Clothes that don’t get thrown away
Designer Nevena Nikolova was invited by three British universities to the International Economic Forum in Davos
She has long established herself as the most successful Bulgarian designer abroad. For several years, Nevena Nikolova has had a showroom in London, and her outfits are worn by stars of the rank of Hollywood actress Liz Hurley, singer Nicole Scherzinger, and top model Elle McPherson.
A few days ago, the designer returned from Davos, where she participated in the International Economic Forum. She was invited by three prestigious British universities – Imperial College London, Royal College of Art and Central Saint Martins. Nevena is the only Bulgarian and the only designer, and together with representatives of the European Union, the fashion business, investors and scientists are holding a forum on sustainability in fashion. The meeting ends with a concrete result – a global platform is created that will look at every problem of the fashion industry and look for a solution, including changes in legislation. Nevena Nikolova is part of this international team.
“For 23 years, our brand has been making clothes that are not thrown away, created with a lot of human resources and minimal waste generation,” says Nevena. The goal of the global platform will be to fundamentally change the system of production and sale of clothes in order to minimize harm.
The fashion industry is the second largest user of water, accounting for 10% of carbon emissions
“The water basins in the production areas are also heavily polluted. There is additional pollution from the transportation first of the raw material, then of the finished products to the customers, and with online orders, purchases are constantly returned. In different parts of the world there are mountains of clothes that are burning, etc.,” explains the designer.
And although her life and career are entirely related to her, the designer is categorical – fashion is a manipulative industry and we are all consumers subject to it. And when the item is also very cheap, it is extremely easy to buy it, regardless of whether we really need it or whether it will ever be used. Therefore, Nevena advises customers to be sensible in their purchase choices.
Most people keep huge amounts of clothes with a hole, pull, stain, etc., but keep them for sentimental value or because they really like the patterns and don’t want to part with them even though they don’t wear them. Instead of collecting dust, they can be repaired at a neighborhood repair shop. With an interesting decoration or embroidery, the defect is covered, and the garment becomes even more interesting. This is how seamstresses get a job.
“If we don’t buy polyester, we signal to the manufacturer that this product is no longer wanted. The production of such clothes is very harmful, in addition, they release microparticles of plastic. After all, these are clothing made of petroleum. Of course, extremes don’t help anyone, so if you have such clothes, wear them instead of buying new ones or creating more garbage by throwing them away,” says the designer.
There is also a solution for the piles of clothes we no longer want to wear
– they can serve someone else, whether they are given as a gift or put on one of the many sites for selling second-hand clothes. The unsuitable ones can be given for recycling.
“Each of us has bought right and wrong clothes, driven by ever-imposing trends or spur of the moment. Take a look at what you have in your wardrobe, a new belt or some jewelry can totally change the look of a model that we are already tired of or think is boring”, says Nevena Nikolova.
She has had clients react with surprise that instead of agitating them to buy, Nevena Nikolova advises them to look for the personalized garment that will express their individuality. Even if it looks luxurious at first glance, it always turns out to be more sustainable. And it doesn’t have to be ordered in an expensive boutique, many people use the services of sewing studios. What’s more, the successful Bulgarian woman is convinced that in the not too distant future we will all be wearing clothes made especially for us.
It’s also one of the reasons he joined a team in the UK developing software to take measures online. This will allow the user to buy the right size of clothes and not have to return an unsuccessful purchase. Doing custom clothing remotely will also help. He hopes to have the project ready by the end of the year. It will be very easy for the customer to use it – he only needs to take two pictures with his phone, in profile and full face, wearing normal clothes, without even having to be soaked on the body. And the task of the computer will be to make a precise analysis of the measures that the designer will then use.
When choosing a product, one should look for high quality and be able to be used as part of more and different outfits.
It should be checked on the label how the garment is maintained. Those that are dry clean only are much more vulnerable and require the use of cleaning chemicals. It is desirable that the blouse, dress or trousers, say, withstand more washings.
The style should not fully correspond to the fashion trends, because otherwise the consumer puts away the garment, which is already out of fashion, and runs to the market again.
Of course, hit outfits will always be bought, but Nevena recommends that the wardrobe should not be completely replaced every season with just such models. “A measured and well-judged amount of clothes is the key to smart shopping,” believes the successful designer.