Unravelau @ The Next Green Talents

Unravelau is one of the brands featured in The Next Green Talents, the scouting project by Vogue Italia and Yoox to run at the Palazzo Morando. The opening event will be held on February 22 during the Fashion Week in Milan, while the exhibition will be open to the public on February 23-24.

By VOGUE ITALIA on February 14, 2018

Describe your brand in few words.
Laura Meijering: Dutch sustainable high-end women’s wear

Tell us more about the collection you will showcase at the Palazzo Morando: the inspiration, the materials, the silhouettes…
For this FW’18 collection called ‘Threadbare’I took inspiration from the denim culture. Jeans are one of the most durable items a person can possess in terms of its long lasting fabric. The real ‘denim heads’ extend this process as much as possible by barely washing their jeans and repair it until it’s no longer possible.  They wear it until it becomes almost threadbare because they created a shape and wearing pattern that is completely unique and only belongs to them. In my fascination, I became to question why we are not doing this with other items that aren’t made out of denim.To visualize this I recycled the jeans that people thought no longer useful and gave them a new life, with torn apart items made out of other fabrics. The silhouettes are dramatic yet wearable and can each be combined in their own way. Each single piece is handcrafted in the atelier in Utrecht and are either made of reused materials or 100% organic materials like silk, hemp and linen.

Threadbare shows the importance of valuing social and environmental issues. The collection proves that it’s possible to minimize consumption by reusing materials that are already available. This reduces the carbon and negative footprint of the textile industry. At the same time this contributes to changing the consumer’s way of  acting and thinking, by creating a durable relationship between product and consumer.

How would you describe the T-shirt you conceived for the project?
When Unravelau was commissioned to design and produce a 100% sustainable t-shirt, we emphasized the message it had to convey. Without looking at the label of the shirt, it has to show it is sustainable from the outside. Hence why we used discarded jeans, collected from people in the Netherlands, that each have their own wear patterns. Along with fine finishing details, every t-shirt is unique, sustainable, and luxurious.

What does ‘sustainable fashion’ mean for you?
Fashion plays an important role in expressing who we are. Yet, I also see the big impact of the fashion industry on our society and environment. Sustainable fashion ensures that we remain able to express ourselves, but also within the boundaries of what our planet allows. This means that sustainable fashion has to be more than just a hype or philanthropy. The industry has to change, from raw materials to disposal and everything in between. Such a change does not happen overnight, it takes time. At Unravelau we try to make every decision as sustainable as possible, one step at a time but at least one step further than the day before.

How do you address the theme of sustainability in your collections?
Unravelau acknowledges the importance of conserving the environment and urges others to do so. Yet, today’s fashion system produces significant amounts of waste, and discards a lot of products for which new uses can be found. That’s why only organic and recycled materials are used. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. Additionally, many of the used patterns are reused to also save materials used during the design process. Waste from fabrics and thread leftovers are collected and saved for future use in new collections.
Unravelau produces all their work in a fair way. Every product is made by hand in the atelier in Utrecht, The Netherlands. The products are made with love and care for fashion and the environment, and are expected to be treated the same.

What does taking part in The Next Green Talents at the Palazzo Morando mean for you and your brand? What do you expect from  the Milan event?
Personally, I believe that the leaders of today’s fashion have an important role to play, as they can set a direction and an example of how we can approach business practices in this industry more socially and ecologically responsible. However, as a relatively small sustainable designer, Unravelau can be part of a group of smaller businesses that that can also make change come about. Our mind-set at Unravelau is focused on sustainability, while we are flexible in transforming radically new ideas into actions. The latter is often more difficult for larger organisations. The collaboration with YOOX and Vogue Italia demonstrates how smaller and larger business can join together and complement each other; our flexibility and their large market reach.

What are you projects for the future? And the next step in your career?
At minimum, we would like to keep pushing the boundaries of incorporating sustainability principles in our future collections. Also, we would like to develop a ready-to-wear line of relatively basic items, that is accessible to a broader market. We want to demonstrate that living sustainable does not necessarily means having a more expensive lifestyle. So, not only within the boundaries of the planet, but also within the boundaries of your wallet.