A Note from Eden
Looking back at my career so far, I try to think what brought me to what I now do. At various turning points, facing various challenges, I could have decided differently. I could have returned to the theatre or came up with something totally new. I nevertheless decided to stay in sustainable fashion. Why?
I came to realise that people tend to set their goals and ways of achieving them in line with their personal values.
The questions I’ve long been asking are what is fair to me as a consumer, what is fair for those I present myself to, what is fair for those who manufacture this part of my identity, and what is fair to nature, the source of everything. Sustainable fashion is a new mode of consumption, it is an anti-fashion and a different attitude to everything beautiful. Sustainable fashion is my personal protest and artistic expression.
Unfortunately, nature today is too often understood as a mere profit opportunity. The accumulation of capital and wealth seems to be the sole goal of the majority of companies, banks and corporations. While India’s been running out of drinking water, forests and animal species are disappearing and toxic chemicals are being released into the environment every day, the euphoria of mass consumption continues.
Today it is possible to buy a piece of clothing for €800 and more, and a seemingly identical piece for only a few euros. The price range allows both rich and poor to consume beyond their actual needs. Following the economic logic of human and environmental exploitation we seem to value the price and looks of commodities more than we care about the consequences of our own actions.
Nevertheless, what we buy and how often has never been more important than it is today, especially if we don't want to be sorry for our current actions ten years from now. When purchasing clothes, it is important that before we buy a piece that has caught our attention we first learn more about how it was made, and what from. The answers to such questions can tell us about our future: in ten years’ time, are we still going to be drinking clean water, breathing fresh air and eating healthy food?
The solution is quite simple, and technological support for the change of our habits is already available. All that still needs to be done is a slight change in the order of our priorities.
Sustainable design is one of the most complex systems I have encountered in my career. It requires a great deal of research and information gathering, discipline, precision and, last but not least, the cultivation of good professional relationships, since it rarely occurs that two suppliers of the same kind of fabric are found in regional or even global markets.
The textiles I use in my designs are not only “clean” and ecologically certified, but are also state-of-the-art, rare and otherwise difficult to obtain. The production of so-called clean textiles involves strict control over the use and release of chemicals throughout the entire process, from the planting of seeds to the dyeing of the resulting materials.
Tiny structural inconsistencies in such textiles are thus desirable, as serve as proof that the fabric has not been treated with a chemical finish. Prints are then done in Italy by carefully selected printing houses with certificates about the integrity of the dyes used.
None of the materials used in the collection is of animal origin, nor do they in any way endanger wildlife. I try to avoid using recycled plastic, unless for special occasions with a specific intent in mind. At my work I leave nothing to the pure desire for profit at the planet's expense. I believe that it is possible to be successful without destroying the planet and exploiting people on the way.
There is no need to wait for further technological advances in order to create an environmentally friendly fashion industry. Currently available solutions are in fact sufficient, while we are on the other hand running out of time. The cleaner the composition of the products we buy, the better chances of survival we have, or as the young protesters would say: “There is no planet B”.
On our new website we also offer a pre-order option. Although the idea of ordering a garment six months ahead does not appear very customer-friendly, pre-orders significantly reduce inventories and thereby textile waste. In our common effort for a better planet, we meet our pre-order customers halfway by offering a lower price.
We encourage the “less but of higher quality” consumption principle, and reduce our prices exclusively at the expense of production surpluses and by no means with the exploitation of workers, animals or cheap chemical processes that poison the environment.
Each season is dedicated to an endangered species, and the 2020 spring summer collection is dedicated to parrots. Many of the existing 387 species of these colourful birds are endangered, some of them on the verge of extinction due to the destruction of their natural habitats and the illegal trade in wildlife. By catching the beauty of these birds in my designs, I draw attention to their disappearance.
Lovers of life, I meet you in my clothes. Together we can remake the world.
Matea Benedetti, CEO, fashion designer