Sustainable fashion concerns more than addressing fashion textiles or products. It comprises addressing the whole system of fashion. This means dealing with interdependent social, cultural, ecological and financial systems.
1. Sunglasses picked up from the Street
Made in Rio De Janeiro
On my last day of my visit to Rio de Janeiro I accidentally stumbled into a tiny place thinking it was a coffee shop. My sight must have been blurred, as the bright white place I had entered turned out to be selling spectacles made out of wood instead. I have this expensive habit of ( almost ) buying a new pair of glasses each time I am on holidays. But over the years I have grown budget conscious and refuse to buy mass consumption goods.
Imagine my surprise when I listened to the story behind these beautifully hand carved glasses. All of the wooden frames are handmade by people who had been living in poor conditions. At ZEREZES they do things differently. By forging work and fair trade practices through the creation and capacitation of a local productive collective, ZEREZES is fully committed to reusing materials, designing at the benefit of quality products thereby creating incredible experiences. Catering to the needs of their clients, not making profits, is their principle goal.
Each piece is unique and numbered. I can call myself the proud owner of ‘Série R.E.d.’ 150/450, carved out of a wooden block found on Santos II street.
One does no longer need to fly to Rio. After they opened shop in Rue da Assembleia in the centre of Rio de Janeiro, you can now find them in most of the carioca shopping malls, San Paolo, Belo Horizonte … They sell by mail order too.
2. Timing the Soul of Patagonia
Designed in Patagonia – Made in Switzerland
TTANTI was born out of the conviction that combining the ancient traditions of working with Patagonian wood and Swiss engineering could only lead to authenticity and perfectionism in the competitive world of watch making.
At TTANTI the focus is to carefully create with passion and focused dedication. One of their pillars is to give respect to the time necessary to create a product worth remembering. Prior to the production, they first wanted to develop a simple, striking and harmonious design with the help of designer Rodrigo Bravo.
The wood TTANTI uses for making their watches is harvested directly from fallen trees in Patagonia and selected to guarantee the quality and perfection that a quality watch deserves. All wooden rings go through a meticulous manufacturing process to ensure accuracy in the preparation of each piece.
Then each individual ring is carefully hand polished to achieve an optimal finish.
Patagonian artisans select the leather and manufacture the straps. It’s the artisan’s hands which transmit the essence of their passionate work and the TTANTI brand to each watch.
All internal and external watch components are assembled by Swiss watchmakers, certifying the proper functioning of the product in every detail, from the complex clockworks to the integration of the wooden ring in the stainless steel case.
The result is a beautiful masterpiece in sustainable design and engineering. Tough they come in various collections, each piece is unique. The price of a TTANTI watch ranges from 200 to 250 USD.
3. Shirts out of the wood
Made in the E.U.
It may come as a surprise, but T-shirts made from wood, yes, WOOD ! are probably the most comfortable you will ever wear. Rough and rustic in its natural state, wood takes on an amazingly smooth and soft finish when transformed into a textile, boasting remarkable durability and breathability. It is an ethically sourced, highly sustainable material which helps to reduce our environmental footprint making it unquestionably the best fabric of choice. It is comforting to know that what you’re wearing is making a positive contribution to the planet.
WIJLD, a German based company with its production site in Portugal, produces T-shirts made of wood. This raw material grows in the E.U. and they stand for fair trade with the production based in Portugal. This makes their WOODSHIRTS a 100%-European produced product, from fibre to garment.
The ecological benefits of wood
Compared to synthetic materials such as polyester and nylon ( products of petrochemicals and thus non-biodegradable ) and even natural fibers like cotton ( which, unless organic, relies heavily on the use of harmful pesticides), wood fiber is sourced from sustainable farms and does not require chemicals to be transformed into fabric.
Second, due to the fabric’s high absorbency a WOODSHIRT will keep you dry and cool in Summer as the fabric draws moisture away from your skin. The fabric is also ideal for sensitive skin thanks to its anti-bacterial properties and the absence of chemicals . By inhibiting bacterial growth, the fabric also offers bigger odor control unlike any other fabric.
Every WOODSHIRT is proudly made in the E.U. under fair and safe working conditions and free of forced labour.
4. One Watch, One tree
Born in Italy
WeWOOD watches create all natural wooden watches from reclaimed and recycled wood and materials to create an eco-friendly, fashionable line of watches. Born in Florence, Italy in 2009, WeWOOD watches consolidate the Italian abilities to craft unique items and the necessity to care for our environment. The first to create wrist watches from wood, completely free of toxic and artificial materials using exotic remnant hardwoods from around the world.
WeWood collaborates with Trees for the Future by planting a tree for every wood watch purchased. Their goal is to help restore Mother Natures, one watch at a time by planting a tree for every watch. Since 2011 WeWood had planted over 600,000 trees with with the goal of planting 1 million trees by 2020.
5. A bag to walk away with…
Made in Africa
Let me take you next on a breath taking journey and walk you through the wonderful world of African ethical and sustainable design. I have never been to Kenya, but after having seen the ready to wear and accessory collections of EDUN, I am ready to take off.
I am totally in love with their EDUN VEGAN RED BIBI BAG. This Vegan leather mini tote, also available in white comes with contrast whip stitching and recycled wood handles. The body of the bag is made from PINATEX, a 100% biodegradable material. Where most of vegan leather is usually made from PVC which creates and releases toxic chemicals during use and disposal and takes over 1000 years to decompose in landfills, PINATEX is the upcycled waste material from pineapple harvest, hence totally biodegradable. PINATEX does not use land, water, pesticides or fertilizer.
This beautiful bag , like the rest of EDUN’s collection, is the result of building long-term growth opportunities by working with artisans, manufacturers and community-based initiatives to develop high-end designer products that celebrate and challenge ethical and sustainable fashion.
It is inspiring to see how in EDUN’s case innovations come to life via reimagined handwork techniques, unexpected materials and through repurposing existing resources in fresh ways.
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