How Fashion Tells a Story of Sustainability with the ECONYL® Brand

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Photo: Jure Makovec

Fashion is more than beautiful clothes; it’s a communication platform. Designers communicate their values and messages through their collections, and consumers express who they are through the clothes they wear. Designers are storytellers, reaching out to the world with their stories, not just with design. Those whose hearts beat for sustainable fashion can find great inspiration in ECONYL® yarn just like Tina Princ, founder of sustainable fashion brand Things I Miss. Tina was invited to become a messenger of sustainability at this year’s Ljubljana Fashion Week and has chosen to build her story around the ECONYL® brand and its endless circle of life.

Tina Princ hasn’t always been a fashion designer. She used to express herself in different creative fields: in theater, through audiovisual formats and art production but was drawn to fashion and the art of fashion since her early 20s. She knew clothing could be something more. Her friends said she experienced life with all senses, saw everything and heard everything, so she started focusing on things she didn’t hear or see and created them. That’s where the name of her brand — Things I Miss — comes from and how she started.

Things I Miss is an active member of different platforms and movements with a mission to change the attitude toward clothing and fashion. Things I Miss is a founding member of Common Objective, and a member of London’s Ethical Fashion Forum and Conscious Community. By signing the Global Fashion Agenda’s 2020 Circular Fashion Commitment at Copenhagen Fashion Summit along with 142 global fashion brands, the brand pledged for a gradual change in the process of creating and accelerating the transition to a circular fashion system.

Now, Things I Miss is the medium for personal expression for Tina. She uses her fashion brand for storytelling and as a communication tool with a powerful mission to influence our behavior, as a stimulus to force us to stop a bit and rethink, re-establish our values, relations, and visions. She would like us to sharpen our senses and realize that each fashion piece has its own story and path.

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“Every bag, every shirt, every scarf has a story. We should listen to them and respect them, not buy them just because of buying, and forget them the next day”, Tina Princ, founder and creator of Things I Miss. Photo: Matic Bajželj

“Every bag, every shirt, every scarf has a story. What we put on ourselves is important — clothes are our second skin; bags are our moving storage. We should listen to them and respect them, not buy them just because of buying, and forget them the next day,” Tina said passionately when we met at the Ljubljana Fashion Week. For her, each fashion item has its usability — not one but many — it can be worn, combined and layered in different ways. It offers a magnitude of styles, transcending seasons, moods and occasions. She experiments with their usability and sets modular, long-lasting, multi-use layering concepts as the basis for her design.

The need to prolong the use of fashion products, lessen waste and raise awareness of sustainability comes from the current situation of our civilization. This is what Tina learned from her special approach to the creative process. She says that creating is not about the final products; it’s a thoughtful journey, realizing the causes and consequences on the way. That’s why at Things I Miss they create only when the inspiration is right, not when the season is right, and they don’t offer collections, they create editions, she emphasizes.

Over-consumption causes piles of waste. But what is waste for others is a resource for Aquafil. We use nylon waste, such as spent fish farming and ghost nets, upper parts of old carpets, industrial plastic waste, fabric straps and yarn discards and regenerate it into ECONYL® yarn, high-quality nylon for the fashion industry and carpets.

She believes that fashion should change in its essence: “The consequences of fast fashion and constant consumerism are severe. Therefore, implementing sustainability and circular concepts in fashion, establishing zero-waste fashion is extremely important.”

However, Tina is optimistic: “Sustainability is more and more present in the communication around fashion. It even seems that it’s just a temporary trend, a fad. To make a real impact, the transformation of fashion toward sustainability should focus not just on final creations, but on the entire fashion world. The potential is big but requires a strategic approach, going deep into the essence of fashion.”

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Things I Miss edition for Ljubljana Fashion Week 2017, all made from sustainable materials. The dancer in the front wears a black skirt from Carvico fabric, made from ECONYL® nylon yarn. Photo: Jure Makovec

Sustainability and circularity, responsibility and consciousness are the norms for Things I Miss, which aspires to be the stimulus for the wider public to embrace those concepts. To achieve that, creative minds at Things I Miss are focusing not on the final product, but on the content and relations. “Sustainable fashion has a great potential to tell stories. Sustainability and the circular concepts embody much content and a positive vision, which can be easily translated into fashion. There are incredible pallets of stories and different stimuli. The question is, which communication format to choose to bring those stories to the public. How to get people’s attention, but not to make it a trend, this is short-term thinking, we aim to establish a purpose today to influence tomorrow.”

Materials are extremely important for Things I Miss. Tina says: “Material comes first. The creative process starts with its potential, the sustainable story embedded in it. Through searching and testing and experiencing the material, forms happen. They rise out of our constant tendency for usability, longevity, circularity and the need to find a powerful stimulus. Our passion is for materials with a potentially interesting form and sustainable stories behind them. My biggest obsession is to take a piece of textile or material and transform it into a piece of poetry that holds on to us wherever we go.”

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The creative process starts in the material, touching it, feeling it and finding its story. Photo: Danilo Kesic

Things I Miss is looking for new innovative and sustainable materials with a powerful story. It uses fabric and material from pineapple leaves’ waste fibers (Piñatex®) or fish skin — a by-product of food production, organic raw cotton gauze, and similar items. For this year’s Ljubljana Fashion Week, she has also chosen our ECONYL® nylon yarn. A nylon yarn, which is not made from oil, but from waste, such as discarded fishing nets, discarded carpet fluff, and other nylon waste. In the innovative ECONYL® Regeneration System, nylon is 100% regenerated from waste, has the same quality as virgin nylon and can be regenerated infinitely without losing quality.

When Tina first met the ECONYL® brand, its story immediately enthralled her. “The ECONYL® brand carries a strong sustainable and circular story. It carries values and dimensions similar to ours. Together, our two brands bring interesting potential to talk about sustainability. Not just through forms, but as a stimulus to change today’s decisions for tomorrow’s impact.”

Tina was inspired by the ECONYL® story and decided to make it the center of her participation at the Ljubljana Fashion Week (LJFW). She and her Things I Miss were not just showing their creations to the fashion crowd there, but, because of Tina’s ability to make an impact, they were trusted to become the voice of an important message of sustainability to LJFW.

As the main communication format, Tina envisioned the exhibition FASHION.SUSTAINABLE.SENSE. and through its sensory concept “Touch — Feel — Experience” shared the sustainability and circular message.

Tina is setting up the exhibition FASHION.SUSTAINABLE.SENSE. with discarded fishing nets as raw material for ECONYL® yarn. Bobbins of this thread and a fashion piece are displayed to represent the whole circle of material and to raise awareness of sustainable fashion.

With the exhibition, Tina invited visitors to join her on her creative journey, to interact with the exhibition and open up all their senses — sight, sound and touch, as she does. The exhibition stood on three content pillars. One was the raw material — the discarded carpet and fishing nets — in other words, the waste, which becomes raw material for the ECONYL® yarn. Then there was a fashion product, a black skirt — a fashion piece made from ECONYL® yarn, and finally a human, a dancer who brought all the other inanimate materials to life.

Together they showed the story of circularity as an important developmental and transformational force of the future, which will enable sustainable processes and more responsible decisions in fashion, too. The linear life cycle of a material from the beginning to the end became an infinitive circle with the help of the unique ECONYL® Regeneration Process. The end was the new beginning also in real life, as all of the exhibition materials after the event were sent back to Aquafil regeneration plant to become new ECONYL® yarn.

The way Tina talks to her audiences really makes an impact. We could feel that from the exhibition and the evening fashion show, where Things I Miss stood out by putting jazz singer Marina Martensson and contemporary dancers Gea Erjavec, Kaja Janjić, Bor Pungerčič and Sarah Al Saleh together with models on a runway. She wanted to arouse all our senses to make us stop and re-think our lifestyles, and she did. We hope others in the audience felt the same way and that this impact will last.

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Recycling? Yes, and further! We regenerate nylon waste into new materials for brand new products. Download our sustainable design ebook http://bit.ly/2rzwzLj

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