P.E.A.S: the app for measuring the environmental impact of fashion

An intelligent system that integrates social and environmental traceability of garments with gamification: P.E.A.S – Product Environmental Accountability System is an innovative project created thanks to the support of Regione Lombardia, theSchool of Management of Politecnico di Milano, the companies MOOD, 1TrueID and WWG, in collaboration with WRÅD


A new frontier in the field of communication for sustainability in the fashion and clothing sector, P.E.A.S. technology not only makes it easy for everyone to view information on the origin and impact of our clothes but, thanks to an algorithm, it is also able to tell us how much the initial environmental cost of what we wear is amortised over time thanks to our love and use – thus incentivising, with a game, its long-term use.

Every second, the equivalent of a lorry load of clothes is either burnt or dumped. The social and environmental problems caused by the fashion industry stem from the fact that we have all been induced to emotionally disconnect ourselves from the clothes we buy” states Matteo Ward, CEO of WRÅD and initial creator of P.E.A.S. “For years we have all been reminded of the importance of loving our clothes and living in them for a long time in order to have a positive impact on the environment, but little, if anything, has changed – quite the contrary! This resulted in the need to create P.E.A.S., a smart game to counteract the overproduction and overconsumption of clothes in an innovative way”.

P.E.A.S. technology offers customers the chance to connect with their clothes through their smartphone, to interact with them and to monitor in real time how much of a concrete positive impact the way we wear them can have on their environmental footprint. To do this, P.E.A.S. develops and processes scientific data obtained, for this first pilot project, thanks to a Life Cycle Assessment, carried out by the Process Factory company, which calculated the environmental impact of all the production steps necessary to transform a tuft of cotton into a sweatshirt. An analysis of the production chain, tracked in a blockchain with reduced energy consumption, which therefore produced a snapshot of the environmental cost of the product with respect to 13 different areas of impact, from climate change to water consumption. P.E.A.S. uses and processes these to help us understand the real value of the sweatshirt and to inspire us to use it for a long time.

At each interaction with its users, P.E.A.S. recognises how long the sweatshirt has been used for, provides updates on the relative dilution of its environmental cost, rewards virtuous behaviour linked to its use and rewards, the most important of these being the radically revolutionary choice not to have abandoned it. On average, in the world, an item of clothing is thrown away once it has been used only 7 times. This consumption is excessive, and incompatible with any kind of contemporary sustainable development strategy. It must be countered.

This is the common goal that motivated this unique partnership between the Politecnico di Milano School of Management, the companies Mood, 1TrueID and WWG and WRÅD, united in their diversity of skills and functions by the desire to take the relationship between people and clothes to a new level of connection, for the good of society and the planet.

The results of our scientific research on the causes of non-sustainability in the fashion and luxury system show that it is impossible to achieve long-term sustainability goals without the active contribution of all stakeholders. To think that the responsibility for change lies with one specific link in the fashion supply chain is wrong and is also potentially counterproductive. With P.E.A.S., for the first time we have made an attempt to bring together all the parties in the sector, from fashion brands to suppliers upstream in the chain, to the end customer. Only with a responsible and collaborative attitude will it be possible to change the pace and achieve ambitious results in a short time” (Alessandro Brun, Full Professor of Quality Management and Supply Management, Politecnico di Milano School of Management).

P.E.A.S. is a technology that aims to cater for both companies, with customisable designs and applications, and, in the future, the general public. “It can only be called innovation when it is sustainable and has a positive impact on people, communities and our environment” (Mohamed Deramchi, CEO and founder of WWG).

The project was supported by Regione Lombardia through the Fashiontech call for applications, a measure that supports research and development projects aimed at achieving innovation in the “Textiles, fashion and accessories” sector, according to the principle of sustainability, from an environmental, economic and social point of view.

A dyed-in-the-wool approach to sustainability

Today, we meet MIP alumni Donatella Carbone and Roberto Toro, founders of Luxalpaca (lux-alpaca.com), a sustainable fashion company marrying luxurious Peruvian alpaca wool with Italian design.

Donatella is an IT professional with more than 10 years of experience working for leading consultancy companies (KPMG and Accenture). Born in the south of Italy, she first studied engineering in Rome and then moved to Milan in 2017, where she attended the International Part-Time MBA at MIP Politecnico di Milano.

Roberto is an industrial engineer specialised in Supply Chain with 8 years of work experience in several different industries. He moved from Peru to Milan in 2017 to attend the International Full-Time MBA at MIP.

A couple who could be called one of MIP’s “matchmaking” successes, in addition to setting up their own company, Donatella and Roberto are also parents of a young child.

Their company went live on October 2nd this year with a collection of men’s and women’s scarves made of 100% alpaca wool. In the next few months Luxalpaca will be launching some new products, also targeting the baby segment.


What were you doing before you came to MIP Politecnico di Milano and why did you choose those particular courses?

A project leader at an IT consultancy in Rome, at the time Donatella was looking to differentiate her background and gain a wider business perspective, so she decided to apply for an MBA. The part-time formula of the course at MIP was perfect, as it allowed her to continue working while studying. Other drivers were the international composition of the class, that was unlike those at other schools, plus the network of schools that enabled students to enjoy short experiences abroad, something from which Donatella benefited by attending a bootcamp in India.

Roberto already had some years of experience in Peru in supply chain management and he wanted to take on new challenges in an international and more dynamic environment. MIP had a perfect curricular program that matched his profile. A program integrating engineering and management was important for understanding how to manage a company.


Tell us how your business idea developed – how early on did it come about?

Luxalpaca was born after the MBA, and we believe that the timing was right, because it gave us the chance to think over and review many of the subjects we had learned and apply our different work expertise to our idea.

It all started in September 2019, when we visited Roberto’s family in Peru. We had a quick visit to Machu Picchu (Cusco), where it was pretty cold, so we bought a scarf made of alpaca wool. This led to Donatella’s first insight: why was this beautiful fabric not available in Italy? We learned that the Peruvian culture is not very well known here, and even less so are the unique qualities of alpaca wool.


How do you feel your MIP experience has set you up for what you are doing now?

We believe the MIP experience gave us the opportunity to understand and to deal with global dynamics. Markets evolve rapidly because of many factors, and we feel that the bootcamps were important for giving us interesting tools and strategies from business cases.

Luxalpaca is also part of this global dynamic, from its Peruvian origins to our Italian customers.

The pandemic has changed shopping behaviour and people are now placing more importance on the online channel: this is a  trend which is here to stay. That’s our challenge, to introduce the amazing benefits of an almost unknown alpaca wool and the millennial culture of the Inca Empire, combine these with Italian design, and reach customers through our e-commerce channel.


Sustainability is one of MIP’s core values and, we believe, this is also the case in your business. How do you see Luxalpaca’s role in this area?

One of the main reasons we were first attracted by the idea of Luxalpaca was that we recognised an opportunity to develop a sustainable supply chain in the fashion industry.

Our unique selling proposition is to offer a high-quality product while also creating value and impacting positively on all our stakeholders, right from the first moment.

Alpaca wool is one of the highly sustainable fabrics; the alpaca, too, is one of the most eco-friendly partners we could have! It lives extensively in the Andean area, eating what nature provides. The wool is shorn once a year in a specific period, after taking into account the animal’s survival needs, given the extreme weather conditions. Alpacas have been bred since ancient times and are now one of the main sources of business in the region. For us, that business means working in harmony with nature and respecting the local population.

Part of our first collection derives from a partnership with a community from Cusco called the Urpi, composed of women who come from different villages in the area. Scarves are handmade in different colours obtained from Andean flowers and plants.

Thanks to all of this, we have become partners in a phygital sustainability platform, one of the first platforms for sustainable fashion brands.


Living together with a young child, how easy do you find it to switch off from work, given that you are at the start-up stage of the business? Do you manage to get a balance between work and home life?

To be honest, we haven’t found much difficulty in switching off. We really love our slow-fashion proposal, and we care passionately about this lovely commitment. In the very early stages and due to the pandemic, on one hand, we were partially stopped in terms of production but on the other hand, being restricted to our home gave us the opportunity to better plan the future steps when Donatella was pregnant, and we were able to draw up the business plan.

Nowadays, we try to set up weekly objectives in both work and personal life, balancing our time and also being supported by a kindergarten.


Based on your experience so far, what would be the one piece of advice you would give to a student embarking on an MBA today?

Motivation is a must. It’s important to be conscious that motivation changes before, during and after the MBA. This will get you through to achieving your personal and professional objectives. The MBA is life-changing, and it will constantly challenge you, so you need to make the most of it.

Studying for an MBA means that you have chosen to get out of your comfort zone, and we believe that this fact will develop your inner strengths and will lead you to the path of success.

Donatella and Roberto’s story is a demonstration of how it is possible not only to build on previous experience but also, with the contribution made by MIP’s International MBAs and after imbibing the business school’s ethos, how minds can be opened, and our alumni can take a completely different direction, maybe one not previously envisaged.

All of us at MIP wish them the very best with their new venture and  ̶  who knows  ̶  maybe one day in the future they will be sending another young entrepreneur our way!

A New Awareness promotes responsibility in fashion and fosters engagement for an inclusive fair change in the fashion industry


The first edition of A New Awareness was held at 10 Corso Como Tazzoli on the 18th – 20th of September 2019. Awareness Infinitum, Com.i.stra, Greenpeace Detox Campaign, Helen Kirkum, Duran Lantink, Manteco, Marini Industrie, Fashion Revolution, Bethany Williams, and Design Studio Wrad were exclusively featured to provide cutting edge solutions for a sustainable lifestyle. This first edition clearly illustrated how linear business models could be transformed through radical material and process innovation, circular design principles and multi-disciplinary collaborations.

On the 20th of September, A New Awareness hosted two panels to discuss the challenge of sustainability. The first talk explored how radical change can be made actionable in the context of fashion. With the participation of Sara Sozzani Maino (Deputy Editor in Chief of Vogue Italia, Head of Vogue Talents and International Brand Ambassador of Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana), Marina Spadafora (Country Coordinator of Fashion Revolution Italia and the United Nations Ambassador) and Matteo Ward (Founder and CEO of Wrad Living) under the moderation of Hakan Karaosman (Researcher at Politecnico di Milano School of Management), it was concluded that innovation, commitment, leadership and multi-actor collaborations are the initiating factors to the beginning of a sustainable fashion world.

Today we all need to think in a more responsible way for a better future. Big changes do not happen in one day, but we need to convert our way of consuming to make this happen. A New Awareness wants to bring consciousness to consumers” comments Sara Sozzani Maino. Creating systemic changes requires an inclusive and interdisciplinary dialogue. Therefore, designers, academia, brands, NGOs, governments and civil society must come together to be part of the change. “Humankind is finally awakening to the reality of climate emergency” says Marina Spadafora, and adds “A unique scenario will have designers, artists, activists, opinion leaders and policy makers meet to discuss how we can all join forces to create a viable transition towards a sustainable future”. More than ever fashion now needs more innovative and engaging methods to communicate this new narrative for which transparency, truthfulness and reality appear to be the main ingredients. “Today the truth is the only key to set the tone for a responsible, inspiring and functional communication strategy” states Matteo Ward.

The second talk focused on how fashion’s sustainability transition could be accelerated. Three strong fashion leaders, Orsola de Castro (Co-founder and Creative Director of Fashion Revolution), Chiara Morelli (Group Operations Sustainability Manager at Kering) and Clare Press (Sustainability Editor-at-large at Vogue Australia and the Presenter of the Wardrobe Crisis Podcast) explained if, why and how fashion could become a catalyst for a responsible change. “Change is truly coming, I am quite optimistic”, states Clare Press. Even though the fashion industry has made progress in terms of environment, social sustainability is yet to be ensured throughout supply chains. Business priorities need to be merged with moral principles to spread social sustainability across upstream levels.

We need to disinvest in growth and invest in social and environmental prosperity throughout the supply chain” addresses Orsola de Castro while pointing out “there is an elephant in the room and we cannot talk about the democratization of luxury in supply chains where democracy does not exist”. Fashion supply chains are complex, fragmented and globally dispersed; hence, providing the supply chain partners with knowledge, tools, and methodologies are as important as setting sustainability goals at the corporate level. Collaborations and capacity development are fundamental actions to reduce fashion’s footprint. “We translate our vision into action by directly working with our supply chain members to guide and support them to spread sustainability across the chain” highlights Chiara Morelli. Systemic transformations are required to change the way fashion business is coordinated; relatedly, “Practitioners, academics, consumers and policy makers need to act together” cites Hakan Karaosman.

It is also acknowledged that Generation Z and Generation Y will represent 45% of the global personal luxury goods market by 2025. The purchasing habits of young customers are shaped by intangible values such as diversity, equality and transparency. Thus, the fashion industry needs innovative and engaging ways to bring people into a responsible future. However, there is hope! Awareness is increasing and people are asking for transparency, ethical and environmental care.

A New Awareness: an inclusive and proactive change agent for responsible fashion

10 Corso Como, Fashion Revolution Italy, Politecnico di Milano School of Management and WRAD Living come together to create a unique platform to promote awareness about sustainability in fashion.

A New Awareness will challenge the status quo. Through a series of engagement events A New Awareness will illustrate how fashion can become more sustainable, not simply less unsustainable.


A New Awareness will engage non-profit leadership. Through a multi-actor collaboration involving academia, media, non-governmental organisation, industry and civil society,
A New Awareness will become a focal point to accelerate sustainable transformation in the fashion context.

Economic and socio-political events, including labour costs, supply network complexity, market instability, volatile commodity prices, geographical dispersion and economic crisis have resulted in fashion’s significant environmental and social footprint. The fashion industry is now characterised by critical issues and challenging trade-offs. 93 billion cubic meters of water is annually used for textile production ; 20% of the global freshwater pollution comes from textile treatment and dyeing stages ; 100 billion garments are manufactured annually while 35% of the total material input ends up becoming waste throughout fashion supply chains , resulting in 92 million tons of waste that makes 4% of the global solid waste .

Sustainability in fashion matters. Given already the fashion industry’s actions to accelerate its transition to sustainability, greater awareness is needed for truly transformative actions to ensure collaboration, innovation and coordination at the system level.

A New Awareness, through a novel multi-actor collaboration, creates a unique platform to reinforce how today’s linear business models can truly change. With a multi-disciplinary approach, A New Awareness will showcase how radical innovation can inspire design, and will encourage opinion leaders as well as decision makers to discuss how fashion’s sustainability transition can be enhanced.

The first edition of A New Awareness will be at 10 Corso Como – Tazzoli from 18- 20 September 2019. Exclusively featuring Fashion Revolution, Wrad Living, Bethany Williams, Helen Kirkum, Duran Lantink, Awareness Infinitum, Greenpeace Detox Campaign, Manteco, Marini Industrie and Com.i.stra that present cutting edge solutions for today’s sustainable lifestyle.

A New Awareness wishes to thank 10 Corso Como, 24 Bottles, CNMI Fashion Trust, ES Progetti, Favini, From Studio, POLIMI Sustainable Luxury Academy, Stella Stone, Studio Punto Zero and Wrad Living.

Forming a New Awareness A New Awareness is conceived by Sara Maino Sozzani and jointly developed by fashion thinkers Marina Spadafora, Matteo Ward and Hakan Karaosman.

Sara Maino Sozzani, Deputy Editor in Chief Vogue Italia, Head of Vogue Talents and International Brand Ambassador Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, comments: “Today we all need to think in a more responsible way for a better future. Big changes do not happen in one day but we need to convert our way of consuming to make this happen. A New Awareness wants to bring consciousness to consumers.

Marina Spadafora, Country coordinator of Fashion Revolution Italia and the United Nations ambassador, states: “Humankind is finally awakening to the reality of climate emergency. This will be a central focus of the platform A New Awareness and it will, at the same time, address social justice and innovation towards a circular economy. A unique scenario will have designers, artists, activists, opinion leaders and policy makers meet to discuss how we can all join forces to create a viable transition towards a sustainable future.

Matteo Ward, founder and CEO of Wrad Living, explains: “In a post-truth society like ours, developing a new awareness is the first step we can take together to challenge a status quo which failed our Planet and catalyse the shift from linear individualism to circular collectivism. This is the essence of this project, dedicated to people who let their sense of purpose and creative thinking come together to pioneer a new approach to fashion, design, food, art and more.

Dr. Hakan Karaosman, Researcher at Politecnico di Milano School of Management and the United Nations expert, remarks: “Systemic transformations are required to change the way fashion business is coordinated. Practitioners, academics, consumers and policy makers need to act together. A New Awareness is a pivotal platform to inspire and acknowledge what must change. By facilitating collaboration and proactive communication, this is a great example to illustrate why multi-actor partnership is antecedent to fashion sustainability.

A New Awareness starting with a launch in September 2019 will structure a series of events going forward at 10 Corso Como – Tazzoli to unlock the next phase for sustainable fashion. Through transparency in communication and frank discussions on the circularity and responsibility in production, A New Awareness will become a catalyst for the acceleration of sustainability in the fashion context by fostering industrial collaborations, supporting talented creative across a spectrum of applications and bringing together major opinion leaders and decision makers.

Milan is always more fashionable

From 19 to 25 February Milan is at the centre of the world. The reason? Fashion Week, an international event that celebrates one of the  city’s calling cards: six intense days of meetings that draw professionals and fashion lovers from every continent.

The calendar of the event, organised by the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana (Italian Chamber of Fashion) and dedicated to autumn/winter 2019 womenswear, is rich in appointments and foresees 60 fashion shows, 81 presentations, 33 events, for a total of 173 collections.  As in the last editions, there is no shortage of events that are also open to non-professionals, allowing the public, and in particular fashion sector students, to get to know the reality of Made in Italy fashion, from big companies that marked its history to emerging talents.

“Great attention to new talents and internationality”, said Carlo Capasa, president of Camera della Moda about this edition. “There are many brands present in Milan for the first time, thanks to our support. Supporting new talents is one of our pillars, along with sustainability”.

Among newcomers are Gilberto Calzolari and Tiziano Guardini, winners of the Franca Sozzani GCC Award respectively in 2017 and 2018, who will present their collections.  Also highly anticipated are the debuts of Marco Rambaldi for Marios, of the Portuguese designer Alexandra Moura and of the brand of Mayo Loizou and Leszek Chmielewsk. As for the big names, this edition is marked by the return of Gucci, Angel Chen and Bottega Veneta with Daniel Lee.

«The Milanese event is one of four important “fashion weeks” that take place twice a year throughout the world: the others are those of Paris, London and New York – says Alessandro Brun, Director of the Master In Global Luxury Management at the School of Management of  Politecnico di Milano –. It’s an important appointment both for big fashion houses and young designers and emerging brands, which can showcase themselves in a “live” event. It’s also an important moment for the entire city: fashion shows are held in different locations, often in redeveloped areas like Tortona, Garibaldi-Porta Nuova-Isola, Piazzale Lodi, with great benefits also for local businesses».

In short, Milanese fashion sells, as last year’s figures confirm.  The sector’s more vibrant than ever and growing constantly.

Fashion companies in the city total 13,000, while Lombardy – the leading Italian region for the fashion business region – has almost 34,000. Textile exports from Lombardy in the first nine months of 2018 neared 10 billion euros, up 3.6% on the previous year. The city of Milan alone exceeded 5 billion euros, with growth of 6.4%, confirming its position as absolute leader.

Last year’s Fashion Week brought Milan earnings of 19 million euros in the hospitality sector alone, up 2 million on the 2017 edition. The total economic impact for related industries (transport, museums, shops, restaurants) hit 160 million euros, involving some 137,000 employees and 18,000 companies.

The 2019 edition, starting from these premises, aimed at reinforcing, with the support of the City of Milan, the connection between fashion and territory using for events unusual spaces like Palazzo Reale’s Sala delle Cariatidi or the Cavallerizze space in the Museum of Science and Technology. Also planned is the presentation, on the part of the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, of the film “Welcome to Milano”, produced by The Blink Fish, in which a group of models takes spectators to explore Milan and its most secret places.

So years go by, but Milan never goes out of fashion. «But it’s good to keep a close eye on changes – says Alessandro Brun –. The big brands are increasingly paying attention to costs compared to the past. And then there are new technologies and new ways of doing things: Burberry launched the first global fashion show in 2010, presenting the autumn-winter collection in live streaming on seven different sites and projected in 3D in the theatres of five different cities and a few years after that offered the possibility of buying in shops the very items shown at the same time on the catwalk, revolutionising the paradigm that saw fashion shows present clothing well in advance of their sale.

 But I don’t believe this can endanger the Milanese event, which boasts an over 60-year history. Indeed, the city remains a reference point for the entire Italian fashion system, whose total revenue rose from 52 billion euros in 2011 to 54 billion in 2017 thanks to the contribution of 46,000 companies and over 400,000 workers.  Our product quality and Italian craftmanship are recognised for their excellence internationally».