HI, MY NAME IS MARTA STAPOR AND HERE IS WHY I CURATE THIS SUSTAINABLE FASHION DATABASE
Tatra Mountains, 2019
According to WWF’s Living Planet Report the health of our planet is in freefall. Wildlife populations have plummeted by 68% since 1970, we lose 10 million hectares of trees every year (96% of these being tropical forests) and freshwater biodiversity is declining faster than any other.
Fashion industry – as it operates now – is shamefully involved in many practices which are recognised by the UN and other international organisations as posing a threat to the sustainable development or even survival of humanity and impacting society, culture, economy and environment. The effect it has on the latter is by far the most pressing issue for me.
Don’t get me wrong – I love fashion. But I also feel an integral part of our planet’s ecosystem and the alarming reports of its degradation affect me deeply. As a small sustainable fashion business owner I had come to a very close look at the industry, gaining a unique experience in this field, including getting to know the ins and outs of retail, production and inner relations between business owners, suppliers and craftsmen. After nine years of an amazing adventure of running my own company I was at a turning point of opening a second brand. It was going to be called The Duchess of Awesome. But a re-evaluation slowly matured in my mind.
I usually do my serious decision making during long walks in the forest. This time was no different and I remember a sudden rain starting to fall when I was reflecting on this. A rain that after weeks of drought was a delight to see. I finally decided to follow my growing need to act upon my environmental concerns. I made a decision to suspend my brand and quit opening a new one in order to give back my knowledge and gain further experience in areas related to fashion sustainability, circular economy and environmental solutions for a more responsible approach to how we choose to consume. I relocated to Berlin, where things get going in terms of making a change and – as a by-product of my intensive education – this Sustainable Fashion Database emerged, under an URL that is for me symbolic of my dream.
My dream is, in a few decades, walking in a robust forest, to read (on my watch, or wherever one reads the news then) that since 2020 biodiversity had stopped declining and we are well on the way to achieving balance again. I know fashion can not only not be a further threat to the planet, but an active force in promoting innovative solutions to improve its welfare. This industry is well-positioned to drive the whole society towards systemic change, with it’s unmatched ability to reflect and influence culture at large. Fashion also attracts talent. There are a lot of extremely gifted and sensitive people in this field who can lead us to new and fascinating opportunities. I believe this vision is still possible to come true.
To be able to achieve this, we undoubtedly need to make changes at a legislative and educational level. But brands also need to work harder at self-regulation, and this is where the potential for change is most interesting, most exciting and requires the highest levels of creativity as well as excellent operational support. I see not only new technologies, but perhaps especially areas where product design intersects with research, analytics and project management – a bit nerdy, I admit – as having endless potential to improve and make better use of those resources at our disposal.
That rainy day in the forest I realised I didn’t want to produce new clothes anymore – however sustainable they were. Instead, I want to put all my efforts and abilities into helping make a positive difference within the industry and improve its sustainability practices. Since that day I have been pursuing this goal.
Undergrowth in Muir Woods National Monument, California (britannica.com)