A few days prior to the launch of their exclusive collaboration, Camille Jaillant founder of Olistic the Label and ecoactivist Arizona Muse sat in the Hoxton Hotel in Paris to discuss the future of fashion and how Arizona Muse is changing the fashion industry from the inside.
Discover here the second part of Arizona Muse’s exclusive interview for Olistic the Label.
- You have worked in fashion for slightly more than a decade. How did you come to realize fashion couldn’t keep its current pace?
My click and the beginning of my sustainability journey was about 5 years into my career when I realized I didn’t know where all those clothes were coming from. I went into a deep exploration to learn about my own industry. I became instantly hooked because when you start to learn it’s just an endless fascinating search for information.
“We all need to feel responsible for our actions, accountability is a big part of sustainability”
- Where did you begin this search?
I became obsessed with fabrics. When it comes to a material, I want to learn where it’s from, what chemical process has been used, who grew it and where. We have to ask those questions about every material.
I went to India to visit factories. They had good working conditions but even so I didn’t imagine what it would be like. Only men were working there, they usually get the most skilled jobs (such as embroidery) and the highest salaries. We don’t always realize we encounter gender equality issues at the very beginning of the supply chain. We should all know where our clothes come from, we should understand what they do to the people making them and to our planet.
- Will you only collaborate with sustainable brands from now on?
I would love to announce that I won’t collaborate with brands that haven’t started a sustainability improvement program. However, I still find it valuable to work with companies that aren’t yet sustainable. This can be an access point to people that don’t know yet what is happening and don’t realize that they’re a part of it. I truly believe people are good but that one can make mistakes or just don’t have enough or right information.
- Since the COVID19 pandemic, fashion shows have been canceled and production drastically stopped. Do you believe this will be the wake-up call we needed to change the fashion sector?
I don’t think there will be a single wake-up call but the industry is already changing. First, it forces brands to reconsider their strategies. Brands realized they should produce less to focus on the things that work well for them. Another evolution is the more immediate sales approach. Currently, a lot of retailers are under pressure and that could bring positive changes such as the re-empowerment of brands. When selling directly to its client, a brand can increase its margins while lowering its price to be sold at a fair price. Understanding what a fair price is that’s very important. When you buy something and feel you had a very good deal, it’s a sign that the price isn’t fair, it has a cost on people and on planet Earth.
- Do you believe we should cancel fashion weeks?
We no longer have to decide if we should change the way we do fashion show, COVID 19 chose for us, this is already happening. I don’t think we need to cancel fashion week; it’s a fun moment for a design team to see their creations taking life on the runway but the calendar of the whole industry needs to change. Rewiring Fashion, a proposal facilitated by Business of Fashion, gave a chance to designers, CEOs and retail executives to reimagine how fashion should work.
- Can you tell us more about being a fashion activist?
It’s only since I walked with Extinction Rebellion – a global environmental movement using nonviolent civil disobedience – that I feel I can call myself an activist; before that I just thought I wasn’t passionate or bold enough. Working with Extinction Rebellion I understood that Activism can take different forms! Activism doesn’t mean shouting in the street, it can be reading in your living room about how to engage in a more sustainable lifestyle, there are quiet activists. Sharing what you learned with your friends and family is activism!
- You are on the advisory board of The Sustainable Angle. Can you tell us more about them and the other environmental initiatives you are supporting?
Nina Marenzi, the founder of The Sustainable Angle, is my mentor. She’s very forward thinking and saw ten years ago that the fashion industry needed a change. She gathers all the sustainable fabrics from sustainable suppliers in one place to reduce the time pressure for brands creating their new collection. Often, they just don’t know where they can find those sustainable fabrics. I highly recommend going to their website where you can learn about the latest scientific innovations, such as leather made from the grapes of the wine industry, it’s fascinating!
I support a lot of fashion sustainable initiatives such as Ecoage, an agency and magazine specialized in sustainability communications and consultancy, and Positive Luxury. I’m also very proud to be a Greenpeace Ocean ambassador.
- Fashion seems to be calling for more authenticity and reality, how do you feel about that? What will you love to see next?
I wish the fashion industry would have changed 25 years ago but it didn’t. We are now in a rush and we don’t have time for baby steps anymore, we all need to change instantly and rapidly. Carbon emissions are only a small part of the problem. I think producing a lot less and favoring more made-to-order will be crucial. I’m not into new technologies or artificial intelligence at all as we have massive unemployment issues. Focusing on creativity for all the supply chain actors, and not only for the designer, matters because it helps people feeling fulfilled.
- You designed a gorgeous sustainable collection with Olistic the Label. Why was it a perfect match?
Olistic holds the same high values about sustainability, especially for materials. I was already impressed by their pieces and I’m thrilled to collaborate with Olistic the Label. I wish the biggest success to the brand because we all need to be wearing beautiful, practical and long-lasting clothes such as the one designed by Olistic the Label. Those beautiful sustainable garments are made to be cherished and loved.
- What was your inspiration behind this collection?
It was quite a simple inspiration: I thought about the way I want to dress. I pictured myself and the way I spent my days and I imagined with Olistic a collection that would fit on me and follow me in my daily life. It’s inspired by the thing I’m doing. The colors are classic and timeless to match well with what you already have in your wardrobe. The statement part of the pieces is in the shape and the details not in the colors because we want this timeless elegant collection to last for a long time.
- How did you choose those specific fabrics for this winter collection?
First, we selected sustainable natural and organic fibers such as peace silk, lyocell and virgin Burel wool coming from Portugal. We loved how much care the suppliers have put in them. I also looked for a particular and beautiful softness for the collection to be sustainable but comfortable as well.
- What are your favorite pieces from this winter capsule collection?
I have a crush on the beautiful Polaris peace silk dress with the puffy sleeves and the gorgeous Virgo wool dress with the front zipper!