Founder, Professor and consultant at Slow Fashion Next
We wanted to start this blog with an interview with the person who has been our point of reference during our research phase of what Miu Sutin would be and who continues to be an important figure thanks to her work promoting sustainable fashion and the challenges that come along with it: Gema Gomez.
➡️ Even though there is a lot of talk that sustainable fashion is usually timeless (due to the minimalist designs and usage of more discreet and natural colors), do you think that in the future we would be able to have access to more innovative collections that include ¨risky¨ trendy prints? To be able to fully achieve a sustainable wardrobe?
I believe that sustainable fashion is bringing more innovation in materials. Before this movement, orange fiber and Piñatex weren´t available among many other fabrics that are breaking new ground. Therefore, I think that the sustainability trend is bringing a lot of innovation along with it. Yes, it is true that in some cases the processes are still limited where it should be the opposite. It should be seen as more of an opportunity. Start asking yourself questions based on the needs that arise: is there a color dye that I need that is sustainable? If it doesn’t exist, how can it be done? How can it be developed? And a Lycra which is compostable, for example?
➡️ What aspect of sustainability that you think surprises people the most once they start to learn about it?
I think there are different aspects, but perhaps I would say when they begin to comprehend the volume, it just seems like it’s something that’s hidden.
Everyone is talking about the big ones like Join Life, Conscious or Commitment, and what they all have in common is that there are two aspects that they mention: Overproduction and that waste that is closely linked to it and the upwards estimates. Therefore, once you begin to explain how it´s all linked to different impacts of usage of conventional materials, people begin to be very surprised.
➡️ In your opinion, what power do small fashion brands have in the right for a more sustainable planet?
I believe that the power that we all hold is the power of choice and decision. The minute we decide to put our money towards a different model, we have the power to change things, because all it takes next is for everybody to follow. That’s why small brands are the better alternative. However, we can´t ask them to make the change alone, legislation, education, subsidies and aid to optimize, all of these are needed so they can be more competitive in the market, penalties could also be applied on those who perform poorly or don’t comply with the rules.
In my opinion, I think that even though these small brands are the key ( because the decentralized models are the ones that are more likely to be sustainable) they cannot do it all alone, all the links of the chain are needed.
➡️ Should we trust the sustainable actions that big companies take? To what point or what is the best form of making sure that the promosie and the positive impact is real? Should we give them a vote of trust as a form of reward for the little steps they take towards a better model?
I personally am not much for fast fashion chains because I don’t believe that they have it inserted within them. The training they usually do doesn’t speak reality for their employees. And I, who have been monitoring them for a long time, am able to verify that they are reactive, and all they want to achieve is to appear on the Forbes list, so I honestly do not trust them.
Of course, if they have real willpower to make an adequate sustainable model, I would love to help and accompany them, but I don’t think that that’s the case with the way that they are currently working now. What they want is to produce in high volumes to reach infinite growth so that nobody can limit their production. Starting from there, they can be a little bit more efficient, but they continue making new trends, every two weeks they renew their products in stores, they continue with the black friday sales…. At that moment I lost trust.
➡️ Do you think that it would be possible to continue democratizing sustainable fashion in the future to the point where it stops being the exception or the alternative? What future expectations do you have in this regard and how much do you think it will take to achieve said objectives? Would it be possible to make fast fashion as we know it disappear or get regulated enough so that it stops causing environmental and human harm?
Yes I do believe that everything will change, however, the change and the transformation that’s coming isn’t going to be smooth. Large companies need to start thinking that the change a conscious consumer takes from buying 10 times to buying 2 pieces of good quality and where they feel represented is very fast. It only takes watching a documentary that will make you change your paradigm forever.
It is true that sustainable fashion brands are evolutionizing, new brands have been born, with better styles, some small ones do it very well and they live very well of it… for that reason, for me my future expectations and over all now that we have the european plan, they are very optimists, I know that it won’t be easy and it’s going to be very difficult at times, but the world lives off difficult moments, what’s happening in Colombia , what they have been living through in Venezuela all of these years…
I believe that what’s important is that every one of us in their everyday life, in our circle of influence, like Stephen Covey said, should do everything that we can. I think that human evolution is going in this direction, right? Basically because if not, there won’t be evolution and we won’t be able to survive, therefore, from my perspective, that’s the definitive idea.