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Supporting Sustainable & Eco-friendly Fashion: Sophie et Voilà


Sophie et Voilà
Spanish designers Sofia Arribas and Saioa Goitia have adopted a reformist approach to fashion with Sophie et Voilà – a bridal brand. Together, they aim to promote sustainability through their craftsmanship, using recycled polyester fabrics. They endeavor to bring the global fashion industry towards a similar vision in hopes of supporting the environment. 

We got in touch with Sofia and Saioa to talk in-depth about sustainable fashion and why it should be the new bustle.

by Haider Rifaat

Sofia and Saioa, what made you both join hands for Sophie et Voilà?
Sofia started the company with just an atelier, creating custom pieces. Saioa originally started as one of Sofia’s customers, but was also a business woman who loved the brand. Sofia eventually asked Saioa to join the team, and together we have been in a successful partnership ever since.
What drew you both to the idea of sustainable fashion?
We started a sustainable bridal brand without even being aware of it. We live in the Basque Country where sustainability is a way of life. When we created Sophie et Voilà, we started to work on slow fashion in the way in which we had lived our whole lives, with the values that the environment taught us.
What eco-friendly materials do you use to execute your designs?
We are able to create wedding dresses from recycled materials such as satin and crepe in our newest collection.
What other factors make Sophie et Voilà a sustainable fashion brand?
As a brand, we practice sustainability every day. Aside from using recycled fabrics for our collections, all of our garments are made to order, so we don’t generate waste or excess pieces. Each piece is custom designed for its owner, which is both luxurious and ecological.

We ship our pieces using recycled packaging to reduce waste. The entire Sophie et Voilà team is based in Bilbao, Spain, where each product is designed, managed and manufactured to avoid transportation of unnecessary, polluted materials. We all work closely to look out for one another, as well as our planet on which we live.

We believe that things need to change if we want to leave a good world for future generations.

Is the global fashion industry leaning towards sustainability or is there still a long road ahead?
The bridal industry is slowly improving sustainability wise as consumer values are changing when they are looking for a wedding dress. Brides want to look beautiful on their wedding day, but not at any price. We believe that the values behind the garments are becoming increasingly important as they are a representation of what we stand for.

Sophie et Voilà
Why hasn’t the global fashion business evolved into a more eco-friendly industry by now, especially considering rising environmental pollution rates?
The global fashion industry has not yet fully embraced sustainable practices because they come at a cost, and these businesses want to continue to make as much profit as possible. It is hard work to figure out how to reduce your carbon footprint and much more convenient for brands to continue the production process they have had for so long.

What common mistake do designer labels make that causes our environment to suffer? 
We believe that it is not fair to generalize as many brands are doing very well in their sustainability practices, which we recognize. We feel that the most serious issue in the fashion industry is fast fashion. Low-cost labels instill in society that making clothing is a cheap and easy process. We urge consumers to ask themselves what happens behind this process to create such cheap clothing and continue to question unsustainable production.

Is your brand up to date with the latest fads, or do you instead rely on timeless pieces?
We believe in timeless pieces. We love to see our brides giving a second life to their wedding gowns!
Talk to us about your new Hydrangea Collection.
The Hydrangea Collection is inspired by the hydrangea flower, a flower easily found in the Basque Country, next to the farmhouses where shadow prevails and water is abundant. It is generally white or pink, but after adding a bit of iron to its soil, it easily turns blue. It is a powerful flower that grows in rare environments and is completely versatile.

As a simple large flower, in January, it must be pruned almost flush to the ground, leaving a few stems empty of life. After, in the second stage, leaves start to appear radiantly green, which displays its robust volume. Finally, the flowers appear like a sum of delicate tiny sprouts. 

From nothing to everything every year, the Hydrangea is a flower that sprouts with the security of knowing that every spring, it will be spectacular like Sophie et Voilá. That is this collection; the sum of impeccable designs. Some, like the first phase, are minimalist and austere, others like an explosion of leaves, short and simple but with their own style, and lastly, designs that appear like a flowering, of clean romanticism.

Just as the Basque Country is always an inspiration, crepe, gauze and tulle are recurring foundations on which Hydrangea has been built. It is a collection made for women with style, and a story.
About Haider Rifaat: He is a Features Writer for OK! Pakistan, the international edition of OK! Magazine; writer for Arabian Moda, South China Morning Post and Flanelle Magazine. He is also an actor and the creator and host of Pakistan's first web talk show – The Haider Rifaat Show. He can be reached via instagram and twitter.