Matea Benedetti, an organic utopia shaking the luxury fashion


Livia Firth, Leonardo di Caprio, Edmond de Rothchild, Carlo Capasa (CNMI), Miranda Kerr, Gisele Bundchen, Lucy Siegle and Elon Musk are important in making this world more sustainable, but there are also many others. One of them is Matea Benedetti, ethical and sustainable fashion designer linked to the concept of beauty, luxury and innovation. Her  designs are always inspired by constant search for rare new fibres from around the world, all carefully selected, fair trade and certified. Always smiling, her creativity has not end. We interview her.


Each garment designed by Matea Benedetti is made using the finest natural fabrics, organic where possible and dyed with botanical extracts or eco-friendly dyestuffs to achieve the desired predominant colour theme. Artificial fertilizer, antibiotics and growth hormones are strictly forbidden. All materials are certified, biodegradable or recycled. Every season is an exploration of animal species in serious decline due to human expansion into their natural habitats, hunting, and climate change. Matea Benedetti supports fair trade products and the impeccable touch of Italian manufacturing

She started her carrier as a costume designer for opera houses and theatres. Ever since she was a student, she had an extreme passion for sustainable fashion. That's why she seted herself to create a luxury brand engaged with the environment. From the first Milan Showroom, in Via Montenapoleone, to the first articles in international media, her brand, Matea Benedetti, continues growing, not only in design and innovation fields but also by spreading its commitment to fashion to serve the well-being of our ecosystem.


“If you have to decide whether to drink a glass of poison or a glass of juice, what would your decision be? If you care about yourself, then you can care for others and only then, you can care for the planet. Habits are hard to break, but the more you know, the easier it is to change. So try to buy less, try to buy high-quality and if the products are sustainable, you have already done a lot”.


Matea defines herself as playful, feminine and spiritual. She opens the doors of her wardrobe for us: “I wear 30% Matea Benedetti, 30% vintage, 30% high-quality garments and 10% Fast-fashion clothes. I love organic cosmetics and good locally produced food” – she says.


Breaking utopies

Three words define Matea Benedetti’s work: Sustainability, Innovation and Luxury. But… why did she decide to create an innovative eco brand? “Mainly because I’m not a person who complains or whines and I never shift my responsibility to people with more wealth, influence or who are in a better position. When I set my mind to do something, I simply do it. Basically, I realized that there is no more time for making excuses and everyone has to contribute. There is something very wrong with the mainstream fashion industry, which does not only pollute our water, ground and air, but threatens peoples health and it’s profoundly unethical”.


“The fashion industry is itself a sad story. On one side they sell “good looks” for a low price, but on the other side, they represent one of the most polluting industries in the world. That is why fashion companies don’t want consumers to see what exactly they are buying”.


At the beginning there was only the inspiration. The first collection and the testing at the multibrand store in Slovenia soon followed. The realization that she needed to think globally came later at her first showroom in Via Montenapoleone, Milano, Italy. It was quite an effort to get together a good team that could, with the help of an investor, withstand the pressure and succeed in this saturated market. Now, after four years of testing various materials, research and market analysis, Matea Benedetti is ready to get her products into retail stores.

“We have a presentation on an international Conference of Circular Economy in Slovenia in May, after that we are planning a big fashion show dedicated to coral reefs at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Ljubljana. From June 1 to June 3, 2018, we’ll be presenting our collection at the 1.618 Sustainable Luxury Biennale in Paris” – she declares. The product is finally ready for the market, now she just have to convince the buyers to enter her shops worldwide. Her clothing is not just about price and beauty, there are more important things behind it.


The most beautiful Challenge

Matea finds that creating aestatically appealing clothes with very limited choice of materials, patterns and colors is the most challenging part of her dream. “Packaging, printing, transportation means and routes, especially air transport, have to be considered, not to mention that things like “eco lace” don’t yet exist. In short, we follow a series of very strict rules and criteria that I set up and are never to be deviated. This all limits my creativity to some extent and creates additional costs, which makes it hard to compete at low price levels. Nevertheless, we are still competitive and can differentiate ourselves from the other brands. I always encourage people to buy clothes they really like, ecology should just be an added value and ethics, in this unethical world, is our competitive advantage”.

It may be the reason why Matea Benedetti was selected as one of the five finalists of Green Carpet Fashion Talents Awards. “Green Carpet Award has placed the sustainable fashion on a luxurious level for the first time in history – she underlines - A new phenomenon of promoting sustainable luxury that doesn’t stand out at any cost, has emerged. The Awards itself helped the finalists to gain recognition in a very short time. For example, Suzy Menkes from Vogue International called to congratulate me for my appleskin dress, I was also invited to a High-End Conference in Kuwait, where I gave a speech about innovations in sustainable fashion. The finalists were also given a chance to attend a one year learning course with the Value Retail experts on how to globally position a fashion brand. I’m still very thankful for all the emails, interviews and invitations I received on the account of being a Green Carpet finalist, not to mention the fact that my appleskin dress was worn by Livia Firth”.


"You are the future, never give up. Sustainability is the only way to survive on the planet. So never stop believing that” – is her advice to new sustainable Designers.


There are lots of young Designers who would love to enter this Prize or, at least, to change the fashion World. We ask Matea to give them some advices: “You are the future, never give up. Sustainability is the only way to survive on the planet. So never stop believing that, because you are on the right path. Being a sustainable designer means having a less self-centered way of thinking. Connect with others and don't be afraid to share and co-create, be curious and love what you do.” – nice tips.


Coral reefs: A paradise in decline

The actual SS2018 Collection of Matea Benedetti, called Birds of Paradise, is the result of a brilliant experiment with apple waste from a company that produces bottled apple juice. We featured it in one of our fashion editorials: Space-Time Explorations

For next Fall/Winter 2018/19, she presents “Coral reefs: A paradise in decline”. “My inspiration comes from coral reefs, one of the most diverse and valuable ecosystems on Earth. The fact that most of the world's coral reefs are potentially threatened by human activity pushed me to dedicate a collection to this amazing ecosystem. We invested all our energy in researching beautiful fish patterns and new sustainable materials such as Pinatex - vegan leather made from pineapple leaves. We developed patterns inspired by marine life in order to create a colorful and exquisite collection to match the beauty of different fish species”.

Coral reef fish exhibit a huge variety of dazzling and sometimes bizarre colors and patterns. The patterns have different functions, sometimes for camouflage or to help recognize the fish during mating. Matea used different species to design patterns and print them on different organic textiles, all GOTS certified (Global Organic Textile Standard).


“Eighty percent of marine debris is plastic and the mass of plastic in the oceans may be as high as 100,000,000 tones. The urgent need to stop using common plastic bottles and caring how to prolong a life cycle is one of the ways to stop the threat to our oceans”.


As she tells us: “We developed a 100% sustainable knitted garments made with yarn for the first time. The yarn is made of recycled polyester coming from garbage recycling of common plastic bottles. The obtained fibers are then blended together with regenerated cotton fibers that come from industrial waste. The collection uses only organic, natural, and certified materials such as organic silk, hemp, organic cotton, organic wool, bamboo, and pineapple leather. No synthetic lining is allowed”. This Fall/Winter 2018 collection will be available from July 2018 on its e-shop and in a few shops in the US.