White Milano showcased an exhilarating array of womenswear at the epicentre of Milan Fashion Week, taking place between February 24-27 2023, in the Tortona Fashion District. The show was sprawling with some of the best emerging and established designers in the heartland of worldwide fashion, and it certainly didn’t disappoint as buyers, journalists, and fashionistas from around the world descended on the fashion capital.
The event is a setting for breakthrough fashion, with prominence on the latest and innovative designs. White Milano takes place twice a year, with its first edition being held in 2000, and it has since become a significant event for both established and emerging designers.
Fundamentally, White Milano is a trade show that takes place over several days, and it is a chance for designers to present their collections to buyers, journalists, and other industry professionals. The event was hosted in a large exhibition space in Milan, featuring a diverse range of designers from around the world. The show was organised into different sections, with each section dedicated to a specific area of fashion. This allowed buyers and visitors to find the designers and collections that were of interest to them.
White Milano is also an opportunity for designers to connect with buyers and other industry figureheads. Many of the designers that were involved in the event are looking to grow their businesses and expand into new global markets. White Milano allowed them to meet with buyers from around the world and reveal their collections to wider audiences.
The trade show was unlike any I’ve been to before, and it most definitely fulfilled Milan’s reputation for design, beauty, and elegance as the showrooms exemplified an identical quality to the supreme designers that were being showcased to buyers within the vast white surroundings of the magnificent venue based south of the centre of Italy’s fashion capital.
White Milano is an international affair, with around half of the designers coming from around the world and the rest from Italy. Over 400 brands showcased their designs to the eyes of the buyers that visited Milan for the week, which saw some of the best Italian designers bring their creations to life on the catwalks across the city.
This rampant diversity means there was always something contemporary and thrilling to discover at the show. Whether you are interested in avant-garde designs or classic approaches to design, there were collections of some of the most compelling designs offered by an array of true fashion artists.
A principal aspect of White Milano is the focus on sustainability. Many of the designers that took part in the event are committed to creating ethical fashion. This requires eco-friendly materials and an unadulterated focus on creating designs that are magnificent to look at and sustainable at their very core. This emphasis on sustainability is crucial, especially because of how polluting and destructive the fashion industry can be.
The elevation of sustainability in fashion is now at the forefront of fashion brands and their designers; it’s therefore reassuring to discover seven of the brands at White were champions of sustainability, proving that sustainable manufacturing doesn’t compromise design or quality, at least based on what I saw throughout the White Milano spaces, which defined excellence in a sustainable fashion.
It was great to experience the sheer diversity when it came to the cultural mix of designers that were proudly exhibiting their pieces, propped up by the Fashion Minority Alliance, specifically seeing the six indigenous designers from Canada and Toronto. White Milano also offered events around the event, which included a fascinating inclusion and diversity panel with the Fashion Minority Alliance.
There was an overarching aim of connecting international fashion leaders with creatives from around the world, including overseas fashion of the Native populations of the Canadian territories, which was found in a dedicated area of the Superstudio via Tortona 27.
I was greatly interested in hearing from Olubiyi Thomas, born in Nigeria, and based in London. Naturally, I was elated to see a fellow Londoner joining us in Milan for this extraordinary showcase, accompanying his breathtaking womenswear designs to Italy. Thomas is a part of the Fashion Minority Alliance project: which is a non-profit and non-partisan organisation which collaborates with companies, brands, organisations, and operators in the fashion and beauty industries to promote and guarantee the advancement of BIPOC and marginalised creatives; with every ambition to ensure these positive changes reverberate across the fashion industry.
One of this season’s new entries was Bunzaburo, which conveyed a personal version of Shibori, dedicating a collection to the contemporary woman. The ancient art of tie-dye, perfected over more than 100 years during the Edo period, through gestures handed down by tradition, from sewing to tying to dyeing the fabric, installs a truly unique personality in each of the creations.
It’s valuable to recognise that indigenous designers supply a distinctive and valuable perspective to the fashion industry, one that’s often overlooked or underrepresented in mainstream fashion. By brandishing designs from indigenous designers, we can celebrate their cultural heritage whilst highlighting the talents and creativity that exist within their native communities.
Naturally, indigenous designers have a deep connection to their culture, history, and environment. Their designs reflect this connection and showcase traditional techniques, motifs, and materials that transcend generations. These designs are visually staggering and hold gargantuan cultural and historical significance.
White Milano upheld the guiding and essential principle of ensuring that indigenous designs are presented in a respectful and appropriate manner. These designs aren’t just fashion trends to be appropriated and exploited for businesses to make a profit. They are engrossed in deep cultural relevance and must be displayed in a way that respects the cultural context from which they originate.
There was a great appreciation and celebration for indigenous cultures at White, whereas sometimes, in other spaces, they have been misrepresented or stereotyped. Hence, it is vital that these designers have the occasion to share their perspectives and narratives in their work, which they did so exquisitely at White Milano and through the insightful discussions that took place throughout the four days.
White saw an 8% increase in attendance from top foreign buyers versus last year at the event, which welcomed more than 18,000 total visitors. Across the four days, White also witnessed a 450% growth of interactions on Instagram, which exceeded 50,000 on the days of the show, totalling 270,000 impressions and more than 15,000 visits to White’s Properties.
There was an extensive turnout of foreign visitors over Milan Fashion Week, and the event provided an excellent proposal of brands from all over the world to the Tortona Fashion District.
To discover more, visit: whiteshow.com
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All imagery courtesy of White Milano.