Material World

Fast fashion isn’t free; someone, somewhere, is paying.

By Sarah Ann Murray

In the same week that the doyen of fast-fashion and landfill contributor extraordinaire ASOS saw a drop in sales and a sacked CEO, American luxury brand Coach has also stated that it will cease the despicable practice of destroying unwanted merchandise after a video went viral showing an activist uncover hundreds of their bags slashed and thrown out to waste. Sadly, many luxury brands are known to destroy unsold goods as a way to protect desirability, but also for reasons pertaining to tax benefits for unsold items.

But what does this all mean? In the case of Coach’s shamed promise to cease its seek-and-destroy-like activities, this is a positive reaction to consumer pressures to improve their trading practices. For ASOS, the jury is still out as to whether the ‘wear-once and throw away’ trend resumes.

We can thank consumer demand calling for more responsibility from brands for that, but it’s often hard to decipher those paying lip-service to a movement and those genuinely happy to invest profits into ethically-made garments, sustainable processes and fair labour wages. Thankfully, it is consumers taking the lead on this, with shoppers not only pressuring brands to take action, but seeking out sustainable alternatives through local independents to bigger brands with genuine sustainable measures. Big retail fashion, you have been warned, wise up and clean up!

Looking closer to home is the first step towards positive change, so we’re bringing you some local options that provide a glimpse into a future of conscious fashion.

Natura do Mar

It takes a lot of courage to turn inspirations into a business and one that remains true to its values. When Sara Girometti came to Portugal from her home in Rimini, Italy, she decided it was time to finally channel her background in art and her passion for handcrafted designs into something she could share. Her inspirations lie in nature, which you can see in her designs and natural colour palette; however, she creates items that we can use in everyday life: art with a purpose, rooted in nature. 

Sara makes unique handmade pieces to order, from accessories to bags and jewellery, sourcing beautiful natural fabrics and materials. When I asked her what sustainability means to her, she replied, “I believe that each one of us should at least try not to use too much plastic and not to leave paper and plastic on the beaches where we live.” 

You can see Sara’s heart genuinely lies in nature and the footprint we leave behind. I’d put your orders in for Christmas presents now.

Photo © @laura_leone_photography

Treasure Chest Vintage

A true treasure in every sense of the word, the Vintage Boutique isn’t your typical second-hand clothing shop or charity shop. Rather, the store sources and meticulously selects rare, authentic vintage and pre-loved or upcycled high-street pieces. Their vision is simple: they want to find that “one of a kind” garment for each and every customer while “reducing the fashion industry’s impact on our environment” and bring something a little different to the region.

But there is also a serious side to the boutique’s debt to fashion; the Treasure Chest Vintage is set up as a not-for-profit social enterprise whereby they use funds generated to refurbish properties for the elderly and support the local community projects. 

“We not only believe in recycling and upcycling, but we also practice what we stand for by keeping as many items as possible out of waste dumping grounds. We support the principle of the circular economy. We recognise that fashion accounts for major environmental impacts, meaning that we do not support the trend of the ‘buy, wear, and throw away’ mentality found in high-street fashion outlets.” Imagine the possibilities if all fashion houses and businesses thought along the same lines. In the meantime, we’re grateful that some do and so we invite you to try something different. 

By appointment only +351 969 320 231 and soon to be all online:

Shop 9R, Lote 14, Marateca Industrial Area / Zona Industrial da Marateca, Chinicato, Lagos


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