“REVIVAL” – Sustainable MiniCollection signed by Simina Filat

Every year the fashion industry produces an estimated 92 million tonnes of textile waste and is responsible for 20 percent of the wastewater produced worldwide and ten percent of global carbon emissions, more than all international flights and shipping combined*. So it is easy to understand this huge desire from both brands and consumers to see fashion reduce its environmental impacts and dive into sustainability mode. Now there is a silent battle between recycling / upcycling and biobased materials that deserves a close look, because both offer a way to start addressing the huge challenges the fashion industry is facing nowadays.

Upcycling may be a new definition but it was first coined by Reiner Pilz in 1994:  “Recycling ,” he said, “I call it downcycling. They smash bricks, they smash everything. What we need is upcycling – where old products are given more value, not less.”

The Upcycled aesthetic, it is vibrant, patchy and colourful; a breath of fresh air to contrast black minimalism. Recycling and upcycling should be taught as a design technique in design schools all over the world since that is the future in fashion.  The sooner young designers learn that better since this might be the key to slow fashion and a solution to address the environmental impact that fashion is to blame for.

The Upcycled aesthetic, it is vibrant, patchy and colourful; a breath of fresh air to contrast black minimalism. Recycling and upcycling should be taught as a design technique in design schools all over the world since that is the future in fashion.  The sooner young designers learn that better since this might be the key to slow fashion and a solution to address the environmental impact that fashion is to blame for.

On the other hand, a bunch of novel materials has hit the market in recent years, aiming to give fashion designers more environmentally-friendly alternatives to traditional fibres. 

When it comes to raw materials, although biobased fabrics can be made from sustainably sourced feedstocks or the waste from other industries they can also be made from specially planted crops, and that can be a problem. Also, manufacturing the raw materials into finished biobased materials can also raise some questions because complex chemical processing is sometimes required. With the raw materials sourced and the finished biobased materials manufactured, they are ready to be turned into new products but a key concern is what happens to these products when they reach the end of their life cycle. Unfortunately, the chemicals and constituents that are often added to biobased materials mean recycling them is rarely straightforward.

Even materials that may be theoretically recyclable may not be recycled in practice. That makes you think which of the above is a more sustainable choice in terms of social responsibility but also which one is more environmentally and useful from a customer point of view?

Even materials that may be theoretically recyclable may not be recycled in practice. That makes you think which of the above is a more sustainable choice in terms of social responsibility but also which one is more environmentally and useful from a customer point of view?

Recycling, upcycling and zero waste is what we are doing here at Simina Filat Design studio, transforming those concepts into our core values for our design work.

The leather that the textile industry is using comes only from the food industry, so basically it is a waste that the fashion industry transforms into designer’s products.  The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that around 3.8 billion cows and other bovine animals are used in leather production each year1– around one animal for every two people on the planet*.

As currently practised, leather production is linked to some serious sustainability issues especially because of its tanning process but alternative tanning methods exist – after all, leather was produced for centuries without heavy chemicals. For example, we are working with suppliers that have strong business relationships with well known Italian tanneries that are using the technique of tanning with plant extracts and also recycle and purify wastewater.

We are using textile and leather to create bags, and all the small pieces of leftovers after cutting a bag pattern are reused in creating new leather/textile sheets that are colorful and unique.

We are using the concept of recycling and upcycling long before knowing its true meaning. In the last 10 years we used everything that we had, even the smallest leather pieces in order to create small accessories for our bags. But now, it became a philosophy and part of our core values. We want to make a difference, to educate our consumers and to use this recycling and upcycling concepts as a statement of our bags.

We believe in the performance of value added activity on the material or disassembled accessories or garment in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original. We do recycling by using all the leather that we are buying and at this stage we can be proud that our studio has zero material waste and we also do upcycling by collecting and disassembling old and maybe out of fashion bags and leather goods and mixing all this together in order to create a whole new material.

In this way, the new life cycle starts with a design that aims to make new products that are better than the original and may require a complete manufacturing cycle as with a new product.

This is actually a project that we are preparing, called “Crumble me a Bag” but that is another story that I will share with you later 🙂

Aside from that we only make what we can sell – our waste no more policy. We produce in small batches, as close to demand as possible to prevent overproduction. In 2019 we sold 100% of the products we made. And this philosophy is linked with our belief in maximizing the wear and life of your choice. We sell you more than a bag. We sell you the promise that you will love your bag for years to come and that you will wear it over and over again thanks to an innovative design, an upholding quality and inspiring sense of making a difference. We support you in having a perfect care of your bag and we offer lifetime repairs for all our products. Maximizing the life of our bags in your wardrobe reduces the environmental impact and that is for us a mission accomplished.

Taking all this into consideration, the idea of launching the “Revival” Mini Collection was just a natural step for our studio. We are now confident enough to lunch a 100% recycled mini collection with no waste elements. For now, the collection features 3 types of products from which 2 are a first run for Simina Filat Design studio opening our way to create garments and pet accessories. In total, the collection features a vest, one incredible pet cushion, a bag, one sack and one haversack. We have various pieces of each type but each product is unique and can not be reproduced due to the way we are manufacturing the leather material.

With this mini collection, Simina Filat Design brand takes a step forward towards digitalization, choosing as a launching platform an exhibition – a virtual gallery. The need to cross the boundaries of a classic launch marked by a real event comes from two well-founded reasons. First of all, the current situation still imposes strict rules of social distancing and a sense of social responsibility that we fully assume for the safety of all our community members. And secondly, the rapid dynamics that characterize everything that means digital information, technology and virtual reality is making its mark more and more in the fashion industry, thus causing brands to explore new ways to create or promote their creations.

This virtual gallery marks for us the beginning of a virtual journey and even if we are talking about a timid start, we hope that you will join us. Does everyone have their 3D glasses ready? Let’s START the virtual tour!