This garment is connected to my story.
Fashion + Design Festival Arnhem — 03 juni 2022
Museum Arnhem — 87 Utrechtseweg, Arnhem, Nederland
"At least once in our life, we’ve all heard about the word sustainability. We’ve heard about it on social media, TV, radio and newspapers, we acknowledged it when it was explained to us in school by our favorite teacher or via Netflix documentaries. But what exactly is sustainability?
According to the Cambridge dictionary, sustainability is defined as “the quality of being able to continue over a period of time” or/and “the quality of causing little or no damage to the environment and therefore able to continue for a long time.” Thus, for example, in science class we were introduced to the concept of sustainable resources such as sunlight (solar power), water (hydroelectricity) or air (wind power).
Today however, I want to talk about sustainability in fashion. Due to the changing and deteriorating nature of our climate more and more awareness has been spread about sustainability. Young people especially are mobilising themselves to be heard. Especially those in the fashion sector - globally recognised as one of the most polluting industries - tries to become more eco-friendly.
Garcia Bello is a fashion startup based on up-cycling, zero waste patterns and handmade creations. Garcia Bello is a 100% sustainable company. One of the aspects about Garcia Bello’s fashion philosophy that amazed me the most was that there are stories behind every item. We tend to forget, whenever we purchase items on thrift stores, online or when borrowing from our parents’ wardrobe, that clothes have history. Perhaps, the oversized jeans jacket that you stole from your dad’s wardrobe is the jacket he wore while watching his favorite team playing a game winning match of football. The bag you bought on Vinted was the bag the seller carried to their first date with their current fiancé. Almost all clothes carry histories, moments and emotions that we are clueless about. Garcia Bello, through “this garment is connected to my story”, wants to highlight the importance of it. Each garment has inherent value beyond a monetary cost. They have a story, something that connects people with their clothes, making them long-lasting and unforgettable. For this reason, I am amazed by what our clothes not only tell us about ourselves, our style, how we define each other but about the items story itself.
I have decided to donate, since they receive most of their fabric from donations, my grandmother’s suit vest. At the beginning, it was a skirt she wore for important occasions, back in 1950. Then, she decided to donate it to me, but turning it into a suit vest, since she knew I did not like skirts. I wore it for important occasions too just like her, and what most was satisfying to me was wearing it when I was hanging out with her, because I knew she would get emotional just from seeing her grandchild wearing her clothes, rather than leaving all alone in her big wardrobe, because she “was too old” to wear them.
I have decided to donate my beloved vest to see how the amazing fabrics and memories woven into the garment could be transformed into something else, taking new form, but carrying history with it. Up-cycled clothes are made for other and unique individuals, who might ponder: “Where does it come from?”
There would be no more “I will wear it when I lose weight”, or “I will use it for a special occasion, like a summer dinner at the seaside”, that leaves these poor clothes hidden in the closet. Maybe it’s because we didn’t lose weight or we never had that summer dinner at the seaside, but most of it is because we are children of our society, a consumers society. We tend to want more and more, quantity over quality, and then we forget about the existence of those clothes we truly wanted and already bought, because we are now more interested in new clothes we do not have or need. The beauty of donating to create something else, is that you must let go of the old in order to receive something new. Something in the past that becomes something in the present for the future, for us as well as for someone else. A new story to be carried on."