Caustic for Concern
Farrah Floyd’s Bojana Draca on Sustainable Fashion
By Lindsay Cooper
The oil industry is the most well known force behind pollution and global warming, but as more green energy options become available while the clothing industry approaches a global net worth of 4 trillion Canadian dollars, fashion manufacturing could overtake fossil fuel mining as the most environmentally destructive practice in coming decades.
Currently ranked as the second most polluting business in the world, the atrocities caused by over consumption of fast-fashion have gone relatively unnoticed. Discussions on the environment conjure up images of oilrigs, strip mining, and oceans of plastic rather than the 1,800 gallons of water needed to make a pair of jeans. Even the Citarum, an Indonesian river made caustic by the chemical runoff from the country’s printing and dyeing industries, escapes criticism during debates on global warming.
Despite this crisis having gone on for decades, it was only recently that our consumption habits raised alarm after landfills began to pile high with last season’s items like some sort of rotting textiles museum. Alongside those critiques came proposed solutions in many forms. In the past few years we have seen the birth of the “eco-conscious” subsector of apparel and the adoption of green practices by bigger houses like H&M, who started up a clothing-recycling program in 2013.
As part of this industry-wide revolution, Bojana Draca is bringing eco-conscious design to the mainstream with her label Farrah Floyd. Working to antiquate the stereotypes of environmentally friendly design, Draca invents new ways to revolutionize the revolution itself.
You have a formal education in fashion and design, including a Masters in Sustainability in Fashion. Was the environmentalist aspect a part of your plan from the beginning or something you fell into along the way?
During my bachelor studies, I always thought there was something wrong with the fashion world. I liked the creative process, but reality was different. The idea of how fast the seasons change was so scary for me. I couldn’t understand the concept of supply chains created with the idea of only saving money and no other logic. I couldn’t imagine putting my emotions and effort into a design that will be cheap, bad quality, made in huge series, and easily replaced.
Later on, my master studies helped me realize that things can be done in a different way and gave me courage and an input on how to do things my way.
Do you remember what sparked your interest in eco-chic designs?
I think sustainable fashion is still missing a lot of cool and chic that is associated with ‘conventional’ fashion. My idea from the beginning was to convince people, with my designs and my aesthetics, where sustainability will add something more on the value my products.
Farrah Floyd has been recognized for excellence in environmentally friendly production processes, some of which you have developed yourself. Can you tell us some of the eco-conscious design processes you use at Farrah Floyd?
I use strictly certified fabrics and produce in Germany. When it comes to construction, it is based on zero-waste pattern making principles I developed myself. Basically, I use only rectangle pattern pieces and every season drape them into new silhouettes.
Your designs often have squared-off yet voluminous silhouettes. Was this a creative design choice or a necessity born out of your aforementioned zero-waste fabric cutting technique?
I would say it’s a little bit of both. Still, every piece has a certain shape only because I chose it. I don’t compromise in that way. I don’t let the material or pattern influence the design unless it’s exactly what I had in mind. Sometimes I work only on a raw prototype for days. I can spend hours just looking at the piece and later on still come the details and finishings.
Have you had to make any other aesthetic adjustments to your designs in order to make a design more eco-conscious?
I think the only part where my designs might ‘suffer’ for being eco-concious is choice of fabrics. The range of sustainable fabrics, compared to conventional one is so small. It is also hard for a small designer to fulfill minimums, so sometimes I have to come up with alternative ideas to make sustainable fabrics more appealing and interesting.
Who have you found your clientele to be?
The Farrah Floyd girl is chic and trendy. She likes to feel comfortable in what she wears, and knows how to use clothes as a statement, or even provocation. She dares to be different, and questions the world around her.
As the environmentally friendly design market grows, how do you see that target demographic and your brand evolving with it?
I believe that people mostly buy clothes because they like it and feel good in it. My task is to keep up with high quality, well-designed products. The fact that I make it sustainable is because I think it’s my duty, not as a marketing trick. Hopefully, consumers are going to receive my message and start to appreciate the sustainable part of it more.
Farrah Floyd’s AW16 collection, L.i.elsewhere, was photographed by Claudia Klein. Model Josipa (Sonic Models) has been styled by Cristina Chirila with makeup by Patricia Heck.
Find more on her website here: http://www.farrahfloyd.com
Her Instagram: @Farrah_Floyd