19 Oct 2022

People of MIlano: la storia di Eva Geraldine Fontanelli

Reading 10min
Foto di Eva Geraldine Fontanelli

Half French, half Italian, an expert in fashion and sustainability, the founder of Goooders tells us about the city that stole her heart: Milano.

Milan is the city you choose, it is the right compromise between the possibilities of the international metropolis and the charm of a small town. Milan is welcoming, it is the city where almost no one is 100% Milanese but thousands of people from all over the world call it home. Milan is the capital of fashion and design that is putting itself on the line to become the Green Capital of Europe. If all these characteristics were to be represented by a single person, it could undoubtedly be Eva Geraldine Fontanelli.

Half Italian and half French, she has a Tuscan accent and one of her golden retrievers is called Milano.

She arrived in the city of the Madonnina at the age of 18 to study at the University, travelled around the world and then, at almost 40 years old, chose to return. When she left Italy for the United States she was a girl with a passion for fashion, today she is Fashion Editor, eco-entrepreneur and consultant to the United Nations for projects related to ethical fashion.
Milan is a city that combines an international horizon and aspiration with modern Italian style and quality of life. 


Foto di Eva Geraldine Fontanelli


What do you like most about the city? 

In Milan I found the perfect balance between a high-quality private life and a super active and dynamic professional life. I have lived in Peru, in New York, in London, but then I chose to come back here. At first glance it may not seem so, but Milan is a city that welcomes you, that gives you a sense of belonging even if you were not born here. "Being Milanese" is not a matter of age, it is feeling like an active citizen in the city, loving it, living it and contributing to its growth and making it more beautiful.


Economy, fashion, design, why are so many excellences developing in Milan? 

If someone has an idea and wants to express it, Milan is the right place to do it. It is a profoundly Italian city because it is the spearhead of our creativity. From fashion to design, from art to entrepreneurship, here our know-how finds room to grow. But we are also in a profoundly international capital, open to stimuli from outside. 


What is the characteristic trait that you’ve identified? 

Innovation continues, both in thought and creativity. And then we no longer seek only the beautiful but also the good. It's an energy that I really like. For example, I never feel like I've "made it", I’m always trying to improve myself. I have been working in sustainability for years and I see that even an iconic event like Fashion Week is evolving, becoming increasingly green and open to young people.


Will it also be the Green Capital of Europe in 2026?

Absolutely! Proof of this is the fact that many of us in Milan are reshaping our work in this direction. The citizen of the future knows that whatever they do, whatever they choose has an impact, and this impact must be positive.

Starting from this principle, I founded the Goooders concept, a community, a market place, a lifestyle which for a few months has been joined by the editorial project "Milano is Goood" designed for Milanese citizens who want to be active and be part of the solutions. The project is carried out on social channels, Facebook, IG and TikTok through which you can access sustainable life models within everyone's reach: from plastic-free aperitifs or with zero-kilometre ingredients to yoga classes linked to charitable initiatives to opportunities for dog owners. The Milanese want to live in a more sustainable way and the city gives you the opportunity to do so. There is also a structured and systematic plan of the Municipality, from cycle paths to projects to increase green areas, which goes in the direction of sustainable development.


Is it the city that shapes the people or the people who shape the cities?

If change doesn't start from the bottom up, it will never last. It's also true that if the city provides you with the tools, it helps you change. Being cosmopolitan and receiving so many influences from the outside has helped and continues to help the Milanese to take the best from all cultures. Every event that is organised in the city is not seen as something organised or "imposed" by institutions, but as something that is done by citizens for citizens.


Foto di dettaglio de Il Grande Toscano


The Olympics and Paralympics as an opportunity to make Milan known to the world. What is the challenge that the city must take up in view of the Games? What is the biggest opportunity? 


With the Games, the city will open up to a global audience and will be able to show not only its "business" side, but also its more creative and fascinating side. If I were an artist today, Milan would be the "place to be". The challenge is to get to 2026 being even more inclusive, more sustainable, a city where you smile (discover the places of Milano Cortina 2026)


How will Milano Cortina 2026 benefit from the Expo experience?

Milan has shown that it knows how to manage a big event in the best possible way. From the point of view of strategic organisation, communication, marketing, we have accumulated experience that will be invaluable. If I'm not mistaken, the motto of Expo was "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life", it seems to me that the path marked out is clear, isn't it!?


Is there a "Milan model"? 

The "Milan model" in my opinion is to be united in diversity, to compose the different individualities to look together at a common goal, to make the Milan we would like, which is also the motto of the Milanese Goooders.


What do you hope the legacy of the Olympics and Paralympics will be for the city? 

Historically, we were the first to create the "Country Brand" and give it value. An event like the Olympics and Paralympics can help us further strengthen "Made in Italy", the most recognised brand in the world. Milano Cortina 2026 is what I would call a "Country Project". From culture to style, from food to hospitality, we will have the opportunity to display our Italian identity 360 degrees and show its value. New jobs, new infrastructure, more sustainable mobility: I imagine that after Milano Cortina 2026 there will be a new standard for sport and for the organisation of major events.


Where would you take a young woman arriving in Milan for the first time in 2026?

I would take her to the spires of the Duomo to see the city from above, with the mountains in the distance and the sun setting. Milan is a city that may seem disconnected but it has many small companies that work in harmony, and this is its strength.

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