Redemption Is Fashion's Freshest Ethically Driven Brand

Redemption Is Fashion's Freshest Ethically Driven Brand

Gabriele Bebe Moratti, co-founder of the Italian brand Redemption, is aiming to change the world, one collection at time.

Gabriele Bebe Moratti, co-founder of the Italian brand Redemption, is aiming to change the world, one collection at time.

Text: MATHIAS ROSENZWEIG

“We’re doing sexy dresses, but we’re doing them responsibly,” says Gabriele Bebe Moratti, one of the three cofounders of Italian fashion label Redemption. The line is fully made in Italy, not so much for the appeal of luxury quality (although that factors in too, of course), but to prove that the fashion business can be done ethically. They’ve pledged to donate half of their profits to charity, and in just three years, have raised over $2 million through donating products and various projects. The label is young, and Moratti is a self-admitted neophyte when it comes to fashion, but it’s easy to see why they’ve caused such a stir already. There’s something irresistible about their “bad girl with a heart of gold” biker-chic clothing.

“You don’t have to follow the model of exploiting people in your country, or finding faraway countries to exploit in order for a business to be sustainable and grow,” Moratti says, commenting on what he sees as an industry status quo. “In fact, that’s completely unsustainable.” He feels that having a system that involves giving back to society, and sourcing materials as morally as possible, could make a substantial socio-political impact on the world; in fact, this seems to be how the designer measures success. “[Fashion is] the second largest employer in the world, and we’re the second largest communicator, right after show biz,” he explains. “We reach everyone on the planet, and a lot of young people follow and look up to fash- ion brands. If they see that a fashion brand is protesting something that’s going wrong in the world—whether it be the environment, [or injustices for] the LGBTQ community—we can counter that.”

Moratti has experienced firsthand how art can change the lives of individuals, and thus, society at large. At 12 years old, he moved from the countryside, where his parents established one of the biggest drug rehab facilities in the world, to Milan. It was a rocky transition, but music made things easier. “I found myself transported from this beautiful, idyllic world in the country with my best friends and people who weren’t afraid to show their flaws, to a high school in the city center where everybody was cookie-cutter, with the same brands, same shoes, same everything. So I found myself in my room listening to music, not wanting to belong.” He was particularly drawn to the “dirty” grunge music coming out of Seattle, and felt a strong affinity with Kurt Cobain. Grunge inspired Redemption’s latest collection, following punk last season, and “flower power” for its debut.

But, like anything else Redemption taps into, music serves a larger purpose. “When we started this exploration of musical genres, we started with the idea of love and the works of Andy Warhol. They were beautiful and all-inclusive. You had people from the Upper East Side, people from skid row, people of all races, creeds, sexual orientations,” says Moratti. “But as things got worse with the administration, our message became more aggressive.” He holds little back when it comes to talk- ing about “reality star” Donald Trump and the growing political right. He made a shirt featuring the art from Nirvana’s 1991 album Nevermind, in which a baby feebly reaches for a dollar bill—but replaced the baby’s face with that of Trump’s.

Any business wants to generate a profit, but few, like Redemption, are trying to use theirs to change the world.

REDEMPTION
Credits: Images courtesy of Redemption.

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