I do not write a sponsored blog. If I discuss a brand or a product it is because I personally like it and I am happy to introduce it to my readers, who continue to follow me, even though social media has eclipsed blogging. There is only so much you can post on social media and wordy posts are promptly skipped.
Anyway, allow me to introduce Silente, an ethical clothing brand from Lecce, Italy. I came across Silente when I visited Lecce in 2020. I saw the boutique in via Palmieri, in the historic centre, and went in. The two sisters founders of the brand were there and we began chatting. I loved their clothes and their commitment to ethical fashion strongly resonated. I am disinclined to wear cheap, fast fashion, knowing that it is not ethical.
When I met the Iaconisi sisters, I had just begun my research on circular economy, social enterprises and ateliers with a social agenda - you can read all about it in my forthcoming book for Bloomsbury, though it will be a few months till it is out.
Meeting Paola and Francesca was like finding two long-lost friends, even though we had never seen each other till that moment. There is so much we share in terms of values. Their clothes definitely speak to me, the way they are conceived, with respect and care for the female body as a form-in-movement, and the way they are cut and sewn, also with due regard for fabrics and materials and great attention to detail. The sisters' grasp of the global fashion discourse, awareness of the wealth of interventions to which they are able to respond intelligently and critically, their commitment to enhancing local artisanal traditions, marrying them to a 21st-century sensibility and their pledge to valorise the hand-made, makes them stand out. Their clothes are for the thinking women of today, women who love dressing but want to do so ethically and in the knowledge that their clothes can be altered to last - work in progress, matching the trajectories of our bodies, from adolescence to older age.
I am translating here from the Italian what Francesca said about the brand a few years ago, at a time when slow fashion was not known as a term:
'The dress silently whispers who you are. Making clothes lovingly means choosing to work on a small scale, following every phase of the creative process, from conception to packaging, from research to communication. Silente inhabits a feminine, fairytale-like, romantic universe. Fabrics and details of decorative features lead you to an imaginary realm in which volumes and colours, always soft and enveloping, draw silhouettes of unconventional and timeless femininity".
Far from solely engaging in traditional production patterns, which have nevertheless inspired her creativity, Francesca, aided by her sister, conceives her collections as the spaces of a large house: small worlds to explore. Each collection spreads over time, always remaining open to subsequent experimentation. In this small creative sartorial reality, the Silente woman finds beauty, authenticity and uniqueness.
Without fanfare, but focussing on the doing, the Silente duo have engaged in educational and socially relevant activities and are always open to possibilities. Collaboration is key.
The new collection Mediterranea is out now.
Images copyright of Silente