Written by Maria Galvão de Sousa.

Let’s talk about sustainability?

Yes! So let’s start by the beginning of the sustainability circle: the choice of materials and fibres.

When we talk about the sustainability of a product, there are a number of concepts we have to have in mind.

We have to understand the full scope of the supply chain, from the very beginning of each material - farm level, the people that are part of the supply chain and their work conditions, the carbon footprint of the garment as it travels to its destination to the store where the garment is presented for consumption.  

10th Magazine Editorial March 2018, photography Emma Tempest, Stylist Camilla Pole, Model Jennae Quisenberry

I think that when we talk about fashion sustainability, fibres and materials, it’s still a distant concept because it’s something that we do not experience the impact daily.

For example, we can see the impact of the overconsumption of plastic when we swim in the sea or walk in the beaches, but we don’t see the amount of waste and impact of the materials and plastics we’re using to create clothes.

When it comes to materials, we have to understand the basis of our garment, that it came from a material made in nature, that it was collected and then treated in a factory or laboratory to end as a yarn.

As Claire Bergkamp, Sustainability & Innovation Director at Stella McCartney said during the Environmental Audit Committee at Victoria and Albert Museum - "Building this very basic understanding back in of, “This dress started as a tree”—the trousers I am wearing today literally started as a tree—and that cotton is a flower is probably our biggest challenge."

Modern Weekly Style special issue on Water Crisis, photography Misha Taylor, Stylist Ferdi Sibbel

Modern Weekly Style special issue on Water Crisis21, photography Misha Taylor, Installation Michele Mathison

So, the journey through sustainability starts primarily on a farm level, with the choice of the raw materials and fibres to be used.

It’s good that brands start having this notion and start looking for more sustainable options.

Let’s take in consideration that organic cotton is not always the best option, as some brands promote since to produce the same amount of organic cotton we need twice the amount of resource (water, land, petrol). Sometimes, recycled plastic and polyester are a more sustainable option, since we’re using an already existing material to create another. Avoiding waste.  

Maria Maleta Sustainable Collection

Maria Maleta Sustainable Collection

Maria Maleta Sustainable Collection

Maria Maleta is one of the best study cases of a brand concerned with sustainability.

The Portuguese brand of accessories has just launched a new collection that uses more sustainable materials than their previous collections: vegetable tanned leather, biodegradable leather and recycled fabric from PET.

Vegetable tanned leather is a material created by a tanning process that does not use any harmful chemicals and only colours based on natural ingredients, the biodegradable leather is created by using a wet-white (no metals involved) tanning process that improves the material’s biodegradability and, finally, recycled fabric from PET recycled bottles. PET, stands for Polyethylene terephthalate, as the most favourable packaging material, is owing to its transparent colour, lightweight and strength. Used on bottles, clothing and others, it’s being used as one of the primary materials for recycling and as one of the materials for Maria Maleta’s bags.

Besides the choice of more sustainable materials, the brand focuses on creating a long-lasting product giving the clients a lifelong guarantee for their products. Maria Maleta is definitely on the path towards a sustainable fashion industry.

Find Maria Maleta's new Sustainable Collection at The Feeting Room:

Maria Galvão de Sousa works in fashion production and communication. After her studies in Fashion and Textile Design, she lived half a year in London where she had her first real contact with the industry.For the past three years, she’s been working with international fashion brands throughout the main fashion weeks helping them develop their business and communication strategy.She has also been an editor and curator for her own project and blog Contemporary Lives Here for the past 8 years, where she develops editorial content and conceptual campaigns for international and national brands. 

Find her work at: 



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