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Making Fashion Sustainable And Circular

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Growing up on a farm in Uruguay, fashion designer Gabriela Hearst learned to value nature’s resources and make the most of them. “A farm, overall, is the highest example of circularity”, she observes in this DLD Circular conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist. “You can have as much as the Earth lets you have there.”

Hearst also explains why she believes that the future of fashion lies, in some ways, in the past. “I’ve always said that in fashion, in a certain way, we have to look to pre-industrialized times.” One example: coloring fabrics with botanical dyes, rather than chemical ones. Hearst also pioneered the use of a biodegradable material named Tipa as a replacement for plastic packaging in the fashion industry.

As Creative Director of Chloé, as well as with her own fashion label, Hearst strives to minimize waste and use organic materials whenever possible. “We’re trying to look at craft and it really is a matter of understanding and respecting your materials and where they come from.”

The conversation also touches upon Hearst’s efforts to reduce over-consumption and increase the percentage of repurposed fabrics. “We have a percentage of recycle and upcycle materials that we use every season”, she says. “And last year, in our ready-to-wear [collection], for all of 2020, we were over 50 percent, upcycle and recycled.” For 2021, the aim is 60 to 70 percent, Hearst adds.

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