Journey towards a humane and sustainable fashion

An international model who is also an environmental activist, a successful designer and a key issue for the planet: textile manufacturing and sustainability. Jon Kortajarena and Alejandro Palomo, the brain behind the well-known firm Palomo Spain, meet in the beautiful gardens of the Lázaro Galdiano museum in Madrid to talk about fashion, fabrics and how awareness of industry and consumers can make the sector a more sustainable activity. They set an example: as they explain in the video that leads this article, Kortajarena wears a recycled cotton shirt; Palomo, a second-hand leather jacket and, underneath, a set made with fabrics that his workshop discarded a few years ago. They both agree that they are small gestures, yes, but that they contain implications of a change in the world of fashion that has been brewing for a long time.

They are one more example of the growing awareness among artists , designers and companies, who increasingly raise their voices in the textile industry, so that all creations tend towards the sustainable and ethical. As Palomo points out, in the air a return to the origins is palpable, with small and more artisan productions, with fabrics that respect nature and with a greater reuse of materials. Sustainability in its broadest sense, which may be to last and survive.

Better cotton, lower environmental footprint

At the center of everything is places cotton, an essential raw material and the majority in the world of fashion, with a problem to be solved: only 5% is grown in a sustainable way. In order for what we wear and buy to be more and more ecological and have a lower environmental footprint, Mónica Chao, Director of Sustainability at Ikea in Spain, believes that the industry has to react: “The 25% of chemicals used in the world are used for cotton crops. But we must also talk about the amounts of water that are used. And the doubts about the working conditions of the people who work it. ”

As Chao says, monitoring the production chain is as important as controlling the raw material. This is what Palomo affirms in his workshop in Posadas (Córdoba), where he uses local labor and materials of Spanish origin. The purpose is to make scale collections in which there is no waste or unnecessary expense and a dignified, humane and careful process so as not to negatively impact the natural and social environment.

Make 1% of world cotton sustainable

Ikea consumes 1 % of world cotton. The Swedish firm has been working for years to ensure that all the cotton in its production chain comes from more sustainable sources, that is, that it is recycled, that it is obtained with less water and pesticides and that the living conditions of the farmers who they work it. For this, they are also taught guidelines to improve the management and use of water.

Their mission is that, over time, this sustainable cotton will be a common raw material : “We are committed to where it comes from. We want the cotton that reaches our factories to have met legal minimums in all the countries through which it passes, ”says Mónica Chao, Ikea’s Director of Sustainability in Spain. To achieve this, the company has been promoting, for more than a decade and together with WWF and other partners, the Better Cotton Initiative, an organization that works so that sustainable cotton becomes an affordable, common raw material with a positive impact on the planet.

‘Origins’, the beginning of the solution

“Can we live in a more sustainable way? “Enough of empty words, you have to act.” With these statements as the driving force, the actor and activist Jon Kortajarena will reunite in the series Origins and throughout 12 chapters to others so many personalities who want to change the planet and who will address weekly the great issues that will make it a more sustainable place: water, forests, energy, people … A series that wants to be an opportunity to reflect, learn and be part of the solution.

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