#Aの83. Is using eco-friendly materials the dominant approach for sustainability development? 葭 CHIA shares the other approach.

Writing by Avantelier, Photo|proofreading by 葭 CHIA team

Avantelier is a sustainable fashion platform that focuses on bringing sustainability forward in the fashion industry. We are a growing platform that highlights green fashion brands based in Asia, as well as topics around trending issues of fashion, innovative tech and global talent. In March, we are very honoured to collaborate on the “International Women’s Day” project with female sustainable designers and various professionals. We received a good response from our viewers. Therefore, in April we are going to explore the male perspective on sustainable fashion and their experiences of working in the fashion industry.

Most people, when considering sustainability within the fashion industry, think of eco-friendly fabric usage. However, great environmentally friendly designer brands have many more solutions. 葭 CHIA suggests that a co-branding strategy and garment design programme development by simplifying the use of materials are two good solutions. The first is about independent designer brands that collaborate with other fashion houses looking for young designer blood. This resource integration tends to reduce cost and easily gain environment-friendly certification by the fashion house, rather than producing small numbers of items. The latter is to design fashion garments through simple eco-friendly materials to help the recycling system to process quickly without dismantling and sorting, saving time and energy

葭 CHIA, Chia Jui Chen, the designer and leader of 葭 CHIA, has successively worked for several clothing brands and has spent nearly a decade in the fashion industry. With his rich experience, he founded 葭 CHIA in 2018. His creative philosophy is about sharing stories. What does that mean? Chia Jui’s concept, the Illusion in the modern world, simply speaking, all existence and non-existence are in the mind and then integrated into each garment. If you own a 葭 CHIA item, you become part of the story. This is the connection we believe is beneficial to building a sustainable world. Cherish every outfit you own, just like the special memories that are worth recollecting over and over again. Furthermore, femininity and woman’s strength have always been the consideration and core of his creation. Chia Jui and his team convey the texture and narrative of the garments through the layer, threads and yarns etc. of the fabrics and also highlight the body shape through their signature pattern-making skill to maintain female glamorousness. 葭 CHIA is dedicated to delivering an aesthetic based on female self-expression of respect and beauty for their bodies without consideration of dressing up as a Muse in the male imagination.

A: What are the biggest challenges you face in the projects you do and how do you solve them?

C: I think the most common problems facing independent designer brands in the retail market in Taiwan are sales growth and consumer acceptance. As a designer, the challenge of selling is often greater than that of design. The selling challenge also includes extended issues caused after mass production, such as fund and resource consumption, High storage costs due to inaccurate sales forecasts and so on. 

This year, we cooperated with a womenswear brand that started as an OEM of women’s garments. I worked on the creation and garment silhouette pattern-making and they work on the production process through their entire production chain. Our purpose is to build the concept of a mutual benefits cooperation relationship. Furthermore, the innovative and exciting collection has a high potential to inspire new connections with consumers. We believe that resource integration and strategic alliance also embrace the meaning of sustainability. Both companies contribute our professional skills to reduce as much waste caused by the production of clothing and both share the same responsibility for our environment. I aim to combine resource integration and strategic alliance through design.

A: What are your plans for this year? Is the plan (project) related to sustainability? 

C: This year, we will have collaborated with a mature womenswear brand to jointly launch a new brand named Apercu, which will consist of two limited-edition collections. We aim to cross the barrier between designer brands and mature womenswear brands in Taiwan, injecting new creative stimulation. We look forward to providing consumers with a more narrative aesthetic system and creating a new possibility of operating in the field of clothing. When the brand is no longer just a single brand, but a form of co-creation and mutual benefit, I believe it will be a great success for people like us. Smaller brands bring more multifaceted possibilities.

In terms of environmental sustainability in design, we will develop my design to simplify the use of materials. It helps the recycling system to proceed quickly without dismantling and sorting. Through a co-branding strategy,  葭 CHIA will transform into a creative model, focusing on artistic thinking in 2023. We plan to create more delicate and complicated creative garments through the existing materials the brands have, dedicated to being a fashion storyteller. 

A: Could you please share your advice in one sentence with our audience who may be going through the challenges you have?

C: Trust your inner voice, what is beautiful is always right, and what is worth it is always worth it.

Despite 葭 CHIA’s suggestion that a co-branding strategy could contribute to sustainable fashion, we know it might be not easy for independent designer brands to gain an appreciation from a big fashion company with a production supply chain. You might have to have a strong social connection. But don’t give up, concentrate on what you could do as a creative designer. The single eco-friendly materials used could be a way to highlight your creativity. How to create ordinary garments to extraordinary ones with single eco-friendly material used would be your next challenge. Avantelier looks forward to seeing your new collection which is inspired by this article. Please contact us and share your thoughts about this article or your newest collection. 

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