fbpx

Maurizio Donadi, 63: Anti-Consumerist Fashion

After working at the highest levels of Armani, Levi’s, and Ralph Lauren, Maurizio Donadi took a stand for what he believes in: anti-consumerism. During lockdown, at 63, he brought to fruition Transnomadica, selling curated vintage with the aim to help “citizens to understand the beauty and necessity for recycling, circularity and responsible thinking and action for better living.” 

“I look at the light; I don’t see the tunnel.” This is the sort of person who doesn’t just see outside the box; for him, there is no box — it is all shining opportunity. Imagine what we could do if we could free ourselves from operating in a limited mindset? He is a provocateur of the imagination of the possible, the spark who sees things with a combination of wisdom and youthful exuberance. 

- Advertisement -

We often write about people we like to call north stars hidden in plain sight, and Maurizio is one of these. His reputation and influence may be under the radar for most of us, but for people at the forefront of sustainability, culture, and fashion, he is one of their sources of wisdom and inspiration. His work at the highest levels of Armani, Levi’s, and Ralph Lauren gave him access to the reality of consumerism, and he didn’t like what he saw. At 63, with his experience, he could probably have one of the top jobs in that world of making more stuff, but instead, he is making a stand for what he believes in: anti-consumerism. I am reminded of the phrase “you are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem.” He has chosen through his actions to be the former. 

Starting a new endeavor, one that is revolutionary in spirit, at the age of 63 is on the one hand obvious, and on the other hand rather remarkable, especially when one considers the power of youth within the spheres he works in. 

“It is our very nature to move, explore, discover, search, learn, share, and repeat”

You have been many places, and your new venture is called Transnomadica. What does it mean to you to be a nomad?

It is our very nature to move, explore, discover, search, learn, share, and repeat. We are a microscopic fragment of a system (the universe) based exactly on that. I am just part of it too and I have absolutely no desire to get out of it.

Why did you start Transnomadica when you could be taking it easy somewhere?

I started thinking about Transnomadica many years ago and was able to bring to reality during the lockdown, a moment of deep global crises I didn’t want to miss by watching television for 18 hours a day.

What did you learn from working in large organizations that you are bringing to Transnomadica?

I learned that I didn’t want to own a large organization. Transnomadica is an adhocracy, a small dynamic entity that changes according to needs, where the main objective is survival and constant evolution.

Future of Fashion

You worked with a legend, Armani, who is still very active in his business. What did you learn from him?

Mr. Armani’s commitment to his company is unparalleled  — he works harder than anyone I know because he cares so much. With that, I learned that I could work differently by building a competent and passionate team around me so I can focus on the future.

We love a good fashion show, but that world seems like it is changing. What do you see for the future of that world?

A fashion show is entertainment and entertainment remains the key of the future. Instead of fashion show, we will see movies, documentaries, TV shows, magazines, apps, websites, etc. completely devoted to spark curiosity and interest for a brand or a product. Not different from the past, just a lot more technology (and logarithms) involved. All with a single focus: selling more products people don’t need.

“We want citizens to understand the beauty and necessity for recycling, circularity and responsible thinking and action for better living”

Transnomadica is selling curated vintage. After years of making new jeans, why are you selling experienced jeans?

“Experienced!” I like the way you call used/vintage jeans.

In the case of denim, Transnomadica is constantly sourcing the best second-hand jeans (in quality, fabrics, construction and patina) around the world, still in exceptional condition. We also want citizens to understand the beauty and necessity for recycling, circularity and responsible thinking and action for better living. 

Transnomadica: Archive of Inspiration

What is the “global research” part of Transnomadica?

Transnomadica is the name of my archive, over 8000 pieces accumulated over 35 years of searching and researching items (mainly clothing) that were inspiring for my work, for the work of others and with a certain aesthetic value. I bought these items during my travels as they represent the best I could find at that time in a particular location (a village or a metropolis). It is a global research that I certainly don’t want to stop.

What does clothing represent to you?

A comfortable home for my body.

How do you see age and creativity related? Do the young have an advantage?

Interesting questions. I see often people surrendering to life as they age. Their intellectual vitality is gone, the desire to learn is gone and so their ambitions. Very often these people are older and not motivated by a society that doesn’t provide them with opportunity to be creative.

I consider myself very lucky to have nurtured that creative flame I think I have. I called it curiosity.

The young do have an advantage because they have less fear of failure.

You say the most sustainable jeans are those that are not newly produced. Do you feel this thinking can be applied to other consumer goods?

For sure. Too much is produced of anything and the waste generated from that is of extraordinary proportion. Bad for people and the planet. A mass suicide. 

“While traveling, behave like that land you are walking on is your own garden and those people are your own dear family”

Travel, some would say, is also not sustainable in the way we were doing it. How does one balance the desire to experience other cultures with being sustainable? 

I always say to my children: “Never stop reading and traveling,” both are fundamental part of our cultural and intellectual enrichment. However, while traveling, behave like that land you are walking on is your own garden and those people are your own dear family. That is sustainable traveling, in my opinion.

You mentioned that we are both of a forgotten age. Why is that?

It is that age where the brain performs much more splendidly than the body, however people see only the latter.

What should a mature man know about dressing himself?

A mature man should know about dressing himself but earlier than that.

“I let culture come to me without opposing any resistance”

How do you stay connected to culture?

I let culture come to me without opposing any resistance. 

What are you reading/doing to increase your learnings?

Not enough, I must say. Would love to read more, to ask more questions, to have more time to explore and observe, more opportunities to meet and exchange ideas and opinions with people I like and respect or complete strangers.

Let’s talk about light vs tunnels. What is the light that you see?

The light I see is always the one without the tunnel.

https://transnomadica.com/

6 COMMENTS

  1. I love the idea of this company and hope that we will look at doing more of this kind of business. There is already so much wonderful product that has been created – we should have businesses that can resell it to the masses.
    Flea Markets and Antique stores have done this for years and 1st Dibs is another example of a company reselling quality furniture and art.
    I wish Maurizio Donadi tremendous success!

  2. At $300 average for a pair of recycled jeans how is this anti-consumerist? In face, as someone who lived in poverty, this takes away resources from those who rely on thrift stores and recycled clothing to be affordable.

    • I too grew up shopping the sale racks in thrift stores, and I understand your point. I see something else happening here. He is selling very special highly curated pieces that he has collected over time to an audience that would otherwise be buying something new. The idea is to reduce the amount of new stuff people are buying, specifically the top income people who are doing all the new buying. Also, keep in mind what happens to all the clothing that is not sold in thrift stores. Direct to dump.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

David Stewart
David Stewart
David is the founder and face of AGEIST. He is an expert on, and a passionate champion of the emerging global over-50 lifestyle. A dynamic speaker, he is available for panels, keynotes and informational talks at david@agei.st.

MORE ARTICLES

X