May 01, 2018

Revolutionizing the industry from the ocean

Andrea Salinas welcomes us to talk about her work as Creative Director at Now_Then and about sustainability in the fashion industry. 

How did Now Then emerge? And what would you say are the main values that identify your brand?

NOW_THEN was born at a time when I left my job as a fashion buyer in a large textile company to move to the island of Lanzarote looking for more relax and being closer to the sea for diving, which is my great passion. After several years working in the industry, I felt that I did not identify with the caotic pace that characterizes it and I gave myself time to shape my project by joining my passion for the Ocean and my love for sewing and clothes made with care and detail. 

As a sustainable fashion designer, how would you rate the work that is being done in Spain?

I think that in Spain there is a lot of talent and a great know-how. But it is also a country marked by fast fashion, since some of the major companies in this segment are patriotic. I believe that small firms have to embrace the value of the Spanish textile past and value this great talent with solid and competitive proposals in our market and abroad.

What would you say to all those who say that sustainable fashion is expensive or not very accessible?

I would tell them it’s not about just seeing the price of the label. You have to assess how long that garment will last, what it will make you feel to wear a garment that does not compromise anyone’s life or the health of the planet, in addition to wearing something exclusive, which I think is something that we are losing. I believe that sustainable fashion is increasingly competitive. Our swimsuits do not cost more than those of another firm of the same level, being also a responsible garment from eco fabrics. There are many hidden costs behind a cheap garment label. 

Ocean, sea, water ... here your brand takes us every time we see your website, your clothes, your brand ... Tell us more about this special relationship you have with it.

Water is my element, I started diving as a child with my father, when I was about 8 years old. Discovering the underwater world with the eyes of a girl amazed me, and to this day, although I am also passionate about my work, I live counting the days I have left to go back to the sea. I think that the problems of the ocean have been a little hidden in the last decades, and we have only 20 or 30 years left to solve very urgent issues for the health of the sea.

I decided to contribute my bit with a brand created by and for the ocean, to make a call to that need to protect it and somehow return all that ocean magic that inspires the brand using materials that improve their situation, such as our fabric recycled from fishing nets recovered from the sea.

Among all your creations, we have been surprised by the "eco-preno", can you tell us more about this new fabric?

Our neoprene is a material that, unlike conventional neoprene, does not come from petroleum, which is a great enemy of the sea and one of the most polluting materials used in aquatic garments. It is made from calcareous mineral, a much more abundant source than petroleum and is produced in Japan in a more sustainable process that uses hydraulic energy, and where the resulting energy is reused for agriculture.

I have always been fascinated by the textile tradition of Japan, they understand the whole process 360 degrees, not only the origin of the fiber, but all the impacts. This is what I try to do every day at NOW_THEN, when we design a garment, we study each component and what will become of it at the end of its life, and we apply the most sustainable answers that are in our hands. Beyond making sustainable fashion, I like to say that we create honest fashion. 

BIAAF now faces the final stretch of its international fashion competition, from your experience, what advice would you give emerging designers?

Let them be true to themselves, look for what really makes them special and build that message that will make them unique in a difficult and saturated environment but with a desire for authentic stories.