The history of Bonaveri and the world's first biodegradable mannequin

Each look created for The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange was worn by Bonaveri Eco-Mannequins and displayed at Buckingham Palace and High Commission Australia, London.

The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange looks at Australian High Commission, LondonCommonwealth Fashion Council

Bonavari x The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange 

The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange is an initiative that was set up for established and emerging fashion talent from across the Commonwealth’s 53 countries to showcase the power and potential of artisan fashion skills to deliver new networks, trade links and highlight sustainability. Each look produced for the project was worn by a Bonaveri Eco-Mannequin and displayed at Buckingham Palace and the Australian High Commission, London. 

The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange at Buckingham PalaceCommonwealth Fashion Council

31 looks at Buckingham Palace

Styled by Hamish Bowles, the looks were presented on Bonaveri Eco-Mannequins.

Bonaveri eco-mannequins by BonaveriCommonwealth Fashion Council

'Made in Italy': Bonaveri Mannequins

Bonaveri was born in 1950 arising from the skilled hands of Romano Bonaveri who, during a difficult post-war period, invented a new job exploiting his talent in handling paper and plaster. It was in this way that, out of necessity, life was given to the first bust forms of the company that 60 years later would prove to be the foundation for creativity and research, able to express the best of “Made in Italy”.

Colourful Bonaveri eco-mannequins by BonaveriCommonwealth Fashion Council

Bonaveri = Mannequin

Today Bonaveri simply means ‘Mannequin’ and wherever there is quality fashion – in a shop, in a museum or in a photo shoot – a Bonaveri mannequin is there.

Linking handmade skills with a visionary sense of form, the company supported and influenced the origin, definition and success of both the Italian and international fashion industries. Their influence came during a magic moment when the concept of ‘ready-to-wear’ started its prominence.

The history of Bonaveri mannequins by BonaveriCommonwealth Fashion Council

Romano Bonaveri: the art of sculpting the body

In 1950, Romano Bonaveri started his own company based on his remarkable sculpting skills.

Combining his business and creative skills, Romano Bonaveri started to achieve tremendous success. In 1958 the company exhibited at their first Milan Trade Fair and a decade later, their production facility had been expanded to facilitate growing interest in their products.

Romano together with his wife, Adele infused the company with their unique creative skills, always ensuring that the art took centre stage in the company ethos. Their commitment and dedication to both business and creativity places them alongside Italy's finest manufacturers.

This ideal is still a central part of Bonaveri's work. It is evident in every product that leaves the factory.


Inside the factory

The 40.000 square foot home is a modern, high tech facility where craftsmen, artisans and administrative staff come together to create amazing products.

Located in a landscaped park, the factory houses body-scanning laboratories, traditional sculpting workshops, production areas, offices and our magnificent showroom. From this single location, Bonaveri produces thousands of pieces every year which are then dispatched to all corners of the world.

Bonaveri eco-mannequins by BonaveriCommonwealth Fashion Council

The world's first biodegradable mannequin

Bonaveri eco-mannequins by BonaveriCommonwealth Fashion Council

Fashions come and go but nature will always remain

The pursuit of quality has always been at the centre of Bonaveri. There can be no quality without responsibility. With this in mind, in 2012 Bonaveri started a research project dedicated to investigating how to reduce the CO2 emissions of their mannequins.

For this Bonaveri instructed the Politecnico of Milano to conduct the analysis of the life cycle of our mannequins, examining and measuring the impact of each stage of the work: from pre-production to industrial production, packing and dispatch of the products around the world, to their end-of-life.

Based on these results, Bonaveri defined a strategy dedicated to act on the factors responsible for the largest environmental impact of the product.

Sculpting the Bonaveri eco-mannequins by BonaveriCommonwealth Fashion Council

Innovative materials

Bonaveri chose some of the most innovative materials research bodies for the development of bio-based polymers and natural paints that led to BPlast: a Bio Polymer made for the 72% from sugar cane and BPaint, a range of paints 100% of vegetable origin.

The manufacturing operations were assessed against Eco-Age’s GCC Principles of Sustainable Excellence, covering social welfare, environmental protection, training provision and security for workers.

BNatural / WATER: Our BPlast mannequin biodegrades returning to waterCommonwealth Fashion Council

Four years of research led to the selection and registration of a PLA biopolymer as the most appropriate material for manufacturing Bonaveri mannequins.

BPlast is a bioplastic consisting of 72% sugarcane derivative. It has obtained 3-star OK BIOBASED certification from Vinçotte of Belgium.

Compared to commonly used petrochemical plastics, manufacturing mannequins in BPlast makes it possible to reduce CO2 emissions significantly.

Sculpting the Bonaveri eco-mannequins by BonaveriCommonwealth Fashion Council


BPaint is the first-ever biocompatible paint made solely from renewable organic substances.

BPaint consists of 100% natural, raw materials. It does not contain any petroleum derivatives, not even in low concentrations. This product is a total innovation: it offers the same performance levels as petroleum-based paints while using only natural substances.

BPaint contains
- plant resins and oils; plant-based surfactants that do not contain phosphorous;
- 100% vegetable solvent obtained from orange peel using physical processes;
- cobalt-salt- and naphtha-free desiccants based on a new water technology.

Sculpting the Bonaveri eco-mannequins by BonaveriCommonwealth Fashion Council

The study focussed on:

Pre-production and production:
- producing the materials
- processing those materials to transform them into components (including work done outside the Bonaveri facilities)
- wastes from the processes
- waste disposal
- transporting semi-finished goods (to-and-from suppliers and Bonaveri).

- life cycle (pre-production, production, distribution and disposal) of primary and secondary packaging materials
transporting the finished product from Bonaveri to its destination – the client’s warehouse and/or to where the mannequin will be used – in a sales point or display center

Utilisation phases:
- service: maintenance, onsite work and repairs, replacement – including transport and life cycles of the replaced parts.

Disposal phase:
- end-of-life processing and treatment of Bonaveri mannequins.
- politecnico-logo

THE ORIGIN: from sugar cane comes a natural plastic, from nature come the coloursCommonwealth Fashion Council

The life cycle assessment

In order to conduct the life cycle assessment of Bonaveri mannequins, the first step was defining the functional unit, that is the service/function that the mannequin provides. This makes it possible to compare the environmental impact of different, but functionally equivalent systems – in other words, all the processes are assessed in relation to an equivalent function. The LCA of the Bonaveri mannequins inventoried all the processes involved in each phase of the life cycle.

Credits: Story

This content has been specifically curated for the Google Arts & Culture platform on behalf of the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange exhibition that launched on the 19th of February at Buckingham Palace in partnership with Swarovski, The Woolmark Company and MATCHESFASHION.COM.

The project, created and managed by Eco-Age, with the support of The Commonwealth Fashion Council and The British Fashion Council.

More information about the images is available by clicking on them.
Read more about the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange at

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
Creativity Across The Commonwealth
Showcasing the power and potential of artisan fashion skills across 53 countries
View theme
Google apps