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Old 04-14-2012, 04:33 PM   #1
JoniF
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Default Interview with Bruno Pieters on 100% Transparency - 10 April 2012

"100% Transparency": Designer Bruno Pieters on His Mission to Create Organic, Sustainable, Ethical Clothing

by Ann Binlot
Published: April 10, 2012


Would consumers buy the clothes they wear if they knew exactly where they came from? Sweatshop labor, use of toxic materials, animal cruelty, and startling carbon footprints are just a few of the unethical practices taking place within the fashion industry. Following a stint as creative director of Hugo by Hugo Boss, Belgian designer Bruno Pieters took a two-year sabbatical and travelled to India. There, he saw a sign with the Gandhi quote, ďBe the change you want to see in the world.Ē

The words inspired Pieters to start a revolution in the fashion world with Honest by, what he considers to be the worldís first 100 percent transparent fashion company. The products are currently only available at honestby.com, and each item description offers a precise breakdown of exactly where the garment comes from. Prospective buyers can see just how many people worked on each piece from conception to production, the time spent creating it, its carbon footprint, its cost, and the provenance and sustainability of all materials used.

Each garment is produced in limited editions, and the brand doesnít adhere to the regular spring/summer and fall/winter production schedules of the fashion industry. In addition to Pieters, Honest by will have rotating designers. Calla, whose collection debuted on April 5, was the first to join the fold.

Rather than following the unwritten rules of the fashion world, the company seeks to make consumers aware of the choices they are making. ARTINFO interviewed Pieters by email to learn more about Honest by, sustainable clothing production, and why he got tired of making cocktail dresses and high heels.

What practices frustrated you in the fashion industry before you started Honest by?

There was nothing that frustrated me. I love fashion, I believe there is no right or wrong in the world, only choices made. Of course every one of those choices has consequences. Itís up to each and everyone one of us to decide if we want to be responsible for those consequences.

Why did you feel the need to create Honest by?

Honest by is something I wanted as a customer. I love life and respect it, and when I shop I want to be sure that I donít buy anything that caused harm to anyone or anything. And to have that certainty, I think one needs 100 percent transparency. At the same time I think transparency has always been essential to luxury. Because we donít just buy a product, we buy the story and the know-how. Itís a guarantee of quality. Heritage and reputation are synonyms for the word ďpastĒ to me. I like to know what the brand Iím buying is doing now.

How did you discover the eco-friendly, sustainable materials you use?

We did one year of research to find sustainable luxury fabrics. It wasnít always easy because the suppliers we used to work with didnít work with organic materials. Also there are a lot of fabrics and supplies out there that are labeled ďorganicĒ but they arenít Ė the laws vary from country to country. In the end we decided to work with certified fabrics. The best we found is called GOTS. Suppliers with a GOTS certificate work, in our opinion, in the most sustainable way.

Tell me about the clothes.

The collection I designed for Honest by is both for men and women, winter and summer. I describe them as ďNeo-classic hybrids.Ē I think I was tired of doing cocktail dresses with high heels. I think itís a very old idea of luxury. The look I wanted to show now is more casual and spontaneous.

Why do you think it is important that consumers know where their clothes are coming from?

I don't know if itís important, I just wanted to give everyone the opportunity to be aware of what they are buying. If you donít want to think about these things, thatís fine with me, but in case you do, all the information is available on our Web site. We want to give our customers the best service possible.

You are the founder, curator, designer, and CEO. How do you balance wearing so many hats?

I have never worked so hard in my entire life, but somehow itís more fun than ever before.

Is it a lot more time consuming to break down every aspect and cost of production for the consumer?

Yes, it demands a lot of preparation and research. Iím creating a world I want to live in, so itís worth the effort. I love John Lennonís song ďImagine,Ē when he says, ďYou may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one...Ē I truly believe that Iím not the only one who wants to live in that world.

What are the challenges in producing garments that are transparent and sustainable?

Producing a garment is always challenging. To do it in a transparent and sustainable way is just much more rewarding to me and maybe even easier because we have nothing to hide. What takes more time is the research, thatís all.

Can you give us a hint about upcoming designers who are going to create for Honest by?

We have a new guest designer every three months planned for 2012. In between, weíll also do other collaborations. Weíve just launched Honest by Calla this month. I love Calla because her work is so fresh and innovative Ė I think she was the perfect choice to launch our collaborations.
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Old 04-14-2012, 07:34 PM   #2
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Thanks! This is good to know about. Excited to see who else he'll get involved with this. Currently only his stuff is up on the site, with a very few pieces by Calla: women's / men's / lookbook

The below shirt is pure sex.







Couldn't resist the last one.
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Old 04-15-2012, 06:05 AM   #3
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Transparency and organic clothing is not really an effective method of making your label a sustainable one. I don't think it's necessarily fair to throw around a word like "disingenuous" but I don't think the current production model can ever be made very sustainable - not while we're building big bolts of fabric only to scrap 30% of it as total waste.

The future is going to be in additive production processes like knitting or 3D printing. When the technology finally arrives you can let all your friends know that someone on the internet told you this before it was a big thing.
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Old 04-15-2012, 07:12 AM   #4
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What a lame interview. I expected so much more.
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Old 04-17-2012, 12:41 AM   #5
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The concept is really awesome, I would love to see more designers adopt this. It also wouldn't hurt for those of us who might want to source some similar materials to those of our favorite designers...
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