If we put the word conscious and fashion in one sentence, how many scenarios come to mind? Now that we have you buzzing with ideas, let us swoon you into loving what we do.
The idea of being conscious with how we treat fashion generated waste is not a notion that naturally rolls off the tongue in Montenegrin daily discourse. Fashion is fun and oddly therapeutic, so why bother thinking about waste? Well, with the goal of shifting the narrative in a slightly greener direction, two years ago, we decided to embark on a sustainability inspired journey with our client Delta City shopping mall to introduce the concepts of re-purpose and re-use to our community as part of the Conscious Fashion project.
What brought this on, one might wonder?
A well-known fact is that the contemporary apparel industry is the world’s second biggest polluter and is as such massively toxic for the environment. The waste generated as a result impacts virtually all aspects of our functioning, whether we are faced with it directly or indirectly. With this realisation, and just the right partner by our side, we put our thinking hats on and brought the Conscious Fashion project to life.
The aim of the Conscious Fashion project is to put an emphasis on responsible and conscientious wardrobe treatment. Bearing in mind the negative effects of the fashion industry, this project also aims to inspire and educate various social actors and end consumers about the ways in which old wardrobe can be given a new purpose. And who better to do it than a shopping mall, the place that hosts all major fashion brands in the country?
In practical terms, the project was envisioned as big clothes collecting activity, enabling people to dispose of items that no longer have any use to them, in order to transform them into something of value. For that purpose, Delta City shopping mall, the social epicenter of Podgorica, has designated a central place in their hall to install a container, where the collected clothes would be stored. As a result, we are overjoyed to be able to report that during the four weeks of this campaign, almost six thousand individual pieces of clothing have been collected! Clothes which are not to be discarded and thrown in the landfill, but to be reused and donated to those in need. Talking about a mental shift!
In order to realize the idea more comprehensively and truly bring forward its multidimensional aspect, we partnered up with emerging and established designers, as well as high-school and university students who used part of the clothes to make new, wearable garments, while the rest went to the Red Cross, whose representatives made sure that the clothes would go to those who need it most.
We managed to spark interest from many companies, organisations, and governmental entities that have, some as part of their team building activity, taken part in this effort. To mark such success, as well as showcase first-hand how the process of turning used clothes into new ones (upcycling) works, Montenegrin designers and young students of design created remarkable and original fashion pieces which they showcased during a fashion show, within the Montenegro Fashion Week event.
On a more personal note, what we at Strategist enjoyed the most was the novelty that arose from this process. It has allowed us to be on the front line of a social experiment, not just discussing sustainability related topics but actually witnessing their implementation. On this quest, we are certain that we have been able to provide valuable insights into the downsides of the mainstream fashion industry and be passionate advocates for promoting alternatives in this domain. Someone might refer to it as eco-friendly or sustainable fashion, but for us it is just common sense.
Being involved in topics that have such a fundamental social impact is never without its challenges, but the outcome is, regardless of what it does or does not yield, undoubtedly, gratifying. For the true beauty lies in the attempt itself.