The fashion world lost a true champion of independent designers today. With the news of Franca Sozzani’s passing, we take a moment to reflect on Franca, our learning from her, and the Franca legacy that we hope to carry on in the fashion industry.
In September 2014, Gemma and I had the opportunity to meet with Franca Sozzani, the famed editor of Vogue Italia. As young female founders with a fashion tech company less than three months old, the prospect that one of the fashion industry’s most revered icons wanted to meet with us to discuss Nineteenth Amendment and the changing fashion landscape was very exciting. However, what ended up being more exciting to us was the opportunity to hear how truly Franca championed independent designers and local manufacturing in Italy, and beyond.
We met Franca for coffee at the The Mercer hotel in Soho NYC. Immediately, Franca dove into the conversation telling us about the immense amount of young design talent she discovered around the world every day. Franca told us that she made it her mission to seek out and support emerging designers through support programs she set up with Vogue Italia and the Italian government. Her passion for discovering and nurturing these emerging designers was evident in her tone and through her gestures. Like us, she also saw firsthand just how hard it was for emerging talent to get discovered and to start successful businesses. Franca was excited by the potential of our technology as a solution and was intrigued by the possibility of replicating our model of localized on-demand manufacturing in Italy where skilled manufacturers were struggling.
Franca, that coffee meant the world. Gemma and I left that meeting with Franca feeling renewed purpose in our mission and the need for our solution. It was clear to us that Franca was genuinely passionate about fashion, nurturing young talent, and sustaining an industry of integrity and quality craftsmanship. Franca Sozzani will be greatly missed, but as founders and women in the fashion industry, we hope that we can carry on some of her mission and purpose through every designer who launches on Nineteenth Amendment, with every garment sold and made sustainably, and with every manufacturer who is able to keep up a tradition of quality craftsmanship.