03/18/2014 10:48 am ET Updated Mar 18, 2014

ONE ON ONE: Franca Sozzani On Water

As editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia, Franca Sozzani is one of the world’s most influential fashion figures. Through her involvement with Fashion4Development, a global campaign to use fashion-based initiatives to tackle broader issues such as poverty and gender inequality, Sozzani’s influence extends beyond the world of style. Sozzani is a Goodwill Ambassador for Fashion 4 Development, which supports the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals.

Through the pages of Vogue Italia, Sozzani has used her influence to effectively highlight social disadvantage; in one instance dedicating an entire issue of L’Uomo Vogue to Africa. “I made an issue about Africa, but in a very social way,” Sozzani says. Her interest in Africa led her to become passionate about water, how crucial it is to the lives of those in the developing world and how a scarcity of water impacts the manufacture of fabrics needed to sustain the global fashion industry. While delving further into the issue, Sozzani discovered an Australian manufacturing company that produces desalination panels, providing an innovative way to supply clean water to the African continent. She is currently assisting the company with distribution throughout Uganda.

Sozzani believes that the fashion industry can play a key role in alleviating poverty through economic development, providing jobs and training to enable people to become empowered and independent. She stresses the importance of water to the fashion production cycle and the need for an effective means of distribution for fabrics manufactured in Africa.