis” with suppliers to find the best solutions for Zerobarracento.
TFC: What are your future plans for Zerobarracento?
CC: Thanks to the economical support of hessnatur, the Zerobarracento winter collection will be in stores from September. We are also looking for sale channels in several countries. Right now, we have created a zero waste ‘ad hoc’ outift and have been selected as one of 20 finalists in the Mad mood competition.The winner will have the chance to be on the runway at Milan Fashion Week and also be sponsored for the production of a capsule collection, so… FINGERS CROSSED!
I’m also working at C.L.A.S.S. having the chance to get in touch with the best practice examples of responsible innovation and I just received a scholarship by Salvatore Ferragamo and Fondazione Clima e Sostenibilità to do a research project on Italian sustainable production.
TFC: What gets you out of bed in the morning?
CC: Each day gives me something unique, it’s exhausting but I am pretty sure that, if I will keep working this way, good things will keep on coming.