Spoke 5 focuses on aligning certain high-profile flagship sectors of Milanese industry – luxury, fashion and design – with the highest sustainability standards through new materials, new processes and new development models
The fashion, luxury, and design system represent one of the excellences of Milan and Lombardy. It is a highly competitive ecosystem, based on both large and small companies, with a strong connection to the territory, which have built networks among companies and productive subsystems over the years. In fact, there are about 40,000 companies operating in the fashion and design sectors in Lombardy. In Milan alone, more than 13,000 companies are active. The luxury industry in Lombardy has long been a brand linked to territorial identity, with a unique heritage recognized worldwide and a proven ability to influence trends and business models in the Italian and global industries. The design activity of Spoke 5 fits into this context and aims to facilitate the transition to new business models, based on supply chains guided by principles of sustainability and circularity, in terms of adopting more sustainable raw materials, using cleaner production processes, and redefining strategies for product enhancement and branding. Upstream, product development processes – with specific characteristics for the fashion, luxury, and design industry – must look at hybridizing established industrial and artisanal standards with new models capable of interpreting and integrating the potential of digital technologies. Downstream, traditional retail must evolve towards a multi-platform logic, with significant implications for location and territorial enhancement strategies, and a focus on the trade of new and used products with a continuous emphasis on sustainability. To achieve this, specific actions will be implemented:
Companies will be helped to understand their level of maturity in terms of applying sustainable practices and innovative technologies, providing them with tools for self-assessment and the definition of a roadmap.
Support will be provided to companies in the fashion and luxury sector throughout the supply chain to create new sustainable business models (circular models), facilitating collaboration with innovative actors (startups) and Italian companies (SMEs in particular) excluded following offshoring of production processes, through an innovative physical and virtual platform (the “Platform for Sustainable Luxury Smart Manufacturing and Retailing”).
Companies will be supported in the process of training and placement of highly qualified sustainability experts and in the evaluation of the cultural impact of products, including gender and social inclusion analysis.
The expected impact of the work of Spoke 5 on the economy of the territory in the fashion, luxury, and design supply chains will be at 3 levels:
Adoption of innovative solutions by existing companies
Development of entrepreneurship and human capital
Reduction of offshoring and the revival of physical activities within the Milan (and Lombardy) area.
It is expected that the best practices developed for these sectors will strengthen Lombardy’s and Milan’s position as pioneers in the creation of eco-sustainable fashion products at the national and international levels. Among the project outputs, a strong connection with the other spokes of the ecosystem is expected, for example, the establishment of a startup incubator. All project documentation (for example, a database of sustainable materials and production processes) will be shared not only with the companies participating in the project and those that will join the platform but also through dissemination activities that could, for example, involve the creation of freely accessible MOOCs for consumers to increase awareness for more responsible consumption.