First Sustainable Fashion Week Madrid | How was it?



Taking place in different locations across the town, the first edition of the SFW Madrid took place from the 7th to the 9th of February and connected eco fashionistas with eco conscious brands. The event counted with interesting talks, showroom, catwalks, workshops and an interesting upcycling challenge. Powered by The Circular Project, the Madrid Sustainable Fashion Association and having Paloma Garcia as captain of the mothership we saw how the former urban catwalk known as Let it Slow evolved into what it is today the Sustainable Fashion Week.


In an exclusive interview with Luxiders Magazine, Paloma Garcia, founder of  The Circular Project and president of Madrid Sustainable Fashion Association tells us why she pushed for this event to become a reality. “SFW Madrid has been the logical evolution of the catwalk Let It Slow that The Circular Project has been doing from 2015. This time with a more solid structure and reach. We realised that Madrid was the right place to host it as it is home of a lot of sustainable fashion initiatives and serves as bridge between Europe and Latin America. The reception has been fantastic, and it pushes up further to continue. We noticed more people are requesting a paradigm shift but are unsure how to start it. Thanks to  events such as SFW Madrid they can see there is more that can be done and that together we can find solutions”.

After all the fashion weeks being under close scrutiny due to, precisely, how wasteful they are, we wanted to know how this particular event was different.

“The main difference with all the other fashion weeks is that we cared for and measured our (environmental) impact. Same as we are working with designers that care for the impact of their work, production and communication. We wanted them to find that same commitment in our event. That is why we worked with the same transparency that they and they customers demand. That is why we measured the carbon footprint of all the processes required to put together the catwalk. We wanted to know the impact to later set off all our emissions. Our intention is to improve and end up it a CO2 neutral balance or even better with a negative balance. That would be fantastic.”


“The main difference with all the other fashion weeks is that we cared for and measured our (environmental) impact. Same as we are working with designers that care for the impact of their work, production and communication." - Paloma Garcia.



Learning and sharing knowledge

The event measured its impact thanks to Areteia and their carbon footprint will be offset by PEFC Spain. PEFC is the most recognised forest certification system in the world. Their main objective is to make sure forests are managed in a responsible and sustainable manner. Nowadays there is a plethora of textiles coming from trees that are bringing innovation to the forefront of fashion. PEFC works with María Lafuente, Textil Santanderina and UNECE/FAO creating, conscious fashion and responsible design projects.

Ana Belen Noriega explains more about Forest for Fashion. “In PEFC we are deeply aware of the high impact of the fashion industry on the planet, so we are studying carefully how can the forest sector be part of the solution. As an example, we are presenting the #forestsforfashion initiative. By using fibres coming from certified forests such us Modal, Lyocell or Viscose, both C02 emissions and water consumption are reduced, under the principle of Sustainable Forest Management.”

El Naturalista also brough their new shoes recycling plastic from the ocean. Alfonso Morant, R&D Manager, shares how they are looking after the environment. “We take a very wholistic approach. We remove waste from the ocean and turn it into part of our products to give it a second life. For example, we use fishing nets and industry-discarded seashells as part of the sole and our laces are done out of recycled plastic bottles. But our love to the oceans go even further, as we have incorporated Seacell which is a textile coming from algae. Our interior uses Chrome-free leather, and our packaging is biodegradable and recycled. When it comes to taking care of the people, our factories follow the UN treaty and we are very proud to share part of our profit with development projects in different parts of the world.”

Talking about recycling, recycling polyester is a good solution for technical textiles. That is one of the paths that ActandBe took for their athletic and athleisure wear. Laura Gonzalez, the mastermind behind decided to start her minimalistic yet fun brand and bring back jobs to her village. In Spain there is a serious issue with the depopulation of rural areas due to lack of work and opportunities. We would love to see sustainable fashion helping fix the issue not only with the preservation of craftmanship but also with technology and new innovations.

The R of Reuse was also present in the venue thanks to A Pompidou a brand that weaves with recycled t-shirts creating intricate flamenco dresses and colourful skirts. And, my all-time favourite Sylvia Calvo. She repurposes big coffee bags and creates dreamy or urban looks. You might think the garment is stiff and rough due the material, but it is not. The jute is able to keep the structure but be gentle on the skin at the same time. We are still in awe with these beautiful and unique creations.



Room for Collaboration

We saw beautiful collaborations at the show. Kimono brand Avasan sported pieces hand painted by artist Araceli Garcia together with some of her hand painted bags. The looks where eye-catching and show how SDG17 was present among all the participants. That was the case of Sylvia Calvo and Martina Wyss bags and MsWorker and Eli´s Boots too. It is beautiful to find how values and aesthetics can go hand in hand.

Whatever the occasion…

And quite literally so, there were even some wedding gowns made from upcycled material that looked fantastic. What we were really happy to see though was actually daily wear. Olga Camino, designer of MsWorker has developed a concept with sustainability at its very core and that is comfortable yet stylish to go to work. All the office fashionistas now have no excuse not to go eco!



Other discoveries at the SFW Madrid

The Nordic Leaves brought a romantic flair to the catwalk with colours and materials. And Abissi endless creativity using and mixing materials and shapes.

Canussa brought beautiful bags and belts of vegan leather and recycled PET textiles. Ethically done in Spain, their focus is on durability and their designs are modern and sophisticated.

Inclusivity matters

It was a very diverse catwalk from children to golden gorgeous age, all body types and ethnicities. Down Syndrome was part of the event helping registration and donning some of the catwalks. It was especially tender the catwalk of Las Polleras de Agus from Peru. This brand we discovered thanks to Slow Fashion World.

And linking with social projects, Intermon Oxfam was also part of the event. The fact that you can be supporting different projects and activities of this NGO while purchasing items of great quality should become the norm.

Events like these helps to raise awareness, show that sustainability in fashion is possible and that quality can speak louder than words.


+ Words: Araceli Gallego

Speaker, Editor-in-Chief at Dubai Fashion News, and Founder of The Home of Slow & Sustainable Fashion. Araceli Gallego is also Remake Ambassador, Slow Fashion World Changemaker and Fashion Revolution collaborator. She is becoming one of the prominent voices on sustainable fashion in the Middle East.