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The market for sustainable fashion is enormous and it continues to grow. "Consumers are tired of buying clothes whose quality deteriorates after few wears and washes. We are all becoming aware of the incredible damage our culture of consumption and planned obsolescence is having on our world. There is a significant rise in the number of people who want to know how and where their clothing is made. Consumers have more power than we realise," Mallett told Fibre2Fashion.
The transition from designing jewelleries to clothes has not been easy for her. "There is much more planning required when you are designing clothing—especially when you are importing materials from another continent. I found myself making more than twice the number of prototypes than usual, as more was at stake re: time and materials costs," informed Mallett whose sewless collection have been made from sustainable and ethically-sourced Portuguese cork fabric.
Talking of the sustainable material used in the sewless clothing collection, she explained, "A source of inspiration for the collection was the material itself. I have used black and white cork fabric which looks so stunningly unusual all on its own. I intend to continue working with sustainable materials—it’s what we need to be focusing on as designers."
As an industry, we tend to focus on making existing materials used in clothing more sustainable, rather than asking why we need to include them in the first place, said Mallet. "Microplastics are a huge concern for the planet, and I realised last year that all of my faux-leather clothing in my closet contained plastics. I also observed that most of it was either disintegrating or wearing out quickly. I did some research, and ordered some cork leather samples. I was amazed at how the fabric performed and how tough and light it was. We are used to seeing cork being used for limited items in North America: wine corks, cork boards, and cork flooring. Cork textiles are quite a different entity—tough, tear-resistant and naturally waterproof. "
Slowly, we are moving towards sustainable fashion but one of the main challenges is the already established fashion system. "It has been with us for so long, and it has been a huge financial success. When a sector generates so much income, it’s hard to create change and convince stakeholders to shift towards a new way of operating. I think the mental shift—not the mechanics of physical change—is the big hurdle for sustainability in our industry," she said. (RR)
Click here to read the complete interview
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