Nowadays, it isn’t easy to set up a sustainable fashion business. The cheap culture and the seductive powers of the fast fashion giants are the main “demons” that hinder the development of “good fashion”. There’s also the issue of the lack of information, on the part of consumers, about the fashion industry’s “disasters”.
In the Nordic countries, Germany and the USA, however, ethical and ecological have been gaining reputation and ground in some of the main multi-brand stores. Their aesthetic beauty, exclusivity and manifesto have become excellent selling points.
In Spain, however, progress is slower. The price culture, spiced up by an economic and political crisis that seems to have no end, makes it difficult for more and more independent designers who have decided to change the pace of things and bet on a positive fashion, created in harmony with the environment and workers’ rights. But there’s drive, there’s talent. Their energy and passion inject a “there’s no stopping us” factor into a scenario where Zara and Mango’s fast-fashion, also Spanish companies, are becoming increasingly aggressive.
Spanish sustainable fashion traces its existence through a precious ethical plan composed of rich materials that could’ve become garbage due to the Spanish industrial relocation, but which ended up being rescued by sustainable fashion designers. Their discourse also contemplates reviving small sewing workshops or even long-forgotten factories. There’s also a plan for organic materials, which are hard to manage due to their natural composition.
Momad, the Iberian Peninsula’s main fashion event, wants to be an accomplice in this plan. The event’s organizers believe in these companies’ potential, in their creativity and goals, they think that fashion, if not ethical, isn’t fashionable, and they’re betting heavily on giving more visibility to sustainable creativity. In each edition, Momad offers these companies a space, Sustainable Experience, so they can sneak into the windows of the country’s main stores and present them to the foreign retailers that visit the fair.
That’s what Charo Izquierdo, General Director of Momad and Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Madrid, says: “To me, sustainability is essential. I believe that society in general needs, at all levels, to work in favor of sustainability, as a life philosophy. Fashion has lived too many years with its back to this reality, but it can no longer ignore it. This is a road with no return. However, we can’t reform everything in a second. It's a matter of education.”
About Sustainable Experience, the director says: It has been a very good edition in terms of the number of visitors. I’m very happy especially with the sustainability sector. In this edition, there wasn’t only a growth of the sector but also a growth of what they offered (clothes, footwear, accessories, jewelry) not to mention the forum, which had a lot of follow-up (...) The buyers who are invited to the event are interested in every type of product, they don’t specialize in sustainable fashion, however, they told me that what they saw in Sustainable Experience was very interesting, and have even bought some things (…) The brands involved will gain visibility, no doubt. But they will also have to work to keep up with the fair.
At the beginning of February, once again, we attended the event, and learned about sustainable fashion brands that stand out in the panorama for their aesthetics, and their ethical and/or ecological history. We were surprised by new brands, such as D'Brand, who won a well-deserved First Prize for “Fashion, Sustainability and Business”, which the show launched in this edition, and with Luxiders Magazine as part of the jury. The award consists of a free stand in the sustainable fashion area, Sustainable Experience, in the fair’s next edition.
Among the contest finalists were the footwear firm Suela Shoes, in second place, and the jewelry label Nehcaa Jewelry, in third. The award will be given by Charo Izquierdo, Momad director, at the 8th Sustainable Fashion Next day, which will be held at the Costume Museum in Madrid on April 5th and 6th.
DtheBrand’s aesthetics are exquisite, not only because it’s exclusive but also because it has gorgeous patterns. DtheBrand makes garments responsibly. They opt for sustainable fabrics, certified with Oeko-tex Standard 100 and GOTS quality seals, and produce very few units of each of the products, to maintain their exclusivity and minimize waste. The firm produces in Spanish national factories, to get a first quality product and contribute to the conservation and creation of jobs in the Spanish textile sector. It makes Prêt-à-porter as if it were haute couture: they are obsessed with taking care of every detail. To Sabina Deus Muñoz, DtheBrand’s creative director, “DtheBrand’s style is like an extension of myself: minimalist, perfectionist and, above all, conscious”.
Suela Shoes is a Spanish handmade sustainable fashion brand. “We design and manufacture for the woman who is responsible with the environment, using natural, chromium and nickel-free products, but without forgetting the trends and fashions of the moment” - says its founder, Paula. We like their styles, which are super comfortable and light, ultra-feminine and of very high quality.
Nehcaa Jewelry states: “our jewels are designed to empower women's lives”. All of their jewelry is made with sustainable silver certified by the Fairminedresponsible mining alliance, and also come dipped in gold.
Susana Álvarez’s clothes collection denotes a unique exquisiteness due to the perfect finishes and unbeatable selection of fabrics used to create eternal pieces. The designer is committed to an ethical fashion with social and environmental awareness. Fashion as a personal product and not as something offered in mass: “Fashion and time have been absorbed by speed, mass-production and collectiveness. Why not return fashion to a more personal, more qualitative, more familiar, more sustainable and more ethical space?”. - says Susana Álvarez.
Conceived as small works of art, Cruca's garments are made one by one in small productions, endowing them with exclusivity and using natural resources responsibly. They are manufactured in Spain, giving chances to small workshops.
Avasan and Araceli García’s collaboration hasn’t escaped anyone’s eyes. The Sky eco-kimonos, which include delicate hand-painted sky and earth watercolor illustrations on the kimonos, introduce harmonizing life energy into urban spaces. Art and sustainable fashion (the fabrics Avasan uses come from factory stocks that were devastated by textile relocation) come together in a series of high-quality, timeless, elegant and exclusive pieces.
Sylvia Calvo, a Spanish pioneer of circular fashion, once again enraptured us with a collection that evolves both in design and materials, creating even more elegant, ultra-feminine garments that have already fallen in the closet of celebrities such as Mercedes Milá.
In addition to its collections of handmade espadrilles made in Spain, Star Love goes further with a new sandals collection that includes rubber soles made from old recycled tires. The designs are a must for the Mediterranean summer, and conscious thought brings a personality committed to the future to this footwear.
+ info: Momad