Graziela Sousa

do fast and sustainable match?


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.)

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the future is curated


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.

happy earth day!


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 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.

guilt with a view


6876235_origStill in Lisbon for a few days and decided to go have lunch at a gorgeous place called Portinho da Arrábida.
Since I went on a guilty mood (yes, when you’re doing a Phd everything that’s fun comes with a bit of guilt) I decided to take one of my current reads: To Die For by Lucy Siegle.
After a few hours reading, Siegle is really making an impact – making me think about the clothes I wear, own and have been buying, and this is not just my problem, it’s everyone’s.

Well… Guilty as charged: I still succumb a few times to a highstreet item (I do pay attention to fibers and manufacturing location).
But if I may compensate the guilt of consumption with something:
– I wear loads of pre-owned clothes – mostly from my grandmother who was herself a seamstress and taught me so much about clothes,
– I’ve started buying less garments, prioritizing quality and I get to wear them for more than one season,
– I do the ‘make do and mend’ thing with a lot of clothes each season – because I love them, I still want to wear them and I’m not willing to put them away.

Let’s see how I feel in the end of the book and how much I’ll be willing to change… probably A LOT 😉

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