Hope you all are beaming in high spirits, good health and responsibily living well!!
Couple of months ago, I had the privilege to meet Mr. Paulo Gomes, who is a Fashion Art Director, Fashion Editor of several Magazines, Director at the Lisbon Fashion Week and for the last 6 years
a Co- Founder and Curator of the Green Circle, that explores new Textile Green Solutions with ECO Design.
As a sustainable fashion aficionado, I was curious to know about how the Global Luxury market has embraced sustainability and it was rather enlightening to know, that it is consciously producing and using sustainable fibres for not just the basic but also the high end couture collection extensively.
Paulo shares that, “Portugal is one of the largest suppliers of textiles to the world so he wanted to reach out to the MNC’s and explore solutions to make environmentally friendly, organic fabrics that can be used for luxurious clothes.”
The gorgeous Robe Dress that I am wearing is made out of Lyocel ( bio material from wood ) and 10% Steams of Roses. How amazing is that!
Paulo realised 5 years ago, that the youth today are conscious about the environment conservation and want to be responsible consumers. You will be surprised to know that the Luxe fabrics are now being made from Roses, Bananas, Pineapple, Orange, Coconut waste, the recycled materials like polyesters, the waste of plastic from the ocean, the fisherman nets, bottles etc. that is a waste in our daily consumption and can be recycled to make new fibres.
New technology is being used for finishing the fabrics, resulting in high quality luxury fabrics in beautiful colours and textures. The process is environmental friendly today and not like before, where fabric was limited to organic cotton in the beginning of sustainability. Paulo shares that, “nature can give us everything to make the new luxury sustainable fabrics using organic dyes made of bacteria, rosemary, mushrooms. etc”.
With the rise of fast fashion brands over the years, there has been a lot of waste on the planet and that is threatening in every way because only 1% of the waste is recycled, so there is a huge problem to solve for the environment. So the Fashion Industry has been exploring new ways to recycle the waste and searching different ways of producing fabrics.
Paulo adds that, “nature gives us everything to define ” New Luxury”. The “New Luxury” is a story telling about using naturally sourced ingredients which are Anti Bacterial, Anti U.V, easy care, Natural Dyes, Responsibly Produced, Fast Drying Fabric, Metal Free, High Resistance etc.
For several years now brands have changed the more traditional production techniques to advanced environmentally friendly ones. This paradigm shift began with changes in production processes complemented with new (more efficient ) equipment based on quality and environmental certifications. This step has helped in reducing the Carbon footprint, supported by reduction in energy and water consumption and reduction in the supply of Carbon Dioxide.
In the 2019 G7 Conference in France, fashion houses and textile producers signed a Fashion Pact including brands like Burberry, Chanel, Ralph Lauren, etc. to unearth new green solutions till 2030.” Luxury Brands are now taking steps make impactful changes, they have already stopped using leather and instead of leather they are using finishings made with the waste of wood, cork, etc. With the advancement of technology and science it has become easier to produce responsibly sourced materials with supreme textures.
Paulo also shares that the issues mostly faced in the process of sustainability is the traceability and transparency, so the chain of the production – plantation, dying, fabric production, finishing, transportation etc. has it’s own issues. But the good news is that, the factories have adapted new technologies and scientific ways to create different textures. The team at the Green Circle – now gives him thousands of solutions to produce fabrics because of the advanced machinery, which has the ability to produce these fabrics e.g bacteria is produced in water, they are inoculated with colour from nature for the dying process.
The biggest boon of responsibly producing fabrics is less wastage of water and conservation of energy. Some of the major brands that are manufacturing organic clothes are PATAGONIA from the US, LUREDES SAMPAIO, BUREL FACTORY, ALBANAO MORGADO, ANBIEVOLUTION etc. from Portugal and PUMA, Nike and other Sports brands are already using the recycled material for the shoes and clothes.
Stella McCartney, is an activist and an environmentalist and is known for her use of vegetarian and animal free alternatives in her work for years. Renowned Luxury Clothing brands like Loro Piana, Dior and Valentino are co-opting bio fibre to create stunning plant based fashion pieces.
Chloé has embarked it’s sustainable journey remarkably. Gucci, Pangaia, Nanushka, etc. Gucci has recently launched a collection called “GUCCI OFF THE GRID” – the collection is recycled, organic, bio based and sustainably sourced materials have been used for the entire collection of clothing and accessories. Designers are holding the baton of being the most responsible producers. We rather have less than have quantity that damages the planet.
With the increasing issues of lack of water across the globe – one needs to find solutions which are doable and easy to manufacture the sustainable fabric.
The Design is an equally important part after producing the fabric. One needs to know which kind of materials one can mix to make the fabric. One cannot mix fabrics from different families to make a garment as when the garment is recycled different fabrics don’t sit well in the process. In the long run, one needs to keep that in mind for a less cumbersome segregation.
Paulo says, “the new manufacturing is all about following an Eco/Ethical Design, with state of the art fabrics with the use of biodegradable & organic yarns which are incorporated creatively in the production process with a simpler approach. The “New Luxury” story is about the smart solutions with knowledge and expertise to produce the best. “
Today, it is the task of informed designers to combine philosophies founded in sustainability with a deeper knowledge of materials, processes and economies to contribute to societal change. The role of a designer is vital in changing perception of luxury as the “New Luxury” is about culture, community and value adding to the world at large. A Brand Icon can only emerge with thoughtfulness and authenticity and that is what the New Luxury vouches for!!