Founded by designers Britt Cosgrove and Marina Polo, SVILU is at the forefront of environmentally sustainable and ethically produced clothing. Designing the modern classics for women, SVILU has thoughtfully considered the entire production picture – from the environmental impact of materials, to the conditions and standards of their factories, to the inner operations of their business.
Ahead of their launch in Australia (SVILU will be available exclusively at rollinggrenades.com), the duo talked to Rolling Grenades about designing a conscious collection and the future of fashion.
What sparked your interest and pursuit in sustainable and ethically produced fashion?
Fashion is a tremendously polluting industry – having worked in the industry for over a decade before starting SVILU we had seen this impact firsthand and knew it was essential to work in a smarter, cleaner way.
When we started SVILU we realised we had a “blank slate” to do things exactly the way we wanted to and not follow anyone else’s rules. While SVILU is design led, we wanted to think about more than just what clothes looked like. To us that meant re-conceiving how and why we make clothes with consideration for the environment, maker & wearer. At the time it just felt like common sense – why not make clothes that are less toxic and more timeless?
So we decided to make clothes that don’t destroy the environment. Taking the guesswork out of mindful dressing with a collection of everyday, effortless clothes without compromise.
What have been some of the challenges creating environmentally sustainable and ethical clothing?
Access and information – when we first started SVILU in 2012 it was incredibly difficult to source low-impact materials that we actually wanted to work with. Mills regularly told us no one cared about sustainable fashion, so they didn’t make these fabrics. We had to search far and wide to find a handful of vendors and factories that were committed to responsible production. Over the years we’ve developed amazing relationships with our vendors and makers, and have been able to grow alongside them.
Do you believe society’s desire for fast-fashion can be overcome?
For a while no one was talking about the dark side of fast fashion, which made it easy to ignore. Now people are demanding to know more about what they buy and the impact of their purchases. Thoughtful consumption is creating a ripple effect and ultimately encouraging all businesses to implement better practices.
What new technologies (in the area of sustainable production of textiles and fashion) have you excited for the future of the fashion industry?
One of the most challenging issues around sustainability is end of use. What to do with clothes that are no longer wearable? There are a lot of cool developments around recycling that are becoming more mainstream – from using plastic bottles to create new textiles to cotton fiber recycling . Closing the loop and creating a circular supply chain is something we are always working towards.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
First and foremost we want women to feel like themselves when they wear our clothes. We design for the intersection of purpose and joy – pieces that are a little bit special that you can wear for real life, everyday adventures….that means we put pockets in everything.
What are your favourite pieces from the current collection?
We’re living in the Morris Cardigan. It is the perfect amount of oversized – we like to layer it over a turtleneck and leggings for a very clean look or use is as a light jacket over a dress. It’s made from a super soft yak blend yarn that is low impact, and extra warm while being light weight.
And finally, what next for SVILU?
Capsule collections of special pieces that we’ve obsessed over perfecting and feel are just right for right now!