Sustainability shouldn’t be a separate process or strategy, it should be implemented on every action of the company.
Can you tell us a bit about your personal and professional background?
I was born in Stockholm but I moved to Madrid when I was two years old, and I was raised here. When I finished school I moved to London, where I graduated from BA (Hons) Fashion Buying & Merchandising from London College of Fashion. Thereafter I moved back to Madrid and I studied a Master’s in Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility, whilst I did some projects with fashion brands in London and Stockholm.
When I finished my Master’s I started a PhD at CFS (Centre for Sustainable Fashion) where I am currently researching on generational and cultural differences in relation to second-hand fashion consumption. In my research, I present second-hand as a transition strategy towards environmental impact reduction. Being in this Research Centre has been a huge opportunity in my professional career. I strongly believe that we, humans, are responsible for securing a sustainable future and through my education, I feel the need to work towards this.
My experience is mainly academic, and my education has guided me to where I am today. Now I feel prepared to put my knowledge into practice. Even so, I am still quite involved in the academic world. I hold lectures at universities and right now I am organising a conference on fashion waste, among other things.
What built your passion for fashion and sustainability?
I have always been fascinated by the fashion industry. Therefore, taking the decision to study fashion wasn’t difficult, it was quite obvious from the very beginning.
In terms of sustainability, I have always been a conscious person. Environmental and social sustainability had been quite present in my family, but I had never thought of focusing my career on sustainability,
When I studied my degree, I remember, sustainability was still a trend. But, during my degree, I experienced how this phenomenon evolved and got bigger and bigger. When I finished my career, sustainability had become essential for every company in the textile sector.
When I began, sustainability was related to organic cotton, fair trade, textile recycling, etc. Today, innovation has taken us to incredibly disruptive sustainable solutions. I believe that this constant evolution of sustainability makes it even more interesting.
When I finished my degree I thought: why wouldn’t I dedicate my career to do things better if they can be done? For me, it did not make any sense to continue my professional career in fashion as if everything was as normal when I actually knew the impact that the sector was having. That’s why I decided to start my career in sustainable fashion.
Which fashion models do you think we need to change? Which ones do you think should be implemented?
I think it is quite obvious which model doesn’t work. And it is the one of linear fast-fashion. “Buy, use, throw” constantly, producing and wasting textiles.
For this reason, I do not think it is about implementing a concrete model, we need to act throughout the whole value chain. We need to start at the design phase and stay until the end of use phase. Sustainability shouldn’t be a separate process or strategy, it should be implemented on every action of the company. That is the “model” we should implement, sustainability as a holistic approach. What is local fashion if you are using polyester as your main material? And, what is organic cotton if it is not produced under fair conditions?
Even so, I am quite optimistic. I understand that this is not going to change from one day to another. Rather than criticising brands who are not doing anything to take action, I celebrate those who are. I think resilience is very important in the textile industry. We need to find new ways.
Moreover, something that I consider very important is that companies take care of their products after the retail stage. The supply chain should not finish when the client leaves the physical store or the shopping cart. A big percentage of the environmental impact of garments happens after this stage. How much does a client use and wash their garment? What does the client do with the garment once it is not wanted? I think this is a very important challenge that fashion companies need to start considering: care for their products until the end. And here is where circularity comes to play.
Why did you choose a company that cares for sustainability?
Being part of the change. I love the idea of being the link through which companies can start their transition towards sustainability. Knowing that you’re helping reduce the carbon footprint through your job is a beautiful project.
Realistically, I wouldn’t have chosen a company that does not care for sustainability, or that has not the intention to do so. Moreover, in my case, it was very important to choose somewhere where people really believe in the necessity of taking action, not just taking action because someone is telling us. Being surrounded by people who care is very inspiring.
Should talent invest in sustainability?
Of course. We are going through a transition process towards a more sustainable future. Companies need talent in this area that can guide them throughout the journey and therefore, the talent needs to educate themselves within it. I do not think there will be another option. Law is going to force companies to choose this route.
Even so, I believe that each talent should follow their own talent and then be educated within sustainability, understanding how sustainability can be adapted to their own responsibilities. We need solutions of every type, every scope, and we need to unite different capacities and knowledge to create multidisciplinary workspaces.
What inspires you?
Travel. Getting to know new countries and different ways of understanding life is something that has inspired me throughout my life. My experiences have changed my vision and I have learned things that I had never thought of before. Travelling makes you understand reality and opens your mind.
Music. I love music, and it really inspires me. I like that every space or situation asks me for a different type of music, and even, that music sometimes brings me back to places and I remember specific moments associated with the song. My favourite groups are Tame Impala and Fil bo riva, but I listen to everything!