Why Emilie Svensson only uses polyester?We have at Unfair just introduced the hashtag #monomaterial and in this connection we have spoken with designer Emilie Svensson about how she uses this sustainable approach in her brand. <br/> #MonoMaterials are materials made of only one type of fibre so that it is easy to recycle into new fabrics. The aim is to preserve the fabric as a mono-material so that it can remain uncontaminated for recycling forming a closed-loop system of production.
Interview by: Johanne Stenstrup (JS)
JS Why did this approach attract you more than other sustainable approaches?
ES I'm about to start my first production of non-seasonal collections based on a circular economy and found out that pure polyester is the only suitable material so far for using. The way we'll break down the fibre to recycle is not yet fit for taking apart mixed synthetic fibers. But I think the future will have that in store for us soon.
JS What kind of material /fabric do you use the most?
ES I started using polyester in 2010 making my first capsule collection for a fashion fair in Gohenburg. The collection called ''Neon in Black'' is a club gear alike colllection inspired by the chemical element neon. Neon is a inert monatomic gas, which means the atoms are not bound to each other and does not react to it's environment. The "mono" and "atomic" meaning "single atom" led me to start working with "monomaterials".
Polyester is such a strong synthetic fiber in comparison to natural fibers, that tears apart after a certain time, and can be recycled as many times you like as a newborn fiber. The icing on the cake when it comes to working with synthetic fibers they retain the color better than any natural fiber can.
JS Is it a challenge to integrate mono materials in your choice of materials? Has it been difficult sourcing materials and resources?
ES The recycled polyester is not difficult to find since the demand is higher on the manufactories today but forming a closed loop system where the garment will end up in the same system again has been a challenge. We will change the way collections has been produced before and also change the environmental footprins of each garment.
Each garment will have a higher value to the client to care for when it always can be restyled with the new styles created in a non-seasonal way. When the garment finally tears apart we'll make sure that it comes into reuse again in a closed loop system from consumer back to the producer.
JS Are there any challenges in your design by working with only one material and do you sometimes have to do compromising on the design?
ES As a designer in fashion we have to compromise all the time. It usually starts with an impression of a collection and then shaping it into wearable and accessible items. My visions comes at once most of the times. In my first drafts of a cloth I already have a plan for the result. Working with only one material is a challenge to overcome. It makes my work more important to me and drives me to go further.
JS Do you have any tips or advice for other designers who want to produce a sustainable fashion collection using the mono material approach?
ES I would say carefully look into the countries where you're going to produce your collections. Outside Europe it's harder to find manufactories with renewable energy e.g. United Nations have come up with a solution called ''Feed-in-tariffs''meaning the difference for evey sold kilowatt-hour renewable energy in third world countries, instead of using coal energy, would be paid by a subvention. That's a great solution you could make an impact with as a designer to propose manufactories without renewable energy to start using!
JS Please describe the general idea of your brand.
ES MLì by SVENSSON is a brand based in Sweden, inspired by culture clashes; merging couture with street style. We design and produce long lasting styles outside the season based on a circular economy by taking advantage of the material overflow. To maintain product quality and minimize oversupply we use locally based producers also for minimal transport pollution.