Trained in Milan, designing in London and eventually settling in rural East Sussex, Milena Silvano gained a pastural perspective which informed the rustically charming designs she is known for today. Silvano first reached acclaim for her upcycled sheepskin coats and homeware pieces – recognised by their signature patchwork designs – which shaped an appeal that is equal parts luxury and equal parts earthy. Silvano’s best-known piece, the Patchwork Diamond Kimono, propelled the homegrown project to its current standing and remains as her most popular piece, with its seasonal reintroduction eagerly anticipated by runways and followers alike. With an understanding of personal responsibility as a designer and a deep respect for the surroundings which have inspired her creatively, Silvano aims to only use upcycled deadstock or locally sourced sheepskin, always incorporating sustainable intentions where she is able. While helping to eliminate waste in fashion manufacturing, the upcycled element of her creation process also lends an inimitable element to her designs, as no two pieces can be exactly alike. This process creates an organic individuality to her brand which appeals to all who take value in exceptional and ethical craftsmanship.
Silvano’s designs explore the beauty of muted earth tones and natural silhouettes, choosing to opt for free-flowing shapes in all pieces and excluding the use of metal hardware and buttoning. This rejection of structural additions to garments removes harsh lines from her pieces and allows for a versatile shape. Each piece is designed to fit without constrictions, mimicking the fluidity of the land from which she takes inspiration and allowing for the natural silhouette of the wearer to shape her designs as opposed to forcing the design to shape the wearer. It is this appreciation of allowing the body to inform design, by not confining or sculpting it, which highlights Silvano’s second objective: a creative process which celebrates women in their natural form. Milena surrounds herself with a close-knit team of creative women to nurture and evolve her brand, even usually enlisting friends to model her designs, and proudly entrusting the select women on her team to cultivate her vision.
Now working on designs made from organically sourced cotton and dyed using natural, sometimes homegrown, plant dyes where possible, for AW19 Silvano reprises her signature pieces while also extending her range to include designs such as the highly coveted Kelci Dress – a bestseller across the board – which has been made from a luxurious Mashru silk and cotton blend, as well as the handmade Looper Bomber, hand woven in a Peru using locally sourced Andean wool and alpaca yarns.
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