By Arwa Lodhi
Venezuelan born, New York based designer Susana Colina is a designer on a mission. Whilst most of us know the benefits of organic food, fewer are aware of the importance of organic fabric, but Colina is on a crusade to educate through design.
Her highly stylish collections use only organic fibres, meaning none of the material she uses has been produced with artificial fertilizers, pesticides or hormones. They’re better for the environment, and ultimately, better for every living creature on the planet.
In addition to using organic cotton, bamboo and Lyocell, Colina uses a more controversial fabric too: hemp. Despite its association with a ‘hippy’ counter-culture, this has been touted as the ultimate eco-friendly fabric because it requires no chemicals to grow; is extremely versatile, and can be used to create strong, sturdy fabrics – even rope – or soft, delicate items. Hemp can even block the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, making it the perfect fabric for summer.
The designer also uses what is sometimes called “vegetable cashmere,” a super soft, soy-based fabric that’s easy to care for, absorbs dye quickly and hangs gently on the body, making it ideal for Colina’s penchant for flowing maxi dresses and cape-cut sleeves.
Beyond being super-conscious about the materials she employs, Colina is also dedicated to creating the kinds of designs that draw “oohs” and “ahhs” from the most prestigious catwalks in the fashion capitals of the world. Coming from a Fine Arts and Design background, she states: “it’s important to me to respect shapes, forms and the purity of what I can create with these types of fabrics, all of which have such a noble nature.”
Her work is undoubtedly minimalist, both in its sparse design and use of single blocks of colour, which allow the wearer to accessorise each outfit to better express her personality; these clothes never ‘wear the woman’, but rather act as a canvas for her to paint her own style.
Colina believes her basic, almost geometric designs add a “fully modern dimension” to her clothing. But for us, the most modern aspect of Susana Colina’s clothing is her awareness of the importance of sustainability in fashion.
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