Hand-dyed garments inspired by nature
Milena Silvano is a fashion designer and maker based in England. She is trained in fashion and textile design and has worked for a variety of brands (Romeo Gigli and Costume National in Milan and Jessican Ogden in London amongst others). She designed a collection aimed at the Japanese Market between 2001 and 2007 and freelanced as a stylist and designer before setting up her eponymous label in 2010. Her interest lies equally in fashion and in the natural world, and her practice as a designer is an opportunity to explore ethical and sustainable production.
Milena, who now lives and works in rural England, grows and forages dye plants and actively builds relationships with her fabric sources. This intimate relationship of sourcing materials, dyeing, and constructing each garment allows her to develop a unique design and manufacturing process that is distinct to her sensibility. Milena’s ethos as a designer is inspired by eco-feminism and she promotes crafts historically associated with women, as a means to inspire customers to appreciate the longevity of handmade garments over ones that are mass-produced.
Milena happens to be my cousin, so I decided to have a chat with her:
What are you inspired by?
Nature, cults and every day life.
Do you like fashion?
I love clothes, but I find the whole notion of fashion trends a bit absurd.
Favourite music, books and movies?
I love contemporary droney female artists, hypnotic world music and mind-expanding psychedelic bands from the late 60′s and 70′s, amongst other stuff.
I am reading a biography of Rudolf Steiner and flicking through gardening books.
I watch westerns, Altman, and crap telly off the internet.
What do you eat?
My relationship with food has become almost ritualistic. I consume local and organic and what I don’t eat ends up in my compost heap or in my work (as fabric dye).
Where do you live?
I live with my partner in Sussex. I spent (what seemed like) a lifetime in London and I wasn’t inspired by the nightlife, scene, or even the culture anymore, so I moved here to find a simpler life, a life more in harmony with nature.
I recently took a field trip to India and connected with local artisans and fabric suppliers. I am excited about going back there regularly to develop my work both creatively and as enterprise.