Designer Spotlight: Ivana Basilotta
We first discovered the eco-chic that British-based, eco-sustainable designer Ivana Basilotta creates at the Eco-Chic showcase back in 2010. Since then, she’s been quietly growing her cult following by creating sublime pieces for women of all ages. We caught up with her recently and asked her to answer a few questions about her contemporary, high fashion line and her passion for eco-fashion.
1. What’s your background?
I was born in Germany of Italian parents, and moved to London for my studies. I have been in business since age 12 LOL… this is when I discovered the sewing machine. When I was little, I always wanted to be an actress and dress like an actress would: glamorous and stylish. That was what inspired me to make my own clothes. My mother used to sew as a hobby so I learned some basic sewing skills from her. Then, when I was 13 years old I designed and stitched together my first top at crafts class at school. It was a sleeveless, yellow cotton top, of course it didn’t fit properly but I wore it a lot and I did impress my teacher, I was the only pupil to do so, and I scored the top mark.
2. What came first ‘eco’ or ‘designer’
I always loved beautiful things; in Germany we grow up being very environmentally aware. This is just the way I know it. I love nature and I want to enjoy it in every way. I simply feel a good design is good in every way.
3. How would you describe your aesthetic?
My aesthetic is based on emotional values, I see Beauty as a value, it is something I feel, it is a sense of appreciation, love for craftsmanship, our planet, joy for life, people and growth. As human beings we are genius creators, it is fun to play and create. I find it exhilarating to witness aesthetics of greatness.
4. You were one of the first designers to use peace silk – how did you source / discover it?
By coincidence (or maybe it wasn’t). I wanted to find a material as beautiful as silk but without harming the silk worms. I found out about peace silk whilst in India. As a vegetarian it seemed natural to have made the choice to work with peace-silk (also known as Vegetarian silk). Peace silk is manufactured in a process where silkworms are not killed. The moths emerge from their cocoons to live out their full life cycle. This is the best silk for warmth and therapeutic use; it is rare.
The best way to benefit the environment is to be a vegetarian; it preserves the world resources and this is the simplest thing one can do. I have been a vegetarian most of my life. A lot of vegetarian food, energy and medicine are wasted on farm animals. Whereby it could feed humans directly, there are great benefits in being a vegetarian.
5. What are your favourite fabrics to work with and why?
I always like to discover new environmental friendly fabrics, I pay a great deal of attention to whether they have a luxury feel and drape gracefully on the body. I would never limit myself to only work with few types of fabric, I like newness, even if it means I have to develop them myself.
6. If you could give advice to a young designer, what would you tell them?
Let yourself go, experiment and discover for yourself, this is part of the joyride.
7. Where in the world can consumers find the line?
My website lists stockists worldwide or you can buy online