After graduating from the University of Buenos Aires, Sofia Shannon went to New York City. For the past ten years, she worked in various design positions for NYC-based companies like Ronny Kobo and Cynthia Rowley. One year ago she launched Amur… and magic starts to happen.
“When it came to clothes, beauty, or food, I chose to make more conscious choices for myself, my body and my life. I began choosing better products that were created in a more sustainable way, while thinking of the impact that these products and their processes had on the environment and on my body. I wanted to apply this same awareness to the clothes I was wearing and creating”. This was the beginning for Amur.“We are still in our first year! The reaction has been amazing so far” – underlines the designer.
The AW17-18 Collection is true to the brand philosophy. That great style does not have to come at the expense of the environment. “Our collection this season is filled with statement pieces, beautiful prints and delicate embroideries, all while keeping in mind the idea of the investment piece; styles that women will want to wear not just this winter, but next winter, during the day and into the night” – Sofia says.
“All materials are sourced with an eye toward environmental good, whether organic and natural fabrics, reclaimed fibers that conserve material resources or trims made by artisan collectives in the developing world. While it’s an evolving process, one we’re continually striving to improve, each piece in the collection embodies a singular philosophy: that mindful living will always be in style” – she underlines.
Sustainably sourced materials fit effortlessly into a modern urban lifestyle, while the details -vivid prints, sharp tailoring, a dash of feminine flou-, lend each piece an element of novelty and adventure. These are silhouettes for a contemporary woman confident enough to live conscientiously and carry a look from day to night with ease. Those are our women!!
Some pieces from Amur are made of natural fibers like organic silk and hemp, while others are made from cellulosic materials. Another textile they use is a regenerated fiber made from consumers waste. The design team researched to find materials from all over the world that would lessen our environmental impact.
“Many say that the current fashion system is the second most contaminating industry in the world. There are too many problems to decide which is worse than the next, but the good news is that there are ways to work towards changing these sad statistics. One of my favorite examples is the story behind our custom laces. Lace is made typically of virgin polyester, and finding an eco-friendly alternative was extremely difficult, but finally after contacting different mills all over the world, and connecting them to different yarn suppliers that develop yarn from plastic bottles, we finally had our custom lace” – declares Sofia.
Yes! Amur’s commitment to sustainability goes down to the fiber itself. They work closely with suppliers to source and create one-of-a-kind fabrics that are as luxurious as they are conscientious. Each season, this starts with natural textiles, both for their airy, second-skin feel and their ecological advantages. Within this category, they incorporate certified organic cotton and silk, along with staple fibers like hemp and linen, which require very little water or fertilizer to grow. They also include forest-friendly cellulosic materials like cupro, a soft and silky fabric made from reclaimed cotton linter. The third pillar of their collection is regenerated textiles—waste material spun into fiber, used to form fine fabrics and trims.
Throughout the process, they look at various ecological aspects. Where does the raw material come from? Does a mill implement energy-saving practices? There are many ways to measure a garment’s environmental impact, but if it’s not in some way an improvement on the status quo, it’s not in the collection.
“I think the most difficult thing is to offer our product within a certain price range, as sustainable fabrics are a lot more expensive than traditional materials. It also is a longer production process, as sourcing the materials takes a bit longer” – says the designer.
Sustainability is a human issue and Amur is committed to supporting the work of artisans and empowering their communities. For the debut collection, last Spring 2017, they partnered with NEST, the nonprofit fair-trade organization, to develop hardware in collaboration with artisans in India and Vietnam; future collections will celebrate the work of makers’ collectives worldwide.
To young designers working in ethical and ecological fashion, she advine: “Be confident and stick to your values”.
We wanted to take the opportunity to ask Sofia about beauty labels, books, restaurants, fashion labels or films she likes. “I try to be conscious about every decision I make, thinking of the consequences of each one, whether it’s buying beauty products or the food I eat. Honest Beauty, Cap Beauty Petit Vour, Herbivore, Tata Harper and Kani Botanicals are all great eco-friendly brands that are a great way to integrate a more sustainable lifestyle.
Everyone should watch “The True Cost”, it’s a real eye opener. Also, there are many books on the topic of eco-friendly/ethical lifestyles and one I really love is “Magnifeco” by Kate Black. I also like to read blogs like The Good Trade, Eco-Cult, and Sustainably Chic”.
For restaurants one of her favorites is the Musket Room: “Their seasonal options are grown in their back garden. I also love ABC Kitchen, which sources all of their ingredients locally, and Nix, which is all vegan!”. Nix is proud new owner of a Michelin Star, so imagine!
Speaking now about where to go shopping, she says: “I visit A Current Affair for vintage pieces and design inspiration”. After this beautiful conversation, with so many good vibes and recommendations, it is easy to be #inamured. Don’t you think so?
Sofia Shannon, creative designer Amur.