In the 21st Century, one of the biggest concerns that we have as a society is about the environment and how can we preserve what is left of it after all this time of indiscriminated exploitation. This thinking is growing so much in everyone’s mind that people are actually changing their shopping habits and avoiding the big corporations that are still producing fast-fashion and not caring about the outcomes of it. The new generation wants to change the world, we want to change the world, and it’s nice to know that some people on the Fashion Industry are in this with us. One of these people is Malgorzata Wiatr, from Furora, that has it’s own special – and ecological – way of making her designs.
MALVIE had the privilege to talk to her about this great initiative, and we’re very happy to share it with all of you. We learned a lot, and we’re sure you will too.
How and when did you decide to start your own brand? What gave you the motivation?
Furora was founded less than 2 years ago, in September 2019. However, my adventure with fashion, art and design began much earlier. Handmade knitwear is a tradition in our family. When I was a little girl, my grandmother and mother introduced me to their knowledge and experience in clothing construction and design, mainly classics of the genre. It is important to remember that the motivation of Polish women who knitted during the Second World War was completely different from that of contemporary women. Today, knitting can be a fashionable hobby, a way to relieve stress or a kind of creative outlet. It used to be a necessity when hunger and poverty were common in rural areas. I remember my grandmother telling me that she would use bicycle wheel spokes for knitting... My adventure with knitting began when I was 5 years old. I started with clothes for Barbie dolls, and later I progressed to design bigger "human" forms. Ever since I can remember, I have liked combining different textures and colours. I looked for new forms and experimented. The decision to establish Furora was made when I realised that my passion was not only to design, but also to share my knowledge and products with others.
How was your first sale? What did you feel when you made it?
Whether it was the first sale or any subsequent one, it only strengthened my belief that I have chosen the right path and that what I do makes sense. I am happy that more and more clients not only come back but also recommend me to others. Our community is growing.
Why did you choose to make an eco-friendly brand, even though it is more expensive to work this way?
The question of whether Furora would be eco-friendly was not up for discussion. From scratch, Furora was supposed to be synonymous with eco-friendliness, transparency and responsible fashion. Of course, this approach involves highercosts but the awareness of creating a brand with real values compensates for some financial shortfalls.
What materials do you use to make the clothes you sell and how do you get them?
I think Furora is currently the only brand in the world to create handmade sweaters from such materials as mint, corn, seaweed or as unusual as 100% biodegradable powdered pearl. Moreover, and uniquely, we create our clothes from virgin raw materials, which means that we do not buy ready-made yarns, but we spin them by hand on a spinning wheel. This model was developed for two reasons. Firstly, the plant fibres that we use are not available in ready-made form. The second reason relates to wools. Unfortunately, on the labels of ready-made yarns usually lackinformation on the exact origin of the wool, .whether it was obtained from the hair of a dead or live animal, and in the latter case, in what conditions the animal was bred, etc. As I wanted Furora to be a brand offering people certainty and knowledge about what they were buying, I had to go to the source and buy raw materials from companies with similar values to mine, such as ecology and humanitarianism.
Fortunately, after a long search, I found good reliable suppliers. Furora is not just a fashion brand. Its primary mission, it is education.
Many people consider wool to be prickly and unpleasant. What is not mentioned, however, is that the itchy feeling is caused by the lowest quality wool. Nobody educates people that the quality of wool is measured in microns, similarly to centimetres on a ruler. The more microns the wool has, the pricklier it feels. The softest wool has 13-14 microns, the itchiest wool has over 40 microns.
When we go to a shop, the label may read that the sweater is wool, but what kind of wool is it? Nobody knows. In Furora's collections, each sweater is described precisely when it comes to wool, for example if the breed of the sheep is merino or the legendary French Rambouillet. All the wools I choose originate from flocks that are reared in natural humane conditions, not in industrial production. I want to give people the feeling that by buying Furora sweaters they are also contributing to something good.
We can see that you are an example of slowfashion, so do you think it is important to promote this kind of work?
I think the definition of slow fashion has undergone a transformation in people's minds in recent years. Not so long ago, using this phrase was simply fashionable but today we are beginning to understand its essence. The slow fashion philosophy is becoming a signpost in the purchasing decisions of people who feel responsible not only for themselves but also for future generations and the world we live in.
The fashion market generates costs - the planet, people and animals suffer. By buying responsibly, we say "no" to bad practices. I myself am constantly discovering new ways to be even more slow. For example, my new collection for autumn will feature a sweater made from camel wool. Camel wool is relatively uncommon in the fashion industry because of the economics involved - high maintenance costs versus a small amount of raw material. In effect, camel wool is very expensive, but the production method is extremely animal-friendly. Camel wool is not obtained by shearing or plucking the animal, but it is gathered when the animal sheds its hair in accordance with a natural cycle, in spring. The quality of the wool is compared to cashmere. However, the media have recently revealed the bestial treatment of cashmere goats, which are often deeply injured with sharp combs while being groomed and eventually they die in agony. Cashmere will never appear in my collections.
And for closure what would you say to someone who dreams about having their own brand?
To all those who dream, I say: stop dreaming and start acting. It will not be easy at first but if you are authentic and want to give people something positive through your brand - real values - the good things will come back to you. People will appreciate what you do and will join you in creating a better reality, a better tomorrow.
To choose to be eco-friendly, to be transparent and to be human is to say ‘no’ to taking the easy path. But it is the right thing to do, especially now that our planet needs us. Fashion is great and it is an industry that help people make their dream come true, and it can also be a great platform for fighting the good fight.
Photo: Łukasz Auguściak
Model 1: Wero Żebrowska
Agency: Uncover Models
Model 2: Julia
Agency: Le Troch
Stylist: Ewa Michalik