Sustainable and Cool

Sustainable and Cool

To kick-off New York Fashion Week, we invited two sustainable designers to talk about the future of fashion at our Nolita flagship store.

Two weeks ago, to celebrate the beginning of NY Fashion Week, Natura had the pleasure of hosting a talk about sustainability in the fashion industry. For this panel we invited the owner of Thrif-Tee, Marina Theiss, and Daniel Silverstein from Zero Waste Daniel. Marina is a vintage fashion curator who travels the world in search of articles with purpose, and Daniel is a sustainable designer – his creations are composed of 100% scrap material. For Natura, it was a natural fit, as sustainability is one of the brand’s core values.

The fashion industry today heavily impacts the environment — not only because of the marketing pressures to update our wardrobes every season, but also because of the enormous amount of resources that are needed in the manufacturing process, including water, raw materials and energy.

The conversation was inspiring, lively and full of insights. Daniel told the audience that “we have to start worrying not just about how clothes look, but also how they’re made”. Marina agreed and suggested that the fashion industry, filled with creative people, “should start thinking outside the box, and follow on the footsteps of Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood”, designers who have been ahead of the curve in conscious sourcing for their creations.

Both Thrif-Tee and Zero Waste Daniel started organically. As a little kid, Daniel remembers using every material available to him – from tin foil to tape – to make his earliest creations. He already knew he wanted to be a designer. He recalled once filling an entire bag with fabric scraps for US$1, which instantly became his “fashion toy”. Later, during college and as an intern for bigger brands like Victoria’s Secret, he started noticing that other designer’s trash could become his treasure, and the idea of Zero Waste Daniel was born. “We need to see potential in what other people see as trash, before it hits the landfill”, he encouraged the audience.

Marina started her career in fashion as a model, and recalls not thinking about where the fashion items she coveted came from, how they were made and what the materials were. But instinctively she had a leaning toward sustainability, starting a swap club with her friends in NYC – “instead of buying, swap”, she told the crowd.

The talk ended with both designers offering their views on the next steps for fashion and sustainability. According to Marina, “It is a matter of us changing our habits until sustainable fashion becomes the normal”, adding a more ominous reminder that “if we don’t change, the next generations won’t have a nice clean beach they can go to”.

Daniel offered a hint for those who want to live a sustainable life: “take one small step at a time. Start by not using a disposable cup to drink your coffee every morning. After you incorporate this habit, add a new one. Find alternatives and over time you can live a totally reusable lifestyle”. We should all take it to heart. 

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