With consumers becoming more socially and environmentally conscious, demand has grown for ‘sustainable’ fashion made in an ethically and ecologically friendly way. Yet it’s all too easy to imply change without implementing it, and many campaigns by high-street chains have profited from shoppers’ guilty consciences through deceptive ‘greenwashing’ with eco-fashion claims rarely matching up to the stark reality of the factory floor. A recent analysis by the European Commission of the language used by fashion retailers found that 42% of ‘sustainability’ claims were “exaggerated, false or deceptive.” Real sustainability comes from consuming less, a model that simply isn’t appealing to companies who depend on impulse buys. So how to fix the fast fashion merry-go-round? Step outside it.
A number of young Spanish brands are doing just this, atoning for the transgressions of over-consumption by embracing the heritage of Spanish craftsmanship and understanding that quality pieces take time to put together. For these labels there’s a renewed focus on the hard-working hands at the heart of the process. With this mood, Miista have invested in their own factory in the North of Spain. “We need to restore the art of craft back to the North of Spain” says Miista’s founder Laura Villasenin. “After decades of Spanish fashion being diluted into a high street product, I want young people to see fashion factory careers as relevant, exciting and viable”.
In the north of the country there’s an abundance of traditional crafts to take inspiration from. Take the humble espadrille, with its soft sole of Jute, now a must-have summer shoe, its simple but elegant design originates from Catalonia, in the north east where the footwear featured as a signature part of the area’s traditional costume. Textiles and in particular handmade linens have also been produced in Galicia since the Middle Ages, with the process of spinning the material a central part of social life, providing a time in which people would sing or tell stories.