With bold colors and adventurous silhouettes, Buenos Aires-based Romina Cardillo of Nous Etudions lights the way for a more sustainable fashion future.
Over the past five or so years, having a sustainable angle to one’s fashion label has become a cost of doing business. Gone are the days when a household name brand that shall remain nameless could get away with, say, burning excess stock to avoid it falling into what they deemed “the wrong hands.” For a younger generation of talents, the sustainable way is the only way. Among those blazing a trail is Buenos Aires-based Romina Cardillo of Nous Etudions. A vegan label that eschews unethical consumption, Nous Etudions collections are future-oriented not only in terms of the materials used but in the clean, vaguely surrealists silhouettes in covetable colors that keep Cardillo’s nearly seventy thousand Instagram followers clamoring for more. We recently caught up with Cardillo to gain a better insight into what fuels her, both creatively and ethically in this brave new fashion world:
When you decided to pursue a career in fashion, did you know from the beginning that sustainability would be one of the cornerstones of your business?
Yes, because I carry my philosophy for life to my work. My being a vegan was a tremendous influence on my approach to creating this business.
Since you started your business, how has the industry’s conversation about sustainability changed?
It’s changed so much! Previously, among designers dedicated to sustainability, it was rare to find designs and materials of high quality. Today choosing a more sustainable approach is no longer seen as a tradeoff but a positive approach that often separates one’s wares from the pack.
For many established designers and major brands, the concept of sustainability is difficult to understand. They want to do better but do not know where to start. What advice would you give them?
It’s better, to be honest with yourself and what your existing business model will allow. Start with what seems more comfortable, even something as small as recycling your packaging and cutting out plastic wraps for garments.
For the consumer who wants to adopt a more sustainable approach to fashion, in terms of what they buy and use, what tips can you offer?
There’s a wealth of information available (for example, the denim manufacturing process is one of the industry’s biggest polluters). Stay informed and don’t be afraid to ask questions before making a purchase.
When and why did you decide you wanted to be a fashion designer? Is it hard to see your work when it is not located in a traditional “fashion capital”?
I went into this business because I wanted to promote a positive message and felt I had a lot to say. A designer is a communicator of ideas and problems and as such have a responsibility. As far as being in Buenos Aires, it’s not at all been a problem thanks to social media and the support of people such as Sara Maino, the deputy editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia and head of Vogue Talents.
Argentina is well known for leather products. Has it been difficult to convince consumers of the merits of vegan leather?
Absolutely, but little by little that is changing. Fortunately, good design is able to trump any deep-seated prejudices about materials