NOW THEN is an ecoluxury swimwear and neoprene label for Ocean minded women in search of a fashionable saltwater attire.
Tell us about yourself – familial/personal story, education, and prior work.
I was raised in a small town of Navarra, in the North part of Spain.
Since I have memory my two passions have been nature and fashion. I grew up between the fabrics, rough bodies and patterns from my grandmother who was a seamstress. My family gave me the sense of hard working and respect for nature.
How did you get interested in ethical and sustainable fashion?
I think being raised in the countryside, gives you a special connection with it nature. When I studied my Fashion degree this came to me in an organic way.
How did your educational/professional experience inform fashion work?
I had a business university background first worked in renewable energies companies as a Buyer. I decided to follow my childhood dream moving to Madrid to study my Fashion Degree. I had some experience working at other Fashion retailers when I decided to start with my own brand. I think it is really interesting to combine both business and creative studies if you want to start your own business.
What is the importance of ethical and sustainable fashion designers and companies?
I would say being in a direction which you find is the most honest you can get and you can maintain it in the future if the business grows. And an area I would consider very important is have a good communication strategy for spreading all your efforts.
Who is a personal hero or heroine within the ethical and sustainable fashion world for you?
Well, within the industry I have always been looking at Patagonia, I think they are an example for whoever wants to make a difference. I love their materials innovation and their strong communication power, I also love their spirit, how they build their story and keep honest about what they do now at the time they are massive company.
More from a personal side, my forever heroine is Dr. Sylvia Earle, marine biologist and environmentalist who I admire for her life connected and dedicated to the Ocean.
I also take the opportunity of highlighting someone who I have been enthusiastic about. Afroz Shah is an indian lawyer born in Mumbai. I got to know his work with a huge beach cleanup he organized teaming up with locals for more than a year cleaning up more than 4,000 tons of garbage . One day he decided he did not like what he was seeing from his window view, teamed up with some locals and started to clean up their beach. He started just as an individual and now they achieved a global goal, he has been now awarded by the UN Champions of the Earth award. We spoke about him in a post at our Journal, called “Versova beach of Hope”, this has been the most inspiring, hopeful story I recently came across.
What is NOW_THEN?
NOW_THEN is an Eco Luxury Swimwear and Wetsuits label inspired by the powerful combination of feminity, freedom and Ocean love.
What are some of its feature products?
Our collection features Active-inspired swimwear made with Eco Premium materials such as recycled nylon from discarded fishing nets and marine waste and Petroleum-free neoprene wetsuits. We are also working in a new range of textile accessories collaborating with some artisans. We are always focusing in design, high-end materials, quality and responsibly making.
What is your customer base – the demographics?
We just had our first collection out this 2016 summer and we market our products mainly online. We sell mainly Spain and Europe but we were also thrilled to receive orders from places such as Hawaii, Australia or Virgin Islands!
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?
That means everything to this new movement. Rana Plaza was such a disaster and shame to the world, but we need the people to see this reality that some of us have been seeing by visiting factories across these production hot spots. I think the big change will come from the people, all of us have a big power when we decide where to spend our money.
Children are the most vulnerable population. Women tend to have less status than men in societies including the right to decent working conditions, decent pay, to vote, and so on. What is the relationship between the need to implement women’s rights and children’s rights?
I worry that this industry is grabbing whichever profitable gap in the world to squeeze it for a margin. We have to end up this.
Child labour and slavery are problems, major ones. These include children throughout the world. Tens of millions of children in the case of child labour and a few million for child slavery. How can individuals get the word out about these other rights violations?
Taking your time to be informed and take action. Not to spend a penny in companies that are violating human and child rights. This is the only solution, because if we are waiting the governments to apply the filters, to solve the problem, it will be too late.
How can individuals, designers, fashion industries, and consumers begin to work to implement those rights so that these vulnerable populations in many countries of the world have better quality of life?
Association is key, we are a lot of small brands trying to make a difference but we will have a bigger voice together at once. I think communication is crucial, because all these companies that are not performing in a good way, spend millions to take the public’s attention.
What topics most interest you?
I am personally interested and involved in Ocean Conservation. I am a diver and I am grateful for the connection I found within, whenever I am into the Ocean I came a more inspired, free-willed and motivated woman.
Did you have a mentor in this work?
Not specially a mentor but I have people I am thankful to find in some amazing people my path that helped me in professional and personal backing.
Have you mentored others?
I do not consider myself a mentor but I collaborate with Istituto Europeo de Design as a teacher to help students about creating a sustainable brand.
What are the importance of mentors in the fashion world for professional, and personal, development?
Creating your own brand is a complicated path where you see yourself multi tasking in a crazy way. It is so important to find help of professionals in some areas you are not the best at. Going all alone could be tough.
Also the fact that we can be spending a lot in selecting the most eco friendly materials but to get our message out there, involves a lot of money that small brands do not have. I think we need associations and the industry’s attention to spread our word.
From personal observations, more women than men involve themselves in the fashion industry by a vast margin of difference at all levels. Why?
I think that fashion can empower women. And women can empower a change, not just in fashion, but in the world.
I have been feeling this since I was a little girl, learning my first stitches by my grandma. I do not have much time to make my own things a part from job now, but when I can, I still feel that sewing is kind of therapeutic to me.
I think that Fashion is able to bound powerful women all around the world.
What personal fulfillment comes from this work for you?
For me it is important to know that I am working in a project it allows me to be honest in all the ways. No hiding any extra cost over the planet or the people. That makes you feel free.
What other work are you involved in at this point in time?
I am most of my time busy with NOW_THEN, but I also work as a freelance consultant for specific projects.
Any recommended authors or fashionistas (or fashionistos)?
I am reading the book about the story of Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia, “I want my people go surfing”, I am enjoying it, I also want my people at NOW_THEN to go surfing!
Any recommended means of contacting NOW_THEN?
I would be happy to take this conversation further and connect with any interesting soul J please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Any feelings or thoughts in conclusion based on the conversation today?
I am thrilled to be able to speak about sustainable fashion and NOW_THEN. Thank you so much and congratulations for Trusted Clothes, we need more association all around the world to speak out our word!
Thank you for your time, Andrea.
Thank you so much for the opportunity