We have to realize that we are what we consume … and that buying responsibly we can save the world.
A few months ago, just after we started our Eco Eco section, we found Pia Jimenez Calderon, author of the wonderful blog A Style Manifesto, in one of those extensive virtual excavations, as always, looking for kindred souls and inspiration.
In her blog, Pia advocates sustainable fashion and responsible consumption. It was her work for an NGO in Paris focused on the textile sector in Vietnam and North Africa that opened her eyes to the real implications of the textile industry. From there, there was no turning back for Pía, and, thus, she radically changed consumption habits and started investigating. Where do shoes, dresses, pants and shirts we buy come from? And what sustainable alternatives do exist?
This research gave way to A Style Manifesto, a place where she shares notes on sustainable initiatives, environmental and social problems arising from conventional textile production and practical advice on how to dress “responsibly”. Up until today, despite the growing interest in sustainability and social responsibility in the fashion industry, it is still a big interrogative among sensitized consumers and, therefore, a question we pose again in a chat with Pía via e-mail. “Consuming less and better. That when we do it, we really think about what we are actually buying, how much it will last and what impact it has, both on the environment or on cycles of poverty and the rights of workers “, this young entrepreneur answers, taking us back to the essential:.informing ourselves, asking questions, reconnecting with what is happening in those countries where the vast amount of what we wear each day is produced.
I think we value things more when they have something to say, or feel attached to them somehow.
Last year, Pia embarked on a new project that seems like a natural continuation of everything that she iniatiated in her blog. Pia&Co, an online store that showcases a carefully curated selection of handmade products from all around the world. Panama Hats produced in Ecuador, accessories made from recycled materials, Kilim shoes manufactured by shoemakers in Istanbul … products with soul, that set out more than just the latest trend. “I think we value things more when they have something to say, or feel attached to them somehow” Pia points out. Just like the bags by the Wayuu foundation in Colombia, made in the province of Guajira by artisan women, whose prints used to enunciate stories that the weaver had dreamed about, or simply wanted to tell. Valuable artisanal traditions that inspired her to create her own store and, thus, be able to support projects like this more actively. However, despite the fact that social and environmental awareness, both among consumers and designers, is increasingly becoming a commonplace, it is difficult to be competitive “against those who do don’t pay fair wages, or meet basic standards of respect for human rights of workers and protection for the environment. “And we still have much ahead of us in terms of a change in consumption patterns in our society on a more generalized level. “We have to realize that we are what we consume … and that buying responsibly we can save the world.”