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The Original Daniela Bertazzoni, Alissia Mancino & Sarah Mancino

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Vincenzo de Cotiis
Design Vincenzo de Cotiis
The Original Daniela Bertazzoni, Alissia Mancino & Sarah Mancino

The Power Of Art

Straf: Standing Out by Stepping Up

Amid a welcoming world of minimalist design and classic Italian architecture, Straf is artfully drawing attention to some of the world’s biggest problems.

Milan’s Straf could easily content itself with a much-envied location (it’s just steps from the famous Duomo cathedral) or the eye-opening look created by architect Vincenzo De Cotiis (a fashion designer of HAUTE collections), but owner Sarah Mancino wouldn’t dare leave it at that. How else to explain the thought-provoking exhibit adorning the hotel’s walls called “The Plastic Side of the Sea,” featuring artwork made of degraded plastic pulled from the ocean.

If each of us made one small change, the global impact would be huge.

Sarah Mancino, owner of Straf

If each of us made one small change, the global impact would be huge.

Sarah Mancino, owner of Straf

Mancino is inspiring her guests to think about the world around them. She is not asking people to become renegades. Rather, she wants to raise our awareness about certain issues, such as plastic usage, and show us how easy it is to change our behavior. And as with everything at Straf, she is doing it artfully, provocatively, and with great sense of taste and high-minded zeal. The “Plastic Side of the Sea” exhibition is as engaging as one could imagine. Looking at the large, often elegant works, one forgets that the materials used here were choking our waters and would continue to do so for thousands of years. This is art that not only moves its viewers; it’s a call to action.

Well within the orbit of Straf, one can also find the phenomenon known as C.L.A.S.S. Standing for Creativity, Lifestyle, And Sustainable Synergy, C.L.A.S.S. is a multiplatform network that showcases fashion and textiles created with forward-thinking technology. The powerhouse CEO behind the organization, Giusy Bettoni, is also Director of the world’s biggest sustainability fashion show (the Green Carpet Challenge Fabric Library, held each year in London) and can answer the question; “Whatever happens to the remains of that yummy crab dinner you ate?” C.L.A.S.S. is making fabric from its shells, as well as from recycled plastics, bamboo, vegetables, and numerous other natural sources.

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Leading by Example

straf milan video
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  • “I wanted to send a message, so we focused on plastic.” Sarah Mancino, owner of Milan’s Straf understands that actions, not her words, matter most. That’s why she created an exciting exhibition at her hotel made entirely of plastic found in the sea. Though the works were actually quite stunning, the sad thing is that she and her friends had no problem at all finding the material. In fact, it was too readily abundant. The plastic, which is not biodegradable, was everywhere: In the sea, on the beach, along the roads…


    Creating awareness is a start, to be sure. But Mancino is going further: Gone are the little plastic soap bottles that hotels are constantly throwing away. Instead, guests of Straf are greeted with giant, refillable one-liter containers of soap. And on the bottles the all-too-clear message “Stop Plastic!” It’s the type of message that opens guests eyes and leads them to change their behavior. Or as Mancino puts it, “If each of us just did one little thing, but stuck to that thing, we could bring about great change.” Amen.

  • Try to think about how much plastic you use in a day and where this plastic goes.

    Sarah Mancino, owner OF Straf


Materials that Matter

straf milan future fabrics video
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  • Making textiles and fabrics in a responsible way is at the core of what fashion icon Guisy Bettoni is all about. Or as she puts it: “Behind the gowns there is always an ingredient. We are really proud to be the cook, using recycled technology, like plastic bottles that are naturally melted into a polymer that becomes yarn, or renewable materials, things like vegetables or the shells of crabs, in the textiles.”


    Of course Bettoni, who is CEO of Creativity, Lifestyle, and Sustainable Synergy (C.L.A.S.S) and Director of the Green Carpet Challenge Fabric Library, fully understands that designers think first in terms of a look, not a material or textile. “The designer is creative, everything comes from the design,” acknowledges Bettoni. “But we help the designers with innovative solutions that ensure that they can create their fashion in a way that is not only beautiful but good for all of us.”

  • Now is the time for everyone to be able to get sustainable things.

    Guisy Bettoni, CEO OF C.L.A.S.S

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