If the obtuse drag us to the bottom of the earth
It must be that, day after day,
I have been dreaming for too long.
Ivano Fossati, from “I Dreamt a Road”
Each of us has worked for many years with some of the leading international clothing brands, contributing to their success and their achievements. Designingclothing collections is a great job and also a very creative one. Designing garments, and then seeing them created and displayed in the window of some shop,generates priceless emotions, as it is also rewarding to see it worn, around the world, by people who have tried it on, chosen it, and then purchased it. Especiallywinter clothes: they protect us from cold, rain, and snow, becoming our companions of travel and adventure, and it’s nice to think, for those who do our same kind of job, that someone trusts us with protecting their own well-being during the cold season. Yet, from design to store window, a certain reality has existed for years, onethat is not represented by the glossy splendour of advertising pages, in magazines and journals – mechanisms that are almost always ambiguous, unclear, and unfair,with which designers must coexist and often collude.
The current fashion system is the victim of a dramatic dispersion of profit among distributors, brands, buyers, suppliers and subcontractors, testimonials andadvertising, so much so that, in order to guarantee a share of profits for these intermediaries, it is necessary to manufacture products in countries that offer flexible labour that is not protected, at very low costs, and with unscrupulous incentive policies, which allow for manufacturing, processing, dyeing, and finishing with the use of huge quantities of chemical aids that are highly toxic for humans, the land, groundwater, and the atmosphere. Luckily, it has been some time now that manyindependent publications and several television programs have been exposing the deplorable behaviour of these manufacturers and their nefarious trade policiesdesigned to make easily available products (clothing, footwear, fashion accessories, and furniture) at competitive and alluring prices.
This helped in preparing and making an increasingly important part of the public more responsible, that part made up of consumers who, therefore, have decided to change their buying habits by preferring companies that can ensure good ethics, sustainability, and product responsibility: an army of critical and knowledgeable consumers who can really bring about changes.
This is the public to which we want to dedicate our Quagga project: no other brand of protective winter clothing has ever paid so much careful attention to environmental sustainability and the ethical responsibility of their products. Moreover, the complexity of the manufacturing process and the use of very different materials (waterproof fabrics for outdoors, inner linings, padding, metal elements, artificial or synthetic fibres for accessories and finishings, supports for labels, andtags), makes it extremely difficult to certify the entire supply chain, as instead occurs in projects for non-complex fair trade clothing, such as T–shirts, shirts, polo shirts, sweatshirts, and various accessories.
This is very difficult, but not impossible, and we have succeeded in it. So much so that our efforts were rewarded with the only certification that the ICEA, theprestigious Institute for Ethical and Environmental Certification, has ever awarded to complex clothing items.