Sustainability is all about a perfect balance between the past, the present and the future, a humble look at tradition, a deep respect for nature and people, and a commitment to creating fashion with consciousness. The relevance of sustainable fashion is a response to the redefinition of our own ethical values as a society and the market response to meeting the needs of a customer who is now closer to life?s core values: authenticity, exclusivity, character, diversity, fairness, respect, and cultural heritage.
The beauty and relevance of this sustainable movement is that it has the potential to help increase job creation for women, curb urban migration by offering economic opportunities for rural communities, and encourage creativity and respect for the elderly. In the words of Paulette Cole, CEO of ABC Carpet and Home, ?Beauty is the spoonful of sugar which allows you to become aware of the need for service in the world. We all need beauty, and we can satisfy that need while creating beauty and planetary health for others, too.?
Five years ago when I was starting my career as a writer in Colombia, I realized that a lot of the beautiful textiles and jewelry that I saw in my grandmother?s closet were disappearing. I was amazed by the wealth of traditional materials and techniques that were vanishing amidst mass consumerism. I had to do something about this. People needed to know that these traditions existed and that part of our DNA as a culture was at risk. My response was to tell the stories with images and words, to document, to meet people, to learn about what their ancestors made and how they told their stories. I met many indigenous and ethnic groups. One of them were the gypsies who told me about their struggles, their past as alchemists and how they were no longer hammering metals and sharing life with fire. How to tell their story? I needed the products and I needed beautiful photos. From this journey, SURevolution was born in 2005.
Since then my personal commitment has been to participate in the different layers of the sustainability conversation, always striving for a balance among the three pillars that define it: the cultural, the social and the environmental. The challenges are infinite and there is an enormous amount of work to be done. The important thing however, is to conceptualize every step of the process with open eyes and a humble sense of awareness and commitment to doing things differently, embracing a higher purpose, and caring about the well being of the world.
Marcella Echavarria founded SURevolution, a sustainable fashion company with an outstanding brand recognition and commercial presence in the US. She now shares six years of entrepreneurial experience with governments, organizations, publications, universities and individuals who all share her passion for the handmade world.