Thoughts upcycled

Thoughts upcycled

Genderless sartorial, upcycled from deadstock, and  a strong opinion on how inclusivity matters. This is  Bennu.

From Firenze to Milano, Niccolò  Chiuppesi opens up about  sustainability, the future, and Benuu.  When I first reached out to Niccolò,  I didn't have any hope of getting  called back, so I sent the email just  to see; two hours later, he replied.  He openly talked about the brand,  its interests, its goals, and how  sustainability plays an enormous  part in the creation process of  every single piece. My approach  for this article was to get to know  brands that had no connection to  inclusive design, to understand  where this sector of the industry  stands in terms of disabilities and  if, in the future, the approach could  change to invite this group to be  included in the designs of certain  collections or even be part of the  brand's overall ethos.

Benuu, an Egyptian mythological  figure, the Phoenix, rises from the  ashes and starts a new life - a new  cycle. This premise is applied to  garments, revamping old fabrics  and giving them new life.

Photography by Amadeo Ozakeri

It was February 2021 when Niccolò,  the founder and designer, had a  precise idea: bring back elements  from the past to protect the future.  From the research conducted in  warehouses and stocks of unsold  garments, the first collections  of sartorial blazers were born.  These unique and limited pieces,  recovered and transformed, blend  the desire to be the spokesperson  for the process of change that  characterises the long history of  handmade Italian tailoring tradition.  The process of reclaiming materials  from contexts far distant from today  is intertwined with the designer's  identity of recreating a world where  past and present coexist in each  garment. It fuses an indissoluble  bond with the elements of nature  and the earth, to which we all  belong, as well as the imagination of  a past that continues to live within  us. Niccolò speaks about the fashion  industry as one of the world's most  polluting ones, with leftover fabrics  of good quality.

The main objective is to  reduce pollution caused by the  overproduction of new garments  and fabrics, and consequently  slow down the frenetic pace that  characterises the world of fashion.

Photography by Amadeo Ozakeri Model Raffaella Vela

We then proceeded to discuss  Benuu's opinion on the world  of disabilities and where brands  stand regarding the production of  garments that prioritise accessibility  for people with special needs. While  Benuu is already a genderless  brand, providing inclusivity where  designs invite everyone to wear  them without conforming to  stereotypes, I asked Niccolò how  he, as a designer and creator, feels  about brands that are helping to  break barriers towards inclusivity  for the disabled. He expressed, "It  is a big challenge for a brand, at  least for mine, which must follow  important steps of pattern making  and designing. When we talk about  inclusivity, we mostly think about  gender and sexual identity, but it is  hard to merge all these aspects into  just one product. It is certainly one  of the challenges we would face  when developing something. As  a brand, I haven't had the chance  to work on something specifically  dedicated to the precise needs of  a person. Comfort and fit can be  completely different."

"If you are going to do it, you have  to fully commit, not just stay in the  realm of propaganda or marketing  campaigns where, as a brand, you  promise development and growth  towards change but then remain  stagnant." -Chiuppesi added.  

Photography by Amadeo Ozakeri Model Eugenia Bertirotti

"I had the opportunity to get to  know a sartorial laboratory that  involves people with mental  disabilities, but I never had the  chance to work with them because  they tend to be fully booked by big  brands that often do it to improve  their image and send a message to  the public, making them appear as  an inclusive brand simply because they work with people with disabilities.  However, they still don't create garments for them. This is an incoherent  way of acting, often seen in fast fashion.

This is why I believe that the fashion industry's dedication to disabilities  lacks significant effort and action, as not everyone is adequately prepared  and possesses comprehensive knowledge of each impairment and their  specific needs.