• Carmina Campus

Eco-friendly fashion has a bad reputation. As much as we all like the idea of saving the environment, green fashion labels have had a tendency, in the past, to stick to white cotton t-shirts and simple tote bags. We’re not knocking any attempt to keep things simple, but we’ve often wished that environmentally aware brands would step things up on the design side.

Not anymore. Recently we’ve stumbled across a label that does sustainability in the most luxurious way, and couldn’t wait to blog about it.

Carmina Campus, the brainchild of Ilaria Venturini Fendi (yes, part of that Fendi family), had made us rethink everything we knew about eco-friendly design. She took her experience in luxury accessory design and applied it to founding her own label, basing the brand on an ethos of responsibility and awareness.
Her accessories (mostly bags and jewellery, but she’s also experimented with homeware) are each handcrafted from abandoned materials, making every piece an individual find. 

There’s a lot of different textures thrown together – think leather, gleaming metals, python effects and embossed signatures – which makes them feel far more luxurious than you would expect, given their reclaimed roots. But they’ve obviously been sourced very carefully, to create something that’s still high-end and incredibly desirable. And every piece comes with a tag listing all the materials used in its creation, so you can know exactly where the bag’s handle or lining came from and how it’s been reworked.

The multi-texture tote (top image) is one of my favourite pieces, you would never guess that it came from discarded materials. The rectangular handle in polished metal gives it some downtown edge, while the wing shape and contrasting leathers only add to that industrial feel. There’s also this swirly embossed wallet with a beautiful blue lining, and this striking ‘slave’ bracelet. It’s hard to tell whether it was actually made using tyre, or just leather that’s been treated to look tyre, but it’s a striking accessory either way.
The most special piece, though, has got to be the colour chart tote. It’s available in both green and black, and covered in squares of leather that have been arranged to look like paint swatches. It’s a tongue-in-cheek twist on reworking old materials: instead of covering a bag in old swatches, the designer has taken soft, supple leather and mimicked them in the most luxurious way. It definitely raises the question of reusing materials, and shows that everything can be repurposed to look like something else. A checked lining, croc texture on one side and the woven design of the swatches only adds even more interest, demanding a closer look at the tiny names stamped on each colour.

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