Elisabetta Franchi: “My fashion is cruelty-free”

The designer-entrepreneur, who abolished animal fur continuing at the same time her fight to defend dogs, is ready to open up to innovation, energy savings and projects that support the ecosystem.
By Alice Merli

Being a fashion maker who fully respects the animal world has become a necessity for Elisabetta Franchi. The designer-entrepreneur, head of the Bologna company named after her, is successfully carrying on the fight for cruelty-free fashion with a set of international projects, supporting the green future of the industry and declaring her readiness to adopt new steps in protection of the ecosystem. She explains to MFF in this interview.
What were your initial steps in embracing sustainability?
I’ve always been attentive to the problems of the animal world; for example, I’ve made efforts to raise public awareness for circus abuse. And starting with the 201213 fall/winter season I stopped using garments with animal fur, sealing a pledge by self-certifying to the Fur Free Program in collaboration with LAV-Anti-Vivisection League.
How much does the link between fashion and green count?
It’s very important for our future.
What is the basic conduct a company should follow in order to respect the environment?
For the production of print material, they, as we do, should use paper certified by the Fsc-Forest stewardship council which guarantees the use of cellulose from responsibly managed forests. The project Dog Hospitality that I founded allows my employees to take their four-legged friends to work along with them.
How green is your company?
Our company was one of the first fashion houses to eliminate fur and feathers. Since 2014 we’ve abolished angora wool from the collections. We’re making progress in everything related to industrial management, and I would be in favour of embracing even more innovation, energy savings and especially any initiative in support of our ecosystem. I joined the project Animal Free Fashion, no furs and
feathers, an ethical rating created by LAV, and achieved the second best rating out of four levels. Last, our Animal Free line includes garments designed without the use of materials of animal origin: eco-friendly furs and feathers, clothing, tops and skirts in synthetic leather, and also handbags and small accessories.
Where will you be focusing your efforts on in the future?
I’ll always be defending dogs because that’s my fight. I started up and funded a shelter, Island Dog Village EF in northern China, against the horror of the Yulin Festival where dogs are cooked and served to customers. I’m building a clinic for anyone who cannot allow themselves the expense of a visit to the veterinarian, and also a shelter in Forlì, in addition to helping hundreds of associations.
Do you see a green future in fashion?
Absolutely. We’re making giant steps when it comes to research into ecocompatible raw materials and also in designing and producing ethically responsible garments. Fake fur coats, for example, are just as warm and lightweight as those in the past, and we sell very well in countries where it is a tradition, like Russia.
On a personal level, what is your lifestyle?
At home with my children and dogs we try to avoid waste and to eat healthily. At breakfast I eat only edible seeds such as hemp and sunflower, goji berries and I drink rice milk. Our supplier delivers baskets of seasonal fruits and vegetable grown just a few kilometres from our home. By being well known, I convey the respect for the entire animal world.