This past September I participated in the London Design Festival thanks to Linda Schailon of Ecopink. Ecopink organizes exhibition events with the intent to promote female creativity via art and design related to ethics and environment.
Recently Linda won “Una mimosa per l’ambiente”, a recogniton for her pro-environmental activities.
Here’s an interview between Linda and myself done after our partipation in the London Design Festival:
CK: «Tell us a little about yourself, where you come from, where you studied, etc..».
LS: «I was born in Caserta. I lived in Milan, where I specialized in Fashion Design at the Politecnico. In the past 10 years, I have accumulated various working experiences permitting me to have a global view of a project, be it fashion, art or design».
CK: «What inspired you to form Ecopink?».
LS: «I thought that providing tangible examples of how to transform “waste products” into “objects of desire” could stimulate recycling education and show how to give objects a new identity thus extending their life cycle and limiting a range of issues associated with industrial or daily waste disposal. So I went looking for artists and designers who shared my philosophy and who were working with new materials in order to offer them, and myself, an opportunity to exhibit and thus express themselves. I noticed immediately that the most advanced prospects in this field came from women. And that’s how Ecopink was born».
CK: «Do you see Ecopink as a kind mission?».
LS: «Yes, I was born in a country that has a whole series of serious problems related to waste disposal. Furthermore, growing up in a neighborhood without trees helped me shape and define my mission, beginning with that of being an artist».
CK: «Tell us about previous Ecopink activities/exhibitions».
LS: «In 2008 I started working on my brand “Linda Schailon” and from there began to promote projects related to the basic concept of love for poetry and nature. The feedback was great, but when you work on a conceptual level these days, it is not easy to “get going”, at least initially».
CK: «What were the difficulties you had organizing an exhibition in London?».
LS: «The organization in London called for a tremendous contribution on the part of the artists, each with their own experiences, timing and manner of communication. This required a certain effort on our part and the ability to empathize with the artists».
CK: «What has changed since the first edition Ecopink in Milan and the third edition in London?».
LS: «The project has grown as “green”, “recycle” and “ethic” have become the daily bread for those who work in the field. The life blood has been enriched thanks to the synergies that we’ve been able to create in time and the interest in design conceived by women, and, often, for women (who, when you get down to it, are the ones who keep the economy turning!) who analyze and respond to contemporary needs with acute and intelligent proposals, capable of bringing value where there is none».
CK: «How did you select the women who participated in Ecopink’s London Design Festival? What was the criteria used?».
LS: «The criteria used for this edition was different. Most importantly, we wanted to involve experienced designers with different sociocultural backgrounds, favoring artists from Campania (region in southern Italy) gifted with great talent and rare genius, but creating in an environment that, paradoxically, is not inclined to adequately support their creativity. Why only women? Because the most significant experiences in sustainability come from women».
CK: «What is itai doshin and how this concept influenced the way you work?».
LS: «A project like Ecopink would be unthinkable without a team, which is its strength and direction. There is an expression in Japanese, that as a “team leader”, I always try to remember: “Itai Doshin” which means “Different bodies, same mind.” For a team to actualize a project, it’s important that each one of us can make the most of our skills and abilities. But it’s also equally important to look in the same direction. I am very pleased with this year’s team. We are all in tune, despite the fact that, even though we all work on the same project, we’re from different parts of the world: England, Italy and Switzerland».
CK: «What’s the state of sustainable fashion in Italy?».
LS: «I think that in Italy we cannot yet speak of “sustainable fashion”. There are efforts, significant experiences, but there are no “numbers”. It remains within the realm of artisans, elitists, so in reality there is no significant contribution to the environmental well-being».
CK: «What is the difference between the economic situation in Italy with what you saw in London?».
LS: «From the point of view of sustainable fashion, London has made much progress and, I believe, has influenced the cosmopolitan atmosphere».
CK: «Why is so much attention given to green design today?».
LS: «When it comes to design, it’s impossible not to talk about the present global scenario, and it strikes me as blind and unproductive if a project does not take into account the need to safeguard the environment, identifying the use of natural and recycled materials, from the starting point».
CK: «Is there a link between the economic crisis and the choice of many designers to use waste as a resource?».
LS: «I really think so. Waste is free, we want to get rid of it and, simultaneously, we don’t have money: you do the math».
CK: «What is the importance of craft today?».
LS: «I personally give a lot of importance to craft, but I think it should acquire a new “value”, a new “meaning” to adapt to the dynamics of our time».
CK: «How did coming from an area (Campania), tormented by the problem of garbage, influence your artistic choices?».
LS: «A lot. I have often stressed that what we now call ethical fashion, sustainable design, etc.., has an ancestor to be found in “l’arte di arrangiarsi” (“the art of making do” ) which has made Neapolitan genius famous throughout the world».
CK: «What advice would you give designers interested in creating an eco-related career?».
LS: «Be very vigilant. Study and experiment».
Inspired by Linda’s Flow Rings, here are some other recycled straw ideas:
A drinking straw is a short tube intended for transferring a beverage from its container to the mouth of the drinker by use of suction…
Other: how to make floor mat from trivets + Recycled Plastic Basket + Recycling Plastic Workshop in Merida Venezuela + Woven plastic bags + Are Bags-Revolt Lamps a Bright Idea? + Plastic Water Bottle Necklace with Square Pendant + Untitled picture.