The multidisciplinary studio Older, formed by Letizia Caramia, Tuscan born in 1989, and Morten Thuesen, Danish born in 1988, opens his first showroom-shop-gallery in Milan on Monday 5 December, in the Nolo area, and will do so with the political exhibition The energy crisis hoodies.
"We bought pallets of used sweatshirts from wholesalers, we disassembled, reassembled and reinvented them, creating something new, sewing patches with messages on them that express our point of view on the dominant themes at the moment", says the creative duo.
"Through this upcycling project we have our say on the new Italian government, on the energy crisis, on the gender issue, on the war in Ukraine, on the protests in Iran, on capitalism".
How to talk about politics through fashion
"With these reinvented and recovered sweatshirts we want to express our opinions on the current situation and spread concrete messages, written partly in Italian to be more direct".
Among the phrases sewn on the sweatshirts, there are: 'Say her name di lei! Mahsa Amini' and ' Woman life freedom', to remember the 22-year-old Iranian girl killed by the morality police because she did not wear her veil correctly; 'Slava Ukraïni!', i.e. glory to Ukraine, to show solidarity with those who are fighting against the Russians for freedom; 'Freddo boia' and 'Svalutation' on the energy and economic crisis; 'Parent 1', 'Government of crisis', 'Rave of debutantes', 'Vote' to contest Italian internal politics.
"Sweatshirts are all different from each other, but they are united by our will to rebel, by the urgency to act and encourage others to do something to bring about change", underline Letizia Caramia and Morten Thuesen.
The sweatshirts will go on sale throughout the opening period of the space, while stocks last, "but our ambition isn't so much sales as sending strong messages.
With this opening in Milan, we want to create a space to talk to anyone who is experiencing the same problems as us and feeling the same emotions, from independent creatives to small restaurateurs who are holding out not to close due to high bills.
An inclusive place where we can share ideas, motivate and strengthen each other, and where we can show our closeness to those who are fighting for their freedom and for inalienable human rights, as they are doing in Ukraine and Iran".
Criticism of fast-fashion and luxury fashion
In the exhibition The energy crisis hoodies, sweatshirts become home uniforms, symbols of the energy crisis, to be worn to keep warm while saving on usage of the heaters.
"The sweatshirts in this upcycling project are charged with further messages: they are recycled garments that underline the negative environmental impact of fashion, an industry that pollutes enormously on a global scale, and at all levels, from fast-fashion to luxury fashion.
We worked day and night to open the older space right now, and present the project in this complex historical moment.
We are experiencing the energy crisis on our skin, as designers and clothing manufacturers we are facing inflation, rising costs of energy and raw materials.
In this period in which everything has increased, we must reorder our scale of values and ask ourselves questions: how do we spend the money we earn? Why do we produce? How could we produce and buy less, but better, from a less consumerist point of view?".
The exhibition-collection The energy crisis hoodies talks about this, "about how we are going through this tornado, about how we could reconsider the way we produce and the entire supply chain , choosing more ethical and responsible practices freed from the capitalist logic of maximum profit at all costs.
Our approach is open source, anyone can replicate our business model, agreeing to earn less on a product, not to produce in China but to be more sustainable and transparent, selling an honest and ethical garment.
The big fashion groups purely follow profit, we, in our small way, are demonstrating that it is possible to make beautiful garments in a different way".