Domus 925

The town of Carrè, located in the pulsating heart of Veneto’s textile district, is where the Sinv company has been producing clothing collections and accessories under license of the biggest names in international fashion for over 30 years. Acknowledging how geographical and disciplinary boundaries have steadily been dissolving, Sinv has decided that as a structurally forward-looking fashion manufacturer, it is no longer sufficient to work towards growth, but necessary to think in terms of evolution, meaning processes that are precursors of changes in society. If fashion is evolution, art cannot avoid becoming an integral part of it, precisely for its capacity to register the first signals of mutations. This liaison amoureuse between fashion and art is not just an exterior facade involving marketing and communications, but something more profound related to the idea of fashion as social custom. By making this axiom its own, Sinv has decided to translate the collective act of creating and producing fashion (hence demeanour, aesthetics and global outlook) into a cultural process that can generate expectations of the future. Francesco Dalla Rovere, the company’s president, is convinced that contemporary art is a bridgehead for fashion. He is investing in a long-term project to commission young artists with work that portrays Sinv’s identity through a filter of aesthetic sensibility. His objective is to familiarise and enthuse the artists with the company’s Geist so they can freely create work that is based on impressions experienced during visits to the factory and contact with the people who work there. The project relies on the active involvement of all Sinv’s employees, acquiring the awareness that fashion and contemporary art are communicating universes. This is the only way to ensure that the artwork will not be a mere commissioned celebration of the company’s image. Instead it will become a creative process in which Sinv’s identity is redefined and expressed by an artistic medium. For the first step in this initiative, the company has called upon Costa Vece, born in Switzerland to Greek- Italian parents. Individual versus collective identity is one of his favourite themes, exemplified in his patchwork national flags sewn from pieces of second-hand clothing. “There was no planning behind the idea to commission Costa Vece with this first work, but it soon turned out to be a particularly appropriate choice, seeing his sensitivity to the human context at the plant,” says Dalla Rovere. “The importance of the whole project lies above all in its ability to bring together and unify, in the involvement of employees, making them part of the creative process, which thus also becomes a collective one. From this point of view, Vece’s work for us has expressed the unity and solidity of our workforce, a synchronised group with a great sense of attachment to the local territory.” All of these elements were considerations for Vece in his conception of a large Italian flag made of salvaged swatches of fabric. Interaction with the staff came about by inviting them to contribute personally to the piece’s composition. Each worker contributed a red, white or green garment from which to cut material for the flag. In exchange, each participant received a coupon for use in the company outlet, and a photograph of the finished project. Costa Vece’s artwork offers a three-pronged sense of belonging: the company’s Italian nationality, represented by the flag; personal contribution by the personnel; and the fact that the contribution was especially meaningful to the company in that it consisted of an item of clothing. Raising consciousness and producing visions for the future have become an opportunity for Sinv to trigger events and cultural consequences. This comes at a time when we are experiencing an economic crisis that was probably caused by the inability to conceive of an appropriate evolution of the system. Will art and culture save us? Ex artibus salus?