“I do not want to be part of the fast fashion industry”, says the 23-year old designer Danya Weevers. Danya just arrived from London Fashion Week – with success – and is already back in the spotlights of the Sustainable Fashion Week in the Netherlands.
Danya welcomes me in her atelier. It is a small atelier. There is a white table, two chairs, a clothing rack and in the back a desk where she works on her collection. The room does not have any unnecessary accessories, which seems to make it also a sustainable room.
Although the young designer does not have a store in the Netherlands yet, she will probably get three stores abroad; one in London, Stockholm and Copenhagen. This is the result of her showroom – a room where different pieces of her collection will be shown to clients – during London Fashion Week.
During the sustainable Fashion Week different designers will show there innovative clothes, for example clothes made of salmon leather and plastic bags. Danya’s designs are made of garden waste. “This is a dress I will show”, the Dutch designer points at a wedding dress. The lining of the wedding dress is made of recycled tampons. “Not used ones!”, she adds quickly with a smile. “Tampons meet strict requirements. They come from stores which can not sell the tampons anymore because they are rejected for sale.” She does not really seem to like the dress that much. “All clichés are in this dress, from wedding dress, to tampons, to dried flowers.”
Danya sits in her chair. She is modest yet self-confident about her work. The Dutch girl has a tattoo on her arm which says: ‘sustainable’. Her collection contains 15 to 20 outfits and appears once a year. “I do not want to be part of the Fast Fashion Industry”, she explains. “Clothes are something you stand for.”
It is harder for designers to make the switch to sustainable clothing nowadays. “The clothes will get more expensive and they have to take the clients with them.” That is why young designers are the future. “I give a lot of lectures at schools. These young designers have to make the big change.”
The True Cost
Danya graduated from her fashion studies in Enschede in 2014. At that point, her clothes were not sustainable. She started designing sustainable clothes after seeing the documentary ‘The True Cost’. “It shocked me. After the documentary I just wanted to throw all my clothes away. But of course, that is also wasting.” “In the beginning I thought cotton was also a sustainable fabric but it seems even worse than synthetic fabrics.”
The sustainable designer does not buy any new clothes anymore and does not use leather or fur in her collection. Danya works with fabrics like hemp, tencel (made of eucalyptus leaves), linen, nettle and cotton. All with a Gots-mark, which means the fabrics are biological and not treated with chemicals.
“In this collection I was still working with silk, next year not anymore. The caterpillar gets killed for silk and silk gets worn out fast. I want my clothes to wear well, at least for one year.” To know if her clothes last long she does washing tests. And all clothes are made in the Netherlands. Does this mean your collection is also vegan? “Yes, it is. But I am not”, she says with a smile.