The Women in Denim (TWID) network met in Milan and organized the “Hello Milano!” talk during the latest edition of Milano Unica show held earlier this month.

The non-profit organization founded by president Lucie Germser, owner of the creative agency Sphynx, together with TWID’s Italian ambassador Barbara Gnutti, founder of Effe-Bi PR studio, has already previously gathered several times globally to offer reciprocal support to professional women in the denim industry.



The aim of the Milan initiative–just like the prior ones–was to share experiences and understand how women can empower the denim world while discussing issues such as the gender pay gap, employment discrimination and other topics. The group’s raison d’etre is to raise awareness about how men and women together can help bringing a change and set a new mentality that considers women more equally.

Speakers of this first Italian edition were Martina Caselli, COO, Cadica Group; Dalia Silvia Benefatto, founder, Daisy; Daniela Della Rosa, lawyer, Law Studio Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt&Mosle LLP, Milan; Lucia Rosin, founder, Meidea; Daria Martelli, head of men’s design, Pepe Jeans London; and Alice Tonello, marketing and R&D director, Tonello. Maria Cristina Pavarini, senior features editor of SPORTSWEAR INTERNATIONAL, moderated the talk.

We selected some of most interesting quotes….

Panelists at TWID
Photo: SI Team
Panelists at TWID
Martina Caselli, COO, Cadica:
“I started working in this company 16 years ago. Among my first experiences I travelled to China for showing our samples and had to deal with mostly 100% male teams. It was not easy in those years but things have changed a lot.”

 

“Inside Cadica 80% of workers are women, many of whom are in management positions–a good sign of our company’s trust.”

 

“If I succeeded occupying a management position it was also thanks to my mentor, an incredible woman, Loretta Perico, who left us all a few years ago. Despite this, her memory remains fixed in our hearts for what she taught and how she helped us all. We also created a yearly contest dedicated to her that this year was part of the Isko Iskool educational project.”

 

Dalia Benefatto, founder, Daisy:
“I often collaborated with teams entirely made up of men and in some contexts I met people following some close-minded attitude. I think such an approach is not a matter or gender but rather of a kind of people.”

 

“From the professionals I met I always learnt something and I am deeply thankful for it. I thank those who helped me understand what I could keep and what to leave.”

 

“I hope that schools of the future will also start teaching empathy to boys and personal self-esteem to girls. I hope we all start speaking about equal opportunities and not about pink quotas.”

 

Daniela Della Rosa, lawyer, Law Studio Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt&Mosle LLP, Milan:
“People–whether single individuals or companies–and their values can make a difference.”

 

“In my personal experience promotions–not always corresponding to salary growth–have arrived from companies caring much for gender diversity such as Levi’s, from the US, and Gucci, from Italy. In both cases I was granted with professional recognitions despite my pregnancy and young mother state. That never interfered with being appreciated for my professional merit and personal engagement.”

 

“Women should abandon self-referentiality in favor of team strategy. They should build a network of relationships based upon reciprocal help, a practice most developed among men better used to team working.”

 

“Team work and reciprocal promotion at any age bring a rapid social change, while for cultural change we need more women in leadership roles. Though it’s a long way before we are there.” 

 

Lucia Rosin, founder, Meidea:
“Turkey has given me great opportunities both as a woman and as a professional. For this I am deeply grateful to it. In the denim sector Turkish women cover key positions, they are strong and passionate in their work also reaching managing positions that in other states–Italy included–have not been reached yet. In this moment of change, social actions as #istanbulsözleşmesiyaşatır, (meaning ‘Convention of Istanbul stays alive’) and ‘Black and White photo challenge’ we also shared, are strong means for supporting the female world internationally with simple viral actions and keep high attention on social topics.”

 

Daria Martelli, head of men’s collection design, Pepe Jeans London:
“There are positive and negative examples that show how discrimination is often caused by personal education and single companies’ decisions. I can recall a positive example from the owner of a company in Bangladesh who not only cares to protect his workers from a safety perspective, but also built a kindergarten and a primary school in order to guarantee a minimum education level to local kids."

"A negative example, instead, is the experience of an Italian friend who was downsized when her first kid was born.”

 

“Women have infinite resources developed under the shadow of men’s though only recently they recognized our abilities and let us cover responsibility roles.”

 

“I personally developed the ability to design mens’ collections, though I often had to prove I could do it properly. But what about couturiers like Dior, Givenchy or Valentino? They designed women’s apparel. So what’s wrong in a woman designing men’s fashion?”

 

Alice Tonello, marketing and R&D manager, Tonello:
“Until a year ago I was traveling almost every month. Unfortunately, in a local reality as mine, a woman is not made for traveling, even more if she is a mother. For this reason I fixed some kind of rules so that I wasn’t traveling for more than six or seven days in a row. Now I often travel to New York, LA and San Francisco or in countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam or China back and forth in less than seven days.”

 

“I am personally fascinated by cultural differences and this often makes me understand how limited or how we are all similar and with the same needs. In certain countries, though, it is not easy being a woman, but I always tried to look at that with very respectful eyes.”


“An evolution is happening though as through social media the young see what we see around. I feel that a new world is starting and is always nearer to us.”




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“Turkey has given me great opportunities both as a woman and as a professional. For this I am deeply grateful to it. In the denim sector Turkish women cover key positions, they are strong and passionate in their work also reaching managing positions that in other states–Italy included–have not been reached yet. In this moment of change, social actions as #istanbulsözleşmesiyaşatır, (meaning ‘Convention of Istanbul stays alive’) and ‘Black and White photo challenge’ we also shared, are strong means for supporting the female world internationally with simple viral actions and keep high attention on social topics.”