In a world where a piece of clothing can be bought for the price of a cup of coffee, it’s all too easy to forget the time, labour and effort that goes into garment production. But thanks to rising public interest in ethical consumption, some fashion industry insiders are taking a stand against the wasteful ways of fast fashion. One such personality is creator Lina Miccio, the creative mind behind the newly launched label Speaking Garments. Offering a sustainable and artistic alternative to mass-produced fashion, Miccio’s debut label invites artist collaborators to help design ultra limited-edition pieces, aligning with her critical stance on fast fashion. Honing in on the model of value creation, a percentage of the proceeds from each collab will be donated to a charity of the artist’s choice. This is a bold new approach to dynamic design with a conscience.
Miccio’s aim is to create durable clothing with lasting value that will “stand the test of time”. The production of each of the pieces in the Speaking Garments line is a meticulously controlled procedure, where every detail has meaning. Driven by the principles of “honesty and integrity”, Miccio oversees the entire production process in Cologne, to ensure the end results are truly unique. What really elevates Miccio’s work above the seasonal fashion cycle is her focus on stories. When you purchase a Speaking Garments item, you’re not just buying a T-shirt. You’re buying a narrative. You’re buying a treasured piece, but you’re also buying the story of how it came to be.
Fusing art and fashion, Miccio’s collaborations with artists further distance her brand from mass-produced fashion. “Art and artists can alter our self-awareness, and broaden not only our horizon, but our sense of who we are”, she explains. Artists are given free rein to translate their artistic visions into wearable pieces. The only limitation is that each collab will include two basic and timeless items – a tee and a sweatshirt.
Miccio’s first collaborator is the Cologne-based Michail Pirgelis, represented by the renowned Sprüth Magers Gallery. Pirgelis’ body of work is largely comprised of ready-made objects: namely, airplane parts he finds at aircraft graveyards. Barely tampering with or altering the parts he finds, Pirgelis’ work elevates his found objects from detritus to sculpture, whilst preserving the inherent histories and “aura” of the pieces. Interestingly, with his talent to find beauty in waste, Pirgelis was the one who inspired Miccio to launch Speaking Garments in the first place.
Pirgelis’ T-shirt for Speaking Garments bears a print of the clown Charlie Rivel, a famous Spanish performer famous for appearing in Fellini’s “Clowns”. His sweatshirt is adorned with miniature aluminium fragments from old planes, which the artist found in the Mojave Desert in California. Each garment comes with an individual numbered certificate, hand-signed by Pirgelis. The stories and artistry between each garment justify the name “Speaking Garments” — these are truly clothes with their own bold narratives. With only 100 sweatshirts and 200 T-shirts produced, which are available exclusively online, the stories these garments have to tell won’t be heard by just anyone.
Creating a dynamic project on the borderline between art and fashion, Miccio presents a refreshing alternative to the conventional fashion brand. With its carefully crafted clothes, scrupulous attention to detail and meticulous design process, Speaking Garments has outpaced the fashion industry at large in finding a solution to fast fashion. In this case at least, less truly is more.
Speaking Garments designs are super limited, with only 300 hundred pieces in total from each collaboration. Don’t sleep on this one! Head here for more details.