Sustainability in fashion: Balluta at Helsinki Fashion Week July 26, 2019 Text by Katia Gorshkova Although it is refreshing to see industries worldwide creating solutions to stall the effects of global warming, humanity on individual and political levels still has a long way to go. As one of the top polluting industries in the world, the fashion world’s landscape is slowly reforming as more and more sustainable brands emerge at its forefront, with conscious designers changing the narrative of what it means to be “high fashion.” Portuguese brand Balluta is one of those brands whose values lie in sustainability and environmental responsibility, and in creating products that blend into any environment or situation and will last a lifetime. Founded by Portuguese artist and designer Catarina Pedroso, Balluta focuses on creating comfortable, “trans-seasonal” and aesthetically unique footwear using only high-quality vegan materials. The brand is also committed to decreasing its carbon footprint by sourcing the majority of its materials locally throughout Europe and using as little packaging as possible, and works exclusively with a family-run factory in Portugal, lowering is carbon footprint and guaranteeing ethical and social sustainability. This year, Balluta brought its beautiful designs and innovative technologies to Helsinki Fashion Week (HFW). HFWset its sights on a more sustainable and responsible approach to fashion. With Evelyn Mora at the helm of the event, the 26-year-old photographer– and now event-producer for HFW– is ensuring Helsinki Fashion Week is 100% zero-waste, inclusive, and diverse. Only environmentally- responsible and sustainable brands were showcased at the event. Furthermore, Helsinki Fashion Week is the first fashion week to ban collections that include animal leather. With their common dedication to sustainability and respect for the environment, animals, and labour rights for fashion industry workers, Balluta merged seamlessly with the essence of HFW. The brand presented its SS20 collection along with some designs from previous collections, showcasing their trans-seasonal approach to footwear, and collaborated with Thai fashion brand Voranida. The latter presented its SS20 collection, “A Call for Springtime,” which centered on unconventional workwear, deconstructed silhouettes, and earthy tones, and was paired with customized Balluta shoes, featuring warms hues and a no-nonsense type of comfort.