A Different Kind Of Fendi Bag
Ilaria Venturini Fendi honed her design skills at her family label’s accessories division, but when she founded her own line, Carmina Campus, she looked farther afield than Rome—her label has been dedicated since its founding to sustaining artisan crafts in Africa, which she combines with recycled materials from Italy for her bags. (Carmina Campus is an entirely separate company from Fendi, which is owned by LVMH, but Ilaria is Fendi accessories designer Silvia Venturini Fendi’s sister.) During AltaModa, Rome’s haute couture week, Venturini Fendi unveiled two new projects with the International Trade Centre, a U.N. and WTO organization that works with marginalized communities in Africa to secure production contracts with brands, at her shop, Ref(u)se.
For a collection she calls A Journey Through Dumpsters, Venturini Fendi uses black plastic garbage bags, doubled and reinforced for a glossy, slick look; the recycled sacks, she says, take on a vintage look, “like old skins.” (The original idea came to her while touring dumpsites in Kenya and Uganda, where marginalized workers make a living sifting through trash for recyclable materials.) She also worked with ITC production groups for Carmina Campus’ first entirely African-made bags, using recycled safari tents and canvas from refugee huts. And she’s relaunched the collection’s Dragon bags, with intricate patchwork panels made from fabric scraps from kangas and shukas, the traditional drapes worn by Masai warriors.