If there is a silver lining from the coronavirus pandemic, it is people recalibrating the way they consume. At present, the main focus is on the needs – food and medical supplies – that will sustain us through quarantine. But the current crisis also seems to encourage people to think about how they buy and wear clothes too. There is a “make do and improve” mentality that develops in the air, the movement of people who make and craft from home, that is, with make your own civil mask to wear when we go out in public.
Many designers also rethink the way they produce. They find out new strategies and time schedules, whether that means eliminating certain seasonal collections or leaving the IRL fashion show for virtual types. As such, many novice labels adopt this type of forward-thinking mentality when we move on to the unknown. An Amsterdam-based brand fought for this slow and sustainable fashion ethic several months before the pandemic even struck.
In the fall of 2019, Helen de Kluiver debuted its brand CAES, which includes a collection of minimalist basics that are consciously made, tightly edited, not descending seasonally (about two to three times a year, depending on the speed of the manufacturer). The piece includes soft organic cotton bodysuits, jerseys, and dresses in neutral colors, which are available for purchase on his website and at affordable prices between $ 108 and $ 302. The label moniker, he said, was inspired by the phonetic spelling of his late father’s name, Kees, and “The importance of me giving clothes – the way they are worn close to your skin every day, protecting your body like a case.”
After working for a Dutch commercial brand for several years, De Kluiver said that he wanted to create a brand that was truly sustainable, in every respect. “In my opinion, especially today, the world needs to move away from consumerism and only be driven by profits to a place that cares more,” he said. “In addition to finding sustainable materials, sustainability for me is also about working with people in the supply chain who truly care about the products they make.”
De Kluiver works exclusively with family-owned suppliers and producers in Portugal. His proximity made him so that he could travel there frequently and be involved in the entire production process. He also sought new material; for the next collection, De Kluiver is experimenting with new packaging that is more environmentally friendly and works with an alternative skin made from fruit pulp. “Sustainability is no longer an option; that is a requirement, “the designer said.” The fashion industry as a whole still has a lot to do. I don’t think we have to produce large collections several times a year and at the lowest possible cost. By buying better and fewer items, people can contribute to solving problems while still enjoying fashion. “
While CAES was launched last year, De Kluiver uses quarantine at home to move its brand into the future. “I think this time it’s about slowing down. This is the right time to reflect. On the one hand, I feel more creative, “he said. “I think there is a growing awareness that a person really doesn’t need a lot of material things and that we have to prioritize caring for each other. This is the idea behind my brand. “
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