Written by Sònia Flotats, originally posted on Eco Fashion World
Gema Gómez is a fashion designer and has a solid career working with textile brands, both in Madrid and institutes in Paris. But one day she decided to leave everything behind and founded Slow Fashion Spain, currently the most important Sustainable Fashion platform in Spain, with the idea of encouraging accountable production in the industry.
EFW: Gema, what made you leave the world of “conventional” fashion and trends and decide to launch Slow Fashion Spain?
Gema Gómez: I deeply loved my profession, especially the years I spent in an institute of trends in Paris, but gradually I began to see things that made me doubt this was the right path: working conditions in many factories, clothing production processes that directly threatened the environment, etc. All this made me uncomfortable and I needed to propose alternatives.
I think activism is very important and therefore I am a member of Greenpeace, who is also working on these matters, but I also think that in order to make changes it’s very interesting to offer new proposals that are attractive enough to attain your goal and subsequently, change habits and trends. And so, Slow Fashion Spain was born.
EFW: How does Slow Fashion Spain propose to change the tendencies of “fast fashion”?
Gema Gómez: We work from three distinct but complementary areas: training and consulting, to deeply understand sustainability, because if we do not know where we are going we won’t get there; sustainable fashion events and networking because to develop sustainable fashion it’s essential we find and bring together all the links in the chain, and finally, dissemination through lectures and publications.
EFW: Precisely in order to spread and disclose, you have just published “Fashionista and Slow”, a book on sustainable fashion. What will we find there?
Gema Gómez: There are other books about sustainable fashion, but they are mainly aimed at professionals with highly technical knowledge. Instead, Fashionista and Slow targets consumers and, above all, women consumers, because with a highly female aesthetic and very clear drawings and messages we want women consumers, who are buying clothes in any way to realize (utilitzing a fun approach) the impacts of their decisions. The second part of the book presents a bunch of inspiring ideas to do things differently.
EFW: What are the challenges of Slow Fashion Spain for 2014?
Gema Gómez: We aim to be the umbrella brand under which all sustainable fashion initiatives may be, grow and get ahead, and be the real alternative to conventional fashion. Still, Slow Fashion Spain is an entrepreneurial initiative and as such, we are moving forward with great joy and enthusiasm, but we are also learning a lot about what it means to start a business, so we look forward this 2014 to continuing to raise awareness and build the network every day in a more concrete and tangible way, one step at a time.
EFW: And how do you see the field of sustainable fashion in Spain?
Gema Gómez: It is a reality that sustainable fashion companies have a hard time navigating. This is mainly because we are a quite deviant country price wise because we have big brands like Mango, Inditex, Springfield, Woman Secret or even Cortefiel, and it is clear that, selling at the prices they sell it’s impossible that they are paying decent wages or taking into account necessary environmental measures of manufacturing and distribution. This means that, as a manufacturer of sustainable fashion, you will only be able to sell because of social and environmental consciousness, and design. For this reason, it’s important to reach the highest excellence in the development of products and, it is also important that you seduce and arouse people. If we can awaken the desire and show them that there is an alternative, and that it’s in our hands, I’m sure it will change.
EFW: Perhaps the key is to make sustainable fashion, fashionable and trendy reaching the “itgirls” who through fashion magazines and their own blogs are deciding what is “in” and what is not. Do you think it’s a good strategy?
Gema Gómez: Sure, and it is precisely these it girls who have the power to excite female consumers. No one, including them, likes to wear a shirt that has been made by a girl who works more than 12 hours a day with no security whatsoever, so if you get to the heart of these girls and show them that there is a great alternative, change will take place much faster.
Gema, Thank you for taking the time for this interview and the time you spend every day in training, creating awareness and networking. As you always say, “together we can!”
Sònia Flotats, Spanish sustainable and ethical fashion blogger
Editor of www.soGOODsoCUTE.com
Photos courtesy of Slow Fashion Spain