Simone Simonato is a young inspiring designer who uses the left over textile waste generated from textile and fashion houses and turns them into beautiful products. This young designer has made Berlin her home where she runs her organisation called Sica. She produces her products in Bangladesh which is considered as the production ground for all the mighty fashion houses of the world. Simone produces her products in Bangladesh not only to gather the humongous amount of waste generated from the fashion industry but also to provide employment opportunities to the local women of Bangladesh. She trains and mentors local women to produce her products. We spoke to Simone about her journey and her work:
1. Can you tell me what inspired you to choose a career where you wanted to develop environmentally sustainable products?
I used to Reuse, recycle and rethink manufacturing ways in my atelier back in Brazil. SICA Clipping Up is a result of earlier experiences with SICA for the past 09 years.
2. Why did you choose to produce your products in Bangladesh?
(Actually Bangladesh chose me). Anyways, the Bangladesh Apparel Industry is really important to their economy but it struggles on environmental and social standards. I find it very exciting and meaningful to put my effort on changing the fashion industry in such a place. I was inspired by other small brands and entrepreneurs who joined the cause in Bangladesh. I fell powerful to know that I am not the only one there.
3. What kind of challenges you face in your work?
First of all, cultural challenges as language and mind-set were tricky. The SICA bag production is a development of traditional technique to new product, therefore we need many hours of training and local product development which I personally work on. Since neither me or the team I met were fluent in each other’s language it gets difficult to meet schedules sometimes. The political situation of Bangladesh is also a factor that avoids the progress of working there, it is difficult to move in the country as well as material\goods transportation.
4. Why did you move to Berlin and how has it helped your cause?
I moved to Berlin to do a master on Sustainable fashion and get a broader experience in the field of fashion. What I intended was to come up with a business model which gives value to the manufacturers, with fair wage and fair working conditions. I also wanted to feel strong about material choices of my designs. Moving to Berlin connected me to a great network of designers (inside and outside of Berlin) that also works with up-cycling. I believe we live in a very important times where we all are connected. I do not want to only focus on causes back home in Brazil, it is vital for me to have an exchange of ideas with different cultures and we find the solutions together.
5. What would be your advice to people who want to build a career in environmentally sustainable work?
Try to not focus only on financial issues. We still do not know the model of the future but it is for sure that money is not everything. It is important to find what you are passionate about and how you can use that passion to develop and help the society.