An Interview with Olga Iriépar Garcìa of A Pompidou (Part One)

Tell us about yourself – familial/personal story, education, and prior work.

My name is Olga. I was born in Madrid, Spain. But when they ask me where I am from, I always answer that I am a citizen of the world. From some years now, I’ve been living outside my country of birth.

Olga Iriépar Garcìa

Olga Iriépar Garcìa

When I was little, I used to take all the fabrics that I could find at home and transform these again in a different way. Maybe, I didn’t know that I wanted to be a fashion designer, but it’s true that since I was small I wanted to do something creative in my life.

I entered fashion college at 21 years old in Madrid to start my fashion designer studies. When I graduated, I realized that I didn’t like fashion at all, at least not the one that we are used to seeing, with no values or respect for the people and the planet.

How did you get interested in ethical and sustainable fashion?

Well, after understanding that “traditional” fashion wasn’t for me, I started traveling/living in another country. In all of those places, I saw the importance and meaning of the dressing and how anyway. All of us want to feel beautiful, or simply be accepted by wearing one thing or another.

Wherever you look into the fashion industry everything feels wrong. How to grow and make the fabrics, the sewing process by exploited people, the pollution, the continuing messages from the media of how we should be or what we should wear…so when I decided to create my first fashion collection a year ago, I wanted to be as sustainable as possible.

What is the importance of ethical and sustainable fashion designers and companies?

I think that it is important that sustainability enter in all the areas of life.

Speaking about ethical and sustainable companies, we have to develop a network that can cover all the needs and tastes of everyone so we can really compete with the fast fashion industry and establish the sustainable sector. Life must be sustainable if we want our planet to last.

organic-cotton

Who is a personal hero or heroine within the ethical and sustainable fashion world for you?

I always tell the story of when I was a kid and I destroyed a pair of gloves to make a top inspired by two Spanish designers from the 90s known as VACAS FLACAS.

I think I have a lot of heroes. All these little brands that fight every day to carry on their beautiful ideas within sustainable ways. And also all the artisans around the world that contribute to rescue old techniques that are getting lost by time.

What is A Pompidou?

A Pompidou is an ethical and sustainable fashion brand. I design unique models wearable in different ways with certified organic materials. All my designs can be worn by all kinds of different women. I don’t believe in the standard of beauty that the fashion industry tries to impose on us and that’s why all my dresses are adjustable only to the waist, so it will fit perfectly in different kinds of bodies.

Also, I love crafters and artisans so I love to integrate those art works in my designs. For my first eco-friendly collection, I work with an artisan that made all the buttons and accessories in coconut.

A Pompidou collection

A Pompidou collection

What are some of its feature products?

A Pompidou is an eco-conscious brand that creates unique designs taking care of the little details. Everything is made with lots of love by myself from the idea to the preparation, the dressmaking and the last button. But at the same time, I like to rescue some techniques that are at risk to be lost forever because of the devaluation of artisan work during the past years.

What is your customer base – the demographics?

My customer are women between 30 and 50 years old that value the work of a well done design combine with the high quality of the garments.

For the moment, my public, it’s located mainly in Europe and Spain where they have known me in some fairs and other activities.

There have been large tragedies such as the Rana Plaza collapse, which was the largest garment factory accident in history with over 1,000 dead and more than 2,500 injured. Others were the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire (1911) and the Pakistan Garment Factory Fires (2012). What are the importance of human rights and worker rights in this new movement, and to the garment industry?

It is important that an ethical fashion brand look for the people that makes our clothes. Being ethical and sustainable it’s not only about organic materials. It is more about the people and the planet, so, of course, human and worker rights must be respect in all the process if we want to be ethical.

Continued in part two…

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About the Author

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping and gardening, and runs In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal.

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