Carmina Campus: A Different Side of Fendi
Ilaria Venturini Fendi may have luxury handbags and impeccable design in her blood (she is a member of the Roman fashion dynasty known for its handbags) but she has taken a different tack with her socially conscious, upcycled luxury handbag brand Carmina Campus.
Launched in 2006, the Carmina Campus (“chants of the field” in Latin) line of handbags and accessories has used airplane cushions, marine rope, Venetian blinds, bottle caps and more to create beautifully crafted bags. The brand’s tagline is ‘creating without destroying’ and the latest collection creates training and work opportunities close to home while generating revenue for a Chinese charity.
In a collaboration with Socially MadeinItaly, a group of social work institutions with a history of rehabilitation programs within Italian prisons, Carmina Campus provides training and knowhow support in a number of hubs located within prisons. Socially MadeinItaly is also involved in production and the program is supervised by the Italian Ministry of Justice, who monitors compliace with the laws regulating wages and workers’ rights, promoting rehabilitation tough work. The final goal of the project is to offer prisoners an opportunity to support themselves while in jail without being a burden for society while also increasing their future opportunities of being reintegrated into society once their sentence is served.
Proceeds from the collection also go to a Chinese charity. When questioned about the Italian-Chinese connection Elisabetta Facco, Head of Communications at Carmina Campus explains,
We made a very nice collaboration with the Beijing based Smile Angel Foundation that works with Chinese children with cleft lip all over the country with free surgery for poor people. We designed and produced in Italian prison with our partner Socially MadeinItaly some bags that they are selling to raise funds also with the support of many Chinese pop singer stars and actors. It’s a follow up of Ilaria’s particpation as speaker in a forum of the Beijing Design Week last year. A very nice way to relate with China! The Chinese importing from us for a charity.
Constantly reusing materials is key to Fendi’s mission and this collection is no exception. The materials for the FW 16-17 colletion are wollen blankets reclaimed from jail warehouses that have been made soft and dyed in bright colors: red, yellow, green, blue, according to the original colors of the blankets.
The Printed line is decorated by a grid pattern to resembles a tartan design. The women’s back heads made that decorate many of the bags are made of felt, with a technique avoiding stitching or glueing on the fabric.
The bags can found at Fendi’s Re(f)use boutique in Rome, which also carries ethical and upcycled pieces from other designers and artisans, and in select boutiques around the world.