Fashion sans catwalk

Fashion>> Waste • Brazil

Published: Monday 30 November -0001

Students work with textile factory wasteA Brazilian designer has taken fashion from the high pedestal of catwalk to the reality of slums to demonstrate that styles, trends and fads are born in Rio’s poor neighbourhoods.

Almir França works in Mangueira favela, a shantytown of 18,000 people, once overrun by drug trafficking-related violence. “Whatever we wear in favela, a week later someone is wearing it out there,” says Mangueira resident Vanesa de Oliveira who works with França. A different type of braid, a shoe style, a stitching detail on a blouse: all of it ends up in the other side of the world.

França will showcase the work of his 150 students early next year. The students also design furniture. The chairs at França’s studio rescued from garbage dumps, have been revived with fabric remnants recovered from a textile factory.

The goal is to “get into students’ heads that it is possible to recycle, that fashion does not have to be synonymous with consumerism,” he says.

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