A gear alters the relation between the driving mechanism’s speed and the driven parts’ speed only when it can mesh together with other gears via their teeth. Defined by two critical factors, radius and number of teeth, the gears have to be in perfect order to interlock and the wheels to turn. The fashion industry is a mechanism with numerous components of gears. These gears have to interlock so that this mechanism can work. The perfect interlocking combination is yet to be found. Stories Milano is an Italian brand working to revolutionize the fashion industry, one gear at a time with “sustainable fashion for extraordinary people.”
“We are the aesthetical synthesis of a gear: our matrix is here,” Stories’ Co-Founder Stefano Giordano wrote in the brand’s Manifesto. “Everything starts from here. From that wheel seen as a piece of a global changing. Everything was written in our DNA. We cannot play the game any longer, the mask has to be taken away. Quality cannot be an optional any more.”
Inspiration for Stories: Industrial World and Art
Stories is a brand of revolution and change in which fashion, art, and ideology come together. The brand derives inspiration from the Industrial world and the art of the post-World War I era, especially Art Deco. Like the art movements of the 20th century, Stories also has a Manifesto written by Stefano Giordano.
Industrial Revolution and Interlocking Gears
Stories look back at the Industrial Revolution, which led to the introduction of machines to the world economy. The rapid industrialization in the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution changed the course of the fashion industry drastically. Purchasing clothes became motivated by style rather than necessity solely, and fast-fashion took over the world. It might seem contradictory that a sustainable fashion brand set out to revolutionize the fashion industry would look back at a phenomenon that had damaging effects on the values that the brand is working towards — its negative impact on nature is only one example. Yet, the Industrial Revolution also catalyzed technological development and innovation. Stories is inspired by the enthusiasm and the will to change and innovate in the first years of the post-war era.
“We are going through a war these days; this pandemy is the war we are all fighting,” Giordano said. “And it is also a reflection point on where we would like to go. Fast fashion killed fashion, depriving it of all its values. We should all think about this and raise the fashion revolution flag. I produce clothing! But it is the way I produce them that makes the difference.”
Gears represent the Stories’ idea of revolution and change— building blocks of revolution towards a coherently working mechanism. Although abstract in nature, this idea becomes visible in their designs. The first mini-collection the brand launched was seven t-shirts full of graphics with gears linked to each other.
The aesthetic reflections of the idea of gears also come to life in Stories’ monogram. Inspired by mechanization efficiency following the Industrial Revolution, Stories monogram captures the perfect interlocking towards change in addition to the brand’s designs.
“Efficiency becomes part of everyday life that is looking for the perfect interlocking towards the change,” Giordano said. “And it is this interlocking of gears that inspired our “monogram” of the graphics first and now of the inlay cuts that are the obsession and symbol of all our collections.”
Retrofuturistic Ideas from Art Déco
While Stories derives their inspiration from the Industrial world, they also preserve the stylistic tastes of art déco within their brand identity. Art Déco is an offspring of World War I and the economic crisis that followed. It is synthetic, volumetric, aerodynamic, and turgid. The use of aluminum, wearable steel, lacquer, inlaid wood, shark and zebra skin, and patterns such as zigzag, chess, and vast curves are characteristic to art déco.
“The movement that I enjoy most comes immediately after [Futurism] and it is called Art Deco’; here everything is innovation, from the set of dishes to the locomotive through architecture,” Giordano said. “Clean and simple lines full of energy.”
In the intersection of the industrial world and art déco, Stories creates recognizable designs and a strong identity manifested in each item they produce. Their strong brand identity expresses their vision for the future.
“Our vision of the future is inspired by the contemporary art movement of Retrofuturism that suggests the positive idea of scientific-technological progress painting a future lived in harmony with technology with all the comforts that it brings with it,” Giordano said. “Fashion will influence this process as it is part of it. The machine of change has already left! The gears will find the perfect interlock! This is the revolution!”
Innovation and Technology at Stories: From the Fabric to the Perfect Product
ZQ Merino Wool
Stories’ nature-based intelligent fabrics reflect the philosophy of the brand. The ZQ-certified Merino wool fabric is one that Stories uses in 70% of its designs to ensure environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and animal welfare while guaranteeing high-quality products. The fabric is traceable to its source with a transparent supply chain monitored meticulously until the final product is sent to the customer.
“I would like every single garment to be able to tell its own story, going back all the way to the farm where the sheep the wool comes from were raised,” Giordano said. “ In one word: traceability.”
The ZQ Merino wool fabric is produced in Italy, however, the raw wool arrives from New Zealand. The monitoring of the supply chain begins with how the sheep are shaved without being stressed.
“Poor health and stress experienced by sheep are transferred into the fibre they produce,” Giordano said. “It creates uneven fiber diameter and ‘weak points’ which leads to poor quality and poor product performance. Not to mention the suffering that the sheep will have been under during this time.”
ZQ Natural Fibre, free of any weak points, provides consistent, high-quality, high-performance fiber for Stories’ designs each season. Their products pass these natural advantages onto their customers by taking the moisture away from the skin, adapting to temperature conditions, resisting odor build-up, offering sun protection, and providing flame-resistance. Products made with such “intelligent” fabric provide extreme comfort and quality to the customer over a long period.
The Perfect Product
The Bio-Jacket, Stories’ biodegradable and compostable jacket, is a zero-environmental impact product by a team of Italian researchers. The innovative technology behind the fabric used in this jacket is the source of its nickname — The Perfect Product. The membrane made of biodegradable polymers decomposes without leaving a trace in the environment despite its high-strength. Thanks to its innovative fabric technology, the water-and-windproof Bio-Jacket has high-performance with a unique taste in tailoring.
Made in Italy: An Important Label for Sustainability
Italy is one of the leading countries in the fashion world. There are a lot of craftsmen specialized in the different production processes of the fashion industry. However, as fast-fashion companies move their production to countries with low-labor costs – often with forced labor and exploitation – leave these businesses and a tradition spanning generations at risk.
Stories’ products are 100% made in Italy. Every single item’s whole production process is trackable by Italian standards, starting from how each raw material is used until its introduction to the market. With this careful investigation of the production process, Stories preserves Italian talents and resources and contributes to Italy’s social, environmental, and economic sustainability.
“We – designers and fashion people – should fight in order to rescue these businesses that created the Italian style,” Giordano said. “Many of them are these days innovating and are always and always more orientated towards human and environmental sustainability. We cannot lose this heritage! This is our Revolution!”
Change in Culture and Aesthetics
“Fashion first starts from a cultural phenomenon and even earlier than from an aesthetical one,” Giordano said.
Stories believes that fashion first starts from a cultural phenomenon, even earlier than an aesthetical one. As Stories works towards sustainability in the fashion industry, the brand recognizes that everyday habits must also change for a revolution towards sustainability. Everyday habits are also gears to this mechanism, after all. Stories’ collections tell the stories of extraordinary people who courageously choose change over certainty and accept to be outsiders for revealing their identity.
“It is necessary that our minds and our everyday life approach are moved from a social education that starts from being well behaved in our surroundings,” Giordano said. “This is not a simple itinerary but it is inevitable! Before environmental sustainability, social sustainability is then necessary so that this change can take place.”
Stories creates a purchasing process that is an intellectual and cultural exercise for their customers by close attention to the whole process chain. From the sourcing of raw material to recycled paper bag packaging, Stories builds an environment where respect for oneself can turn into value for one’s surroundings. The hashtag Stories started, #respectyourself, to arrive at #stroies4earth illustrates the flow of change that the brand advocates.
Stories’ House: Where the Change Starts
Stories’ revolution starts at their fashion House in Bèrgolo, an Italian town in Langhe with 68 inhabitants, in Cuneo province. The Stories’ House is an architectural representation of the brand’s strong identity starting from the building’s design — it is a 3-D projection of the Stories monogram: interlocking gears. However, the House is also a reflection of the brand’s natural evolution. The House is designed with rainwater collection solutions, a solar chimney, geothermal power plant, solar panels, and more sustainability features.
“It is a building (I like to call it home) completely autonomous, able to self-feed of all necessary energies — a workshop populated by the creatives of the new fashion creations (and not only),” Giordano said.
The Future of the Italian Fashion World: White Sustainable Milano and Pitti Uomo Connect
Stories recently attended an important event for the Italian fashion world held digitally by White Sustainable Milano. Among 40 men and unisex collections with sustainable DNA that represents frontiers of modern craftsmanship, Stories was selected for its recycling and upcycling processes, less polluting materials, and its exemplary brand-transparency.
Stories created 25 unisex clothing items, including the glasses in bio-acetate — the latest development in the eyewear frontier. The production took place almost entirely in Piemonte, a UNESCO Heritage Site, and partially in Puglia. Stories also unveiled two special clothing items symbolizing Stories’ willingness to show what is behind them — a t-shirt and a sweater that is sown backward and turned. The brand’s transparency found a body in these items.
If you missed Stories at WSM, the brand will also attend Pitti Uomo Connect on 21-23 February. This digital event marks the first date on the Men’s Fashion Calendar. Fashion communities, including brands, buyers, and journalists, will log in from all over the world.
Are you wondering about the future of fashion? Register for Fashinnovation 4th Worldwide Talks taking place on February 11th to find out how fashion innovators today are shaping the fashion industry’s future.
By Elif Kesikbas