Sustainable fashion designer from Minas Gerais stands out in international competition


The sustainable bias and the philosophy of upcycling have always been somehow present in the life of sustainable fashion designer Lívia Aguiar de Castro, even if they were not yet in high terms, as they are today. “My grandfather on my father’s side raised the family making copper pots and selling paintings that portrayed architecture of churches and houses made with reused copper wires. My father and his brothers grew up working as artisans. On the side of my mother, my grandmother always liked crafts and made fabric boots that she gave us at Christmas, in addition to customizing pieces with yo-yo for my aunts. I grew up loving everything that was handmade and inheriting pieces of clothing from my aunts, cousins ​​and grandmother”, remembers the Minas Gerais , in turn, had been designing clothes since he was in school and liked to express himself through the way he dressed. Fashion and design, therefore, were present in her life in these details.

But it was while studying at the University of Fashion Design and coming across sustainable fashion that he found the concept for something he already organically liked and did. Then came the absolute certainty that he wanted to work in this area. This month, a recognition of caliber has just been added to the trajectory of the 27-year-old girl, who was born and lives in Betim. This year, Lívia applied – and was selected – as a finalist for the Redress Design Award. “I have known the NGO Redress for some time and I admired their work a lot, because they always show how it is possible to create sustainable fashion with a diverse aesthetic. is possible and has great commercial appeal”, she comments.

Lívia says that the judges evaluated the competitors in terms of design, marketability and scalability criteria, as well as how they approached the durability of the part and recycling at the end of its useful life. “We had to demonstrate knowledge about design, but above all aspects of the material and how it is sustainable. I decided to sign up for Redress because the contest represents responsible and community-engaged fashion as I believe it should be”, he emphasizes.

The closing of the event took place on the 7th of September. “In the week of the final, we had chats, lectures and group challenges that were evaluated by industry professionals, a process conducted by video call by the Redress team. On the 7th, the show took place at Artis Tree, in Hong Kong, with guests at the event, among digital influencers and industry professionals, broadcast live on the YouTube channel RedressAsia. The nine finalists connected via video call and were shown on the screen at times. There were two designers from Sri Lanka, one from India, one from Chile, two for Spain, one for Italy and myself, representing Brazil”.

The collections sent were composed of four physical looks and one virtual one. The shows started with an opening video explaining the collection, derived from the video of the #MeetTheFinalists series, produced by the contest to present the work of the participants. “My collection was the first on the catwalk and it was very exciting to see the result of several months of work! The virtual look appeared on a big screen and is available as a snapchat filter for people to try on the clothes virtually. personally present at the event, something that was not possible due to Covid restrictions in the country, but it was still an amazing experience”.

Although she did not win the competition, Lívia knows that it was a great opportunity to present her collection to a panel of professionals associated with “Vogue Hong Kong”, Tal Apperreal, Timberland, among others. “And even one of the founders of Fashion Revolution, Orsola de Castro. Our collections will still appear in October’s ‘Vogue Hong Kong, Redress magazine and Redress catalogue”, she lists. The clothes remain on display at the Artis Tree in Hong Kong, with free admission, until the 17th.


For the contest, Lívia chose the material with which she started her journey in sustainable fashion, resuming her work with weaves, but this time with a checkered pattern and in even more daring and asymmetrical models, a hallmark of her work as a designer. “The contest has brought me opportunity and visibility. I intend to take advantage of this network and expand RE.TRAMA (its brand) to sell weft collections and other product lines and continue my work with accessories, which allows me to use waste by minors. whatever. International sales and partnerships with big brands are also among my goals”.

Check out, below, other excerpts from the interview granted to PANDORA
I would like you to tell me about the beginning of your brand, RE.TRAMA…

When having contact with the possibilities of sustainable fashion, I came across jeans, pants were an easy material to obtain and the more I worked with it, the more creative possibilities I “discovered”. My Fashion Design course conclusion collection was the beginning of RE.TRAMA. That was the name of the collection, because I undid pants and re-weaved them into new fabrics and texture possibilities, opting to create pieces with geometric shapes that would dress women in their 60s with great elegance. The name of the collection and the use of the raw material, second-hand jeans, inspired me to start my journey to explore this material even more.

After my graduation in 2018, I started an acceleration at the former Mooca, which provided a consultancy program for small producers and designers in BH, but it was only in 2019 that I started my brand, RE.TRAMA, selling accessories such as earrings, made with the residue of my TCC collection.

I participated in some fairs and also started to work with customization of parts for customers. My purpose is to increasingly reuse the most diverse waste and avoid virgin materials as much as possible. Prolonging the useful life of these materials and preventing their disposal. I opened my studio in 2021. In the space I produce the pieces for my brand, which I still manage alone. There are earrings, bracelets, rings made with denim waste and the transformation of old jewelry. I also customize bags, sandals and clothes for clients, in addition to creating collections.

From what you reported, the issue of sustainability has always been somehow present in your life. But I wanted to know more about this connection in the professional field...
See, my trajectory as a fashion designer has always been linked to sustainability, ever since I had contact with the subject. The Fashion Revolution and the Rana Plaza collapse accident (tragedy that occurred in April 2013 in Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, when a building collapsed, leaving nearly 400 people dead – they worked in a textile industry).happened while I was studying fashion, in 2013. Therefore, I always researched the subject, participated in a research and extension group at the university and tried to understand how I could work in fashion by bringing these issues to the center. . Producing with what I have around me has always been something that helped me to reduce costs and I discovered that this is also a way of dealing with waste and reducing carbon emissions. When setting up my studio, in Betim, I chose to get my hands dirty, resignifying furniture in disuse, such as a dresser that with the help of my father I turned into a sofa, among other decorative objects.

I would like you to detail what aspects, today, make your work considered sustainable.

The fashion industry works on the logic of programmed obsolescence, with trends that are available for consumption quickly at prices that often make us buy on impulse. The use of the internet and social networks further disseminate these trends and make us tired of these clothes even earlier, when they would still have a function. At the same time, the disposal of clothes, which are rarely recycled, has occurred in a very large volume, becoming an environmental problem. In addition, these items generate a great impact on the environment at each stage of their production and some are discarded because they are not sold. Labor exploitation is also a very present problem in society and in the fashion industry.

Sustainable fashion must recognize these issues and be transparent about the solutions it offers to these problems. Small producers, as is my case, already represent resistance when producing in a more artisanal logic, on a small scale.

At RE.TRAMA and as a designer, I try to reuse materials that I have at my disposal, that is, to provide solutions for old jewelry, store stock items, second-hand clothes,… Having a look towards transforming the most diverse materials , not limiting myself to just one type, but mainly focusing on post consumption, on pieces that people use for years, create affection, but that for some reason, either because it spoils or doesn’t fit, they don’t use anymore.

To make the pieces from the HeritageBlue collection, created for the Redress competition, I ripped jeans from thrift stores, looking for colors, textures and finishes that jeans with their washes present. In this collection I used only one material, 100% cotton or 98% cotton, 2% elastane jeans, thinking about recycling at the end of the piece’s useful life, I produced buttons with the pants loops, reused the pockets in the design and used generated waste in the finishing of the denim strips as filling for the blazer’s shoulder pads. I created the most diverse solutions to use the material to the fullest in the finishes and generate less waste. The buttons, zippers and other metal parts of the pants used in the collection will be used in the creation of RE.TRAMA earrings, in a collection that I will launch soon.

In addition, I also apply this transformational thinking to the products I make. If they are not sold or if they are damaged, I transform, customize. This thinking is focused on circularity and on making processes less and less impacting nature. Sustainability is a process in constant evolution, it is essential to have it as a brand value and it is what I always look for in all my processes.

To follow on the networks

Instagram: @castroalivia


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