Our world, while impregnated with fashion, is dying. As a consequence, a community of people has timidly began to raise a new flag, one for change. It is led by trend addicts who, after finding out about the spooky reality that hides behind the fast fashion world, have switched their contribution for a more committed one, one that does things well, supports ethical companies that design while respecting the environment as much as possible and who give opportunities to the most disadvantaged workers. They are honest, transparent and sensitive people... and they want to return what used to belong to the planet back to it.
There are only a few in Spain, but they are increasing. Ecoalf and Skunkfunk are already big protagonists in this story. Ecoalf for being the first Spanish brand to manufacture fashion products made with recycled materials of the same quality, design and technical properties as the best non-recycled products. Skunkfunk because it was the first Spanish fashion brand to obtain Fairtrade certification, a certification associated to fair commercial relations and to helping eradicate poverty in rural communities in developing countries. These are the big guns of sustainable fashion in Spain, but others are coming in strong.
We were able to meet them during our visit to the Sustainable Experience space, which was created under the Momad Metropolis fashion fair, the most important one in Spain (last edition, held from 2 to 4 February, received more than 15,000 visitors). They are shy, they see international expansion as an endless spiral staircase, but they want to talk, and tell everybody what they do... They have a great plan... Finally, thanks to them, the old beloved fashion stories are returning…
They present exceedingly Top Sustainable Fashion Collections. Some are made with fabrics that were forgotten when Spain underwent a textile relocation process, back in the 80's, when Catalan textile cities were left empty and without orders due to the prices China offered. We discussed the precious Avasan kimonos, for example. Their creator, Amy Valentine, tells us about how she often gets lost in curls of fabrics that were never used, and among which she finds "fabrics that are true treasures".
Other collections have been created with artisan techniques from the remote villages of Paraguay, and recovered by women who seek a second chance, and who find it in the handmade "ñandutí", which are dyed with natural dyes obtained from walnut bark extract. Could there be something more exclusive! Mammisi is the Spanish brand behind the freedom song that embodies the ultra-feminine collections created under ethical and ecological responsibility principles.
There are also the artists' collections, which turn a stroke into a work of art, by impregnating vegetable dyes on an unrepeatable handkerchief that truly catches the eye. In this scenario, Camila Velvet isn’t just fashion, it’s pure art. Maldita Maria is a sustainable fashion label to watch. We are totally in love with her amazing creations.
And what about upcycling? Wonders, such as Sylvia Calvo BCN’s, who makes exclusive feminine designs with recovered coffee bags and tissue remains, to which she gives a new life thanks to the artisan loom technique. Everything she does is Zero Waste. Anuscas Family backpacks are also the result of a laborious upcycling process. The brand recovers fabrics from men's suits and turns them into backpacks, created by hand in Seville, Spain.
La Higuera de Grazalema is also part of our "musts". Their creations are made with noble fabrics, used in an artisan Haute Couture process in professional workshops in the province of Cádiz. For some of their original designs, they use traditional and historical blankets from Grazalema (Cádiz) and for others European linens, wool, bamboo, cotton, silk and other ecological fabrics.
Pilar DalBat, Root Sunglasses & Watches, Slow Clothes or Suela... the sustainable fashion brands list is starting to get quite long. We’re sure they’ll put up a good fight in this new fashion league.
So no, it isn’t a fairy tale, this is the story of fashion, which is cycling back to finally offer us its essence, the one that makes us unique... and respectable.