Graziela Sousa

do fast and sustainable match?

Jul
18

Woke up to this piece on The Hill about Zara committing to using sustainable products by 2025.

I’m sorry. I really do not think Fast Fashion will ever be sustainable, it’s an oxymoron. It’s not about promising sustainable materials (as a consumer/wearer I hate viscose tbh) it should be about promoting other ways of doing fashion, of keeping up the newness or originality that give us this rush while offering new ways of doing, renewing, styling our closets or items.

The way we regard fashion is a very personal thing, as style goes even deeper. I think we all crave for individuality but on the other hand tend to mimic other people’s style or use them as role-models or good examples.

I’ve been on a personal journey regarding my clothes, haven’t been registering much, but will be in a few months. Most of them are vintage, upcycled, second hand or family hand-outs. A lot of people ask me about the items I wear, a lot of them are one-of-a-kind or just too hard to find similar, because they were made in the 80’s/90’s.

This thing about Zara/Inditex promising sustainability and circularity is something that bothers me and makes me so skeptical: isn’t this group one of the ones to blame for over-consumption of garments in the first place? Isn’t it logical that this sort of promise is just a way of making ‘us’ (consumers) feel a bit less guilty and free to choose cheap, trendy and non-lasting clothes?

Shouldn’t this large companies be the ones helping us (consumers) with trustworthy information and helping all workers across the whole chain to have better conditions?

I could live with an Inditex group which supported schools for garment industry worker’s children, which supported local craftsmanship, which helped consumers making their garments last with altering and repairing.

Not with one that makes a press realease saying ‘our materials will be 100% sustainable’ (subliminal text: You may be at ease and keep on buying.)

love threads

Mar
16

On and off as usual, last weekend (7th to 10th March) was my last ModaLisboa – Lisbon Fashion Week before I finally hopefully wrap up and finish my thesis. Feelings are a bit mixed or shaken I’d say at the least.

I am one from the Doers, not one to just think and write quiet and peacefully so this might be the biggest challenge I’ve had in my entire life: to finish what I started, write it up and be proud of it in the end. Never imagined it would take this long nor that it would be so difficult to finish. But now I am actually on the finish line, so there is nothing that can stop me besides my insecurity.

I think my latest experience in ModaLisboa really kicked out a lot of good feelings and made me feel like I actually have something to be proud of, proud to keep growing and proud to belong to such a team of change makers for whom ‘nothing is impossible’ as one reads in a neon sign right on the ModaLisboa’s office entrance.

I am one of those who take care of the pop Ups, the places for networking and learning as well as the talks, which is a great honor because I actually get to share my beliefs, try new things and see how they go – I am so lucky to have been welcomed in a place where I can plant creative seeds while I am mentored to grow and evolve thoroughly and strategically by Eduarda and Joana, two mentors and forces of nature to whom I am forever grateful.

As a metaphor for all I am saying above, this time we also had a live atelier with Avó Veio Trabalhar, where several artists costumised pieces and in the end of our 4 day fashion week, after so many knowledge shared, after a performance by Eduardo Moreira with the resulting pieces and fabrics provided by Calvelex and Fabrics4Fashion – I just had a very strong feeling of fulfillment and thankfulness for being part of all this.

pic by João Fernandes Rocha

I felt that it all pays off if we put love into the things we do, if we gather the ones that work the way we do, that believe in their missions from within and like that we all are able to do more, do better and contaminate the next ones, the emerging professionals we hope to provoke and make the next change makers in our industry.


Alumni Talks @FAUL

Nov
02

We started to implement the Alumni Talks at FAULisboa, in the fields of Design: Fashion, Communication and Product Design.

The scheme is as follows: each month we have a talk at lunch time with an alumni which comes and speaks about its career, discusses the challenges of the workplace and also explains the way he/she chose to pursue studies, courses, post-grads etc.

We already had the opportunity to host 3 talks in the field of Fashion:

  • December 2017 – with Filipa Homem, who graduated more than 15 years ago, worked with Alexander MacQueen, H&M, TopShop, Knot among many other international brands;

  • May 2018 – Daniela Pais – a sustainable designer and trend researcher, who pursued studies in the Nederlands after graduating from FAUL and has since built her own sustainable brand Elementum, while collaborating with Li Edelkoort’s trend office ‘Trend Union’;

  • October 2019 – this time, we decided to try something a bit different and tried a different orientation, having topics or themes for each talk, having the chance to gather more than 1 alumni for each one – so we tried for the first time at October 26th. The theme was Fashion Communication and we invited a fashion journalist, Margarida Brito Paes (editor of Delas.pt – the Diário de Noticias online fashion magazine) and Maria Rita (a fashion photographer who has been working for the last 8 years with several brands, stores and magazines).

The format is still evolving, but this was an approximation to a better format – specially because we aim to show our students what a graduate can do after leaving the university as well as the different courses that a career in fashion can take.
It is very important to show them that they can do several things other then designing clothes, because the fashion industry demands much more than that, and can offer several other jobs and opportunities.
It is also important to underline that these alumni can help to uncover the ‘unknown’ gap from leaving the uni to finding a job one loves and one can excel and make a proper living at.
The room was full and the attendees made several questions, so we’ll do one more in the next semester and then reflect about the growth and evolution of the initiative.

the future is curated

Oct
24

No, i don’t mean tailored. It’s not about asking consumers what they want or need. It’s actually about curating selections of products ‘in the new’ or the ‘unexpected’.

It’s about building up installations, exhibitions or Pop-ups, physical ones, full of new products no one has seen or heard about yet OR maybe combined in such a way that you will be surprised.
It’s about freshness and excitement, about the things you cannot find online, the ones you’ve never seen before.
Also, as a professional I must say, it’s about keeping up the search, the scouting, the digging, about going to those cities, shops or thrift-shops yet unknown.

In this sense i’d say that this insight isn’t just about fashion, either apparel or accessories, it can be about everything from cosmetics to craftsmanship to food or even homeware.
People need the creative crowd to come and get really creative. We need to keep up the excitement. To get off of our screens and provide real experiences: visual, tactile and olfactive.

We need to deliver good yet unexpected combos, in every sort of delivery point: hotels, displays, museums, concept stores and temporary installations.

One proof of that is precisely our social media: as in instagram, spotify, pinterest et. al. we are all mixing and showing off our personal moodboards, liking our favorite things, which results (as per algorithms exist) in a selection of things suggested/shown based on that.

So let’s provide for PHYSICAL boards and tasteful selections, promoting local and sustainable alternatives and showing new things for the audience to like – i mean to REALLY like, not just  double-tap 😉

A Vida Portuguesa: selected Portuguese traditional products, celebrating our excellent manufacturers while letting melancholy do its part.

all i need is: a break

Jul
30

As some of you might know, it’s my 4th summer with a thesis hanging over my head, my soul and my heart.
It’s also the 4th time I end up admitting I need some vacation, that I sort of succumb to the idea of stopping because I start feeling depressed and lacking some time off from everything.

it’s not always easy to admit one needs to stop, take a dive, eat fish and get sun on their skin. but it’s been another rough year and I’m now convinced that this time off will not be out of laziness or procrastination. I need and deserve a break, and do think I will return with a refreshed and productive mind.

I also have just promised myself I will never apologize for taking a break, and will never again consider not having a vacation at least once a year.
It’s about health and self-love.

So I guess it’s ba-bye! see you in a week! 🙂

Sei Fazer

Jun
27

Along this big life change and journey I’ve had the privilege to get to meet great and interesting people who became sources of support and inspiration.

One of them is Joana, who taught me so much and contributed heavily in several aspects of my way of thinking, behaving and actually facing the world and the things I know about.

Through sharing books, situations, articles and glasses of wine, of course, we realized we could actually do something about empowering other women.

Joana decided to start with the ones close to her: gathering a few friends in a Facebook group called ‘Sei Fazer’ (which can be translated into ‘Know how to’), where we can ask about things we need to know about but have no formal way of learning, like changing a tire, or using a drill. I followed her and gathered more friends and now we feel we can do whatever we please because there was a big echo among other women – the best trickle down effect EVER <3

 

We already change tires without calling the insurance company and have a knitting circle being organized, we are considering knitting on the beach, dunno how that will turn out 😀

back on track

Jun
26

I know I’ve been out of this place for too long, it’s been a crazy yet wonderful year and today is the day I am back on my desk to handle a Phd situation I’ve been avoiding to solve for too long.

It’s been more than one year since my professional life started to change (following my personal one) and it’s been a crazy ride, I’ve been learning and evolving so much and I can’t even start to mention all that changed in my life, my perspective and specially my self-confidence.

And although things changed, I still feel this urge to write and to finish what I proposed myself to almost 5 years ago: get a Doctorate level.

I shifted my perspective from the beginning and the world changed heavily, but all and all, I’m confident I’m going to do a good job.

Because as I tell many people around me: there is nothing you can’t do.

 

happy earth day!

Apr
21

Making some sense about my growing interest in sustainability issues, I keep being pushed towards speaking about it but can’t make my decision about what to say because I never felt like an expert about these matters. I just keep repeating WE (the fashion industry) need to address it, take it into account and act towards making the less prejudicial impact out of our activities, buys, words, etc.

Either as an educator, researcher, promoter or plain consumer, I can be proud to be doing (a tiny) bit, but of course it’s never enough. And so today I decided to relate a few reads from lately on this topic, because they DO raise pertinent questions and maybe even indicate new issues that need to be addressed.

A dear friend told me about the Scraps exhibition he just saw at Cooper Hewitt NY, which finishes tomorrow 🙁 and the Pandora’s box on the topic just spread wide open: check out the talk with Eileen Fisher and Patagonia.

I’ve been also quite impressed with an article on Trendtablet about Really Cph which uses textile waste exclusively – closing our loop and integrating it into new products. Also for some reason Unreasonable.is mentioned me while tweeting this post about the work that the people from Thread are doing recycling waste while using a recollection/production model that empowers impoverished communities from Haiti.

And then Fashion Redef mentioned this article which critiques sustainable initiatives and raises so many questions about how trendy it became to be sustainable as a brand but also quite hypocritical because it’s still promoting consumption, which origins more waste (even if on the right? side of the problem). Adding to that one can also read this one and think about the way the industry is working and making efforts to address consumers needs as fast as they can – with See Now Buy Now and recent Farfetch fast delivery approach/innovation.

There seems to emerge a sort of controversial status quo where the industry is supposed to make good fashion and yet a lot of what we see and hear about is more about giving consumers more and more products to satisfy their supposed ‘needs’, ever faster, so they don’t even have the proper time to think if they actually need those products in their wardrobes/lives.

Fashion (or clothes) are NOT a primary need like food, and we really need to (have time to think) before we buy. So go ahead and properly analyze the stuff you own, think about what to do with the ones that don’t fit or suit you any longer, then upcycle, sell, swap, donate or share. Make plans about your next purchases, regard them as long and lasting investments, stuff you’ll treasure, stuff that will last, make the money you will put on them also something meaningful.

I think one day this threads will get us somewhere nice. So let’s all try and THINK a little more about our small share, and bit by bit I hope we can all make changes for the better. Because like the people at Ecoalf say so well: There is no Planet B.

fast, digital & personal

Jan
30

Hello from a new year!

Despite this sort of crazy beginning, let’s all try and make it a good one, in our life at least, shall we?

Well, being a fashion news’ worm, it’s sort of predictable hat I am fascinated by the Global Fashion report that Business of Fashion have put together with McKinsey, and can’t really believe I haven’t come across it sooner. Lately I’m really into this sort of contrasts that the fashion industry keeps showing off:

_while there’s a great push towards digital and online presence: AI, VR, Automation, fast/immediate acquisition – like see now buy now or Alibaba’s Pay by Nod, – and this is fascinating, it’s Blade Runner/Matrix all coming to our fashion and consumer’s lives;

_there’s also a push towards what is personal and tailored and specially crafted, even made by the same companies – e.g. Burberry made their SNBN revolution but also opened up a concept store in London which celebrated craftsmanship.

And this wonderful contrast is something that will definitely set a tone for the upcoming years of the industry and will be on one hand what the consumers, specially Millennials, desire (not sure if it’s about their needs) and on the other what will drive companies to change, develop and evolve in several sectors: production, distribution and marketing, keeping in mind the needs of their audiences and also the hugely difficult combination of making it still personal. Which will surely be attained through data analytics and also some psycho-sociological, experiential approaches that might guarantee consumer satisfaction – by pleasing and making them as special as they Need, Want or Desire.

a woman and (her) clothes

Dec
06

I just started reading Women in Clothes, a book my friend Joana (one of the most interesting women I have ever met) was kind enough to lent me.
I went to bed early just to start reading, and as I did I started having goosebumps and laughing loudly, it is all about all of us women – about getting dressed! And it was so inspiring I didn’t feel like finishing this day without writing.

I was wondering about I was dressed, of course, realizing I sleep almost every night with wool jumpers that belonged to my late father, I had a polka dot tank top underneath, some sexy (no, not at all, I’m joking) pajama trousers in the color red and a very warm pair of socks. My hair was tied in a bun because it’s way more comfortable than to have it falling over my eyes. My favorite earrings were also on, they always sleep with me, as well as my ear lobe piercing.
There is a bit of shame while I write my infamous ‘how I dressed to sleep yesterday’ but there’s also so much truth in it: it’s ME. The real ME, in my most comfortable and selfless self.
And although I would guess there was no thought put into that particular way and moment of dressing, actually there was – accidentally or not, I’ve been taking memories to sleep, surrounding myself with them for years, maybe because I have voids to fill and need to get reminded of the ones that I love, the ones that love me and look after me.

There is meaning in everything we wear. Just think about it, right now.
And let me know.