Sustainability in fashion is about creating to last. We can continue the practice of demonstrating what is non-detrimental to the environment and society. This movement towards a better way of doing things has been in motion for a while, but it gains momentum as we pay more attention to business practices and have more choice. Technology allows us to gain more knowledge, than ever before. We know how business affects not only the planet, but humans all over the world. Good business practice is crucial, in this age of information and there are many brands leading the way, enabling consumers to make more ethical choices, from high-end designers such as Stella McCartney ,to more affordable brands such as Reformation. Today, No Name Design Studio invites its readers to an exclusive interview about sustainability in fashion with Kasia Leczycka, product developer and UK collection manager at Pastel by Yimalzipek. One of the leading greige fabrics producers in Turkey.
2020, the year the fashion industry is going green. Sustainability issues are crucial to the fashion industry due to consumers’ increasing awareness of environment. Many fashion companies recognize the importance of sustainability in business and incorporate green practices into their supply chain. Pastel by Yimalzipek is anticipating this trend, respecting the environment and people. In which ways do you suggest, a company can follow your example and make steps in sustainable fashion?
Every company or organisation can start the transformation, to be more sustainable in their own steps. It may sound like an overwhelming change, but I strongly believe its possible to do so -gradually and respectfully to its own business and people. The most essential, I think, is to communicate to all the team about it and make sure its understandable. Then, to involve every single person to participate in change, where all ideas are welcome. Acknowledgement of areas where we can impact will come automatically, next. There is no standard way to do so and everyone can start wherever the easiest. Whether to start with a conscious approach to daily routines like waste production controlling, recycling, efficient energy use etc. Or start with a product’s origin, components, labour and how production can impact the environment we live in; either in a good and/or bad way. Once its started -it naturally goes ahead and becomes a habit. Lets hope no one uses it as a one time trend.
The Fashion industry has huge impacts on the global environment: the demand to minimize environmental pollution, is not only from fashion firms, but also consumers. The understanding is, that if a supply chain is more sustainable, more natural resources are used and less CO2 are emitted, in return retail prices might also increase. Previous studies reveal, that fashion consumers, are interested in purchasing sustainable fashion products and also willing to pay a higher price. How did you come to the decision, to invest in biodegradable fabrics and to not produce fabrics, that could contribute to land and water pollution?
When I first started work with Pastel by Yilmazipek over 2 years ago, company just launched their Fillsens Tek-Care collection- first officially named as sustainable and created in Pastel by Yilmazipek labs. While my cooperation with the company was developing, I have realised that Pastel had already started using ecological friendly and consciously sourced yarns, in a vast majority of fabrics. After a few discussions, we decided that we want to pursue the most environmental friendly product and company activity as possible. We are constantly working on it; new ideas and fields for action. Sustainability, in my opinion, is a never ending process, state of mind, respect and cooperation, education and good will.
We see many prestigious fashion companies, such as H&M, launching sustainability programs in which more job opportunities in less developed countries are created. More recyclable resources are used in production and consumers are educated to be more ethical: as a result, market and supply chain are creating a sea change to be more economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable. With your long-term experience with Premiere Vision exhibitions and your watchful eye of the evolution of trends, how do you think the market will respond to these changes?
I guess the market has already responded- surely- some take it as the next trend to follow, but visibly there is growing consciousness and gives hope that it actually may be the new standard. I believe the process has started and I hope it will be growing as a mutual cooperation and education between consumer and product provider.
Yimalzipek Textile has a very long history and more than 80 years of experience in textile, being established in 1930. How are you able to keep transforming yourself and your production line from silk, to fashion fabrics? How can a sustainable fashion brand innovate itself , in order to meet the needs of their customers?
Working in the fashion business is always connected with an ever changing transformation , possibly more than other businesses. Going from silk production to other yarn based fabrics was dictated mainly by a desire of other materials in fashion. And also, high production cost compared to similar far east articles. An ability for innovation while placing the business into a more conscious and sustainable status- I think it works as usual. Being more ethical does not affect customer needs, but can effectively open a new door. There is a very close relation on the line: The brand . The customer and I believe, that there will be more educational exchange between both parties. I think people were, always open to this knowledge.
Tell us about Premiere Vision, the global event for fashion professionals, in which the six major industries supplying materials and services to the fashion industry, is held in Paris. What trends can we expect for the next season? Can you give No Name Design’s readers an exclusive preview of what you are working on, for your upcoming collection?
In September we show our full AW 20 collection at PV, a preview of what was already showed in July at LTF, NY, Munich and Istanbul fairs. As themes- I can only reveal key words as: activity, love, recycling, strength. We have launched our works for SS 21, and that’s where I have my focus now – we will definitely introduce some new sustainable fabrics to our regular offer, along with growing Fillsens and Eastman Naia cooperation collection.
What’s your suggestion(s) for a young textiles’ student that is approaching the fashion world for the first time, within the context of sustainability?
Its great to create something timeless and beyond the trend, something you want to cherish always. Its great to think over components, where they are coming from, what are they made from and how they interact with nature. Its great to choose consciously and responsibly. But as Im aware – young textile students are quite settled with this approach.
Can you give No Name Design’s readers an anticipation, of your next designer collaborations or upcoming projects for the near future?
With Pastel we are working on few new ideas, as mentioned already, we want to use more recycled and further recyclable yarns. It is bit too early to give you clear vision. Definitely, we will continue our cooperation with Eastman Naia- cellulosic yarn produced from trees, harvested from sustainably managed forests and plantations located across North America, Europe, and Brazil.
As personal projects- I have started ( 2 months ago) freelancing as an atelier assistant for The Restory- atelier created for restoration of accessories like bags and shoes. Which is aiming to grow into a clothing restoration in the future. Im learning a lot of how to repair, to renovate or to give any uplifting, for already owed and loved goods. Its real craft I have wanted to learn for a long time and Im very happy, to join the enthusiastic team there.
Additionally- I always enjoy to work as a stylist, on my friends projects.
We know your company works together with large retailers of the fashion world, as well as small brands. Can you tell us if there’s any major difference, in working with such clients?
It is hard to say, if size of the company makes a difference. Rather, the differences are coming from strategy and the DNA of each brand. And not really related to how big they are, in terms of turnover, capacity or team size.
Kasia, about your role as product development and UK collection manager at Yimalzipek: where does this role fit into the industry today? What are the qualities required, to hold this position? How is it working for one of the leading greige fabric producers, in Turkey?
My work for Pastel by Yilmazipek comprises of consulting, that is related to all existing market insights. As well looking at the evolution of the customer and brands needs, updating trend directions, and cooperating actively with Andrew Moss Agencies- our sales agent in UK. Myself and the Pastel by Yilmazipek team are very lucky to work on every new collection with the amazing textile designer Marialuisa Bibi Ranchi. Art director of Chiron trend books, based in Torino, Italy. This position seems to be a natural consequence of my past experience as a collection/ product manager for fashion brands, visual merchandiser, store manager and stylist. Its difficult to say what qualities it requires- I guess in my case, it must be the passion for creativity and pretty things: )Im a historian of art from my academic education and I always have a great interest and eye for anything beautifully crafted. As it appeared after my graduation, quite surprisingly, I was also able to manage a business. Working with passion and open mindedness, may be the key here.
All photo credits belong to Instagram account of Kasia Leczycka and Pastel by Yimalzipek.