Lucianne Tonti is a lovely writer, thank goodness, because if she weren’t the complex and radical subject of her must-have book Sundressed, about regenerative agriculture and its vital role in the future of fashion, it might not be not the first choice on the shelf. for many readers.
Lucianne unfolds the complex concepts of agriculture to restore biodiversity, ecosystems, and soil and water health in a scholarly way, but with elegant, looping circuits through romantic landscapes (where the revolution of the regenerative agriculture is already underway) and his own intense loves with pure-yarn clothing and fashion history.
“Yes, it’s full of information,” she laughs, “But it’s also unapologetically a book about beautiful clothes, why you should love them, how to love them.”
Specifically, how to love their sustainable and ethical origins, right down to their organically grown seed, silkworm or fleece, by learning the intricacies of their genesis, life cycle and supply chain.
According to Lucianne, who is the Saturday Paper’s fashion editor and a regular editor for The Guardian, sheer yarns are currently the best choice any fashion consumer can make right now, before the global industry finally turns to a product. softer, softer and non-toxic. future through regenerative agriculture.
“It’s such a great idea, to talk about re-wild landscapes and at the same time beautiful, high-end, good-quality clothes in cotton, wool, silk, hemp and linen,” she says. “Regenerative agriculture is getting very tricky, but fundamentally moving away from the tenets of industrial agriculture: no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, just the natural processes that happen when you have multiple healthy plant species that sequester carbon from the atmosphere into the ground, restoring health to water cycles and ecosystems.
Essentially, his methods are hard to scale and practically medieval. Only a planet-wide culture shift will finally allow regenerative agriculture to save fashion from its toxic self, but, according to Lucianne, the revolution is already underway.
“Farmers and scientists are testing different methods and some of the biggest fashion brands are getting involved,” she says. “Kering (the French luxury group that owns Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen) is already shifting cotton producers along its supply chains to be regenerative.”
Many of the 60 global companies known as The Fashion Pact, which represent around a third of the fashion industry, have also set targets to obtain pure yarns from regenerative agricultural sources as early as 2030.
Lucianne wrote Sundressed, her first book, after working several years in Paris as a marketing and sales manager for a small local brand, then with partners in a mostly sustainable small brands agency, including Australian icons KitX and Romance Was Born. “I came back to Australia at the start of the pandemic…then the borders closed and I was stuck.”
Although she had to dissolve her young Parisian agency, she took advantage of her free time in Melbourne to embark on this new passion project. “Everyone I dealt with in Paris was thinking about sustainability, talking about sustainability, working for sustainability,” she says. “So I read, and read, and read, and I came across this idea of regenerative agriculture and went from there, further and further down that rabbit hole.”
The result, two years later, is a book that will sit easily alongside seminal works such as Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster by fellow Parisian Dana Thomas, who first exposed the realities not so fashionable, and Wardrobe Crisis, the widely read exhibition of waste, toxic practices and consumerism by Australian sustainability guru, Clare Press.
Lucianne says her ultimate trigger for Sundressed was fashion’s well-documented “mountains of bullshit” that not only spoil the planet, but sprout into millions of average wardrobes.
“There’s such sadness in anyone who tries to get dressed in the morning, looks at this mountain of clothes they own, and can’t figure out what to wear,” she says. “We can educate ourselves from this, we have to educate ourselves from this.”
Sundressed, Natural fibers and the future of fashion, by Lucianne Tonti, Black Inc., $32.99, will be released August 2022.
For more stories like this, subscribe to our fashion newsletter designed for the fashion industry and local creatives in Victoria.