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LCFMA22: in conversation with Federico Badini Confalonieri, winner of The Procter & Gamble Better Lives Award

model in pink knitted jumper with blue embroidery, and multicoloured puffer jacket with text print
  • Written byJ Tilley
  • Published date11 March 2022
model in pink knitted jumper with blue embroidery, and multicoloured puffer jacket with text print
'Micro-Rain' by Federico Badini Confalonieri | MA Fashion Design Technology (Menswear) | 2022

The #LCFMA22 catwalk, showroom and exhibition, which took place as part of London Fashion Week launched from 17-19 February 2022. The celebration showcased projects of creative excellence and we applaud the passionate dedication of our students who have endeavoured to fashion a better future. As we look back on the incredible work showcased, we caught up with the graduates to find out more about their research, collections and hopes for the future.

We spoke with MA Fashion Design Technology (Menswear) graduate Federico Badini Confalonieri, winner of The Procter & Gamble Better Lives Award 2021.

Congratulations are in order! Congratulations on an incredible showcase at the LCFMA22 Showroom as part of London Fashion Week. How did it go?

Thanks! It was a really exciting experience to present my collection as part of London Fashion Week for the first time! I was present all day and it was nice to get direct feedback from a great variety of professionals from the industry.

model in pale green patterned knitwear
'Micro-Rain' by Federico Badini Confalonieri | MA Fashion Design Technology (Menswear) | 2022
Do you have a particular highlight from the LCFMA22 showcase?

It has been a fun experience overall, and I was pleased to have my garments shot by the British Fashion Council and receive so much positive feedback on the collection aesthetic and sustainability innovation on micro-plastics.

photo of model posed in front of LCFMA22 background
'Micro-Rain' by Federico Badini Confalonieri | MA Fashion Design Technology (Menswear)
2022 , London College of Fashion, UAL | Photograph: Eilwen Jones
During your MA, you were also recipient of The Procter & Gamble Better Lives Award 2021. How does it feel to be the first person to be awarded this from MA Fashion Design Technology (Menswear)?

It felt amazing - receiving such a prestigious prize awarded by P&G and the Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF) experts confirmed the validity of this design innovation, and more in general of developing a new approach to fashion design where the environmental protection is central. Here, I focused on the problem of micro-plastics that are released into water streams at every wash of garments made with synthetic fibres. This is a huge but unanswered problem of our industry that is estimated to release up to one million tons of plastic microfibres into wastewater every year. My design methodology, built around a comprehensive sustainability manifesto, presents a systematic approach that rethinks how to approach fashion design, pushing for innovation and answering the increasing demand for real ethical fashion, for the youth of our future.

model in white puffer jacket with text 'micro waste'
'Micro-Rain' by Federico Badini Confalonieri | MA Fashion Design Technology (Menswear) | 2022
What did you propose for your application and have the award and winnings helped to take your studies and career to the next level?

My Masters’ project explored how to address the pressing issue of micro-plastic through fashion design. I developed garments that incorporate the filter fabric patented by the Guppyfriend® company to create self-sufficient clothes that have in their own construction the solution to retain micro-plastic pollution. The company, that created the Guppyfriend® washing bag, welcomed with enthusiasm my design innovation and decided to support me by providing filter fabric and sealing bindings. In this way, I developed garments that can be packed inside a pocket that becomes a washing bag preventing microfibers pollution, a garment-bag that can be both worn and used to contain other garments during washing and a puffer jacket, filled with recycled synthetics that can be washed without plastic release. Many other designs where developed and the whole collection aesthetic, graphics and colours talk about this issue and propose an optimistic vision for the future. This Award gave me the resources to bring this project to life.

Tell us about Micro-Rain – what is the story behind the collection and what makes it unique?

This collection researches on youth subcultures of the past and the present and aims to build a bridge between the youth subcultures of the 90s, linked to techno music and rave culture, and their rebellion against the mainstream with today’s protest against climate change portrayed by a dedicated youth. In other words, this is a socially and environmentally engaged collection that explores the 90s social battles fought by ravers and gabbers while studying today’s youth activism. The silhouettes and colours reflect on the idea of masculinity today which finds roots in the sportswear archetypes of the 90s. Micro-Rains are present in the collection’s graphics and narrate how environmental and social justice are deeply interconnected. If I can say that the environmental protection is part of my inner designer identity, it is the combination with cultural researches to make it unique.

close up photo of collection of garments on a rail in the showroom
'Micro-Rain' by Federico Badini Confalonieri | MA Fashion Design Technology (Menswear)
2022 , London College of Fashion, UAL | Photograph: Eilwen Jones
Why did you decide to lead your collection with a sustainable focus?

It was a natural choice as we are living in a decisive moment where, more than ever before, our actions today will have an impact on the imminent future. All the materials used in this collection are produced in Europe from either recycled or organic materials, including all details such as zippers, elastics and sewing threads. It is to note that sustainability is rooted in my identity but not the ultimate goal of the collection. This means that my designs build on a clear sustainability manifesto that defines my ethics and on the top of this, my cultural and technical fashion researches explore creatively designs developments. In this way, sustainability is not an obstacle to create exciting designs but a push for creativity and innovation.

What are your plans for life after graduation?

My objective is to continue to portray the problem of micro-plastics in fashion by proposing to bigger brands my design innovation to help them to incorporate it in their collection. Also, I aim to continue the development of my own research line Badini C.