Marlene Oliveira creating a unique concept: eco-vegan clothing
Portuguese designer Marlene Oliveira has always had difficulties in separating her professional life from her personal life. “It is all connected,” says Oliveira. “I always tried to live the most natural, healthy and ecological lifestyle. That led me to becoming a vegetarian for 9 years now and doing yoga for 5. I’ve always loved art, to design, to create… and so I managed to gather all my world, creating an ecological clothing brand.”
Fashion designer and proprietor of “Tecidos Ecologicos,” claims that the mission of her work is to ‘change consciences’ by selling eco-friendly fashions online and providing support to other ecologically minded designers. No small feat in today’s economy, which mandates that a fashion designer be ever conscious of the cost of doing business.
The Portuguese fashion designer started her own line as a way to express her design aesthetic in an environmentally conscious manner, and through her example and assistance, inspire other designers living in Portugal to adopt these practices as well. When Oliveira began her brand she realized that options for eco-friendly materials were somewhat sparse in Portugal, and many other Portuguese designers were interested in utilizing ecological materials for their art.
The designer then took it upon herself to create Tecidos Ecologicos as a resource for designers who want to purchase more ecological fabrics and supplies, as well as an online resource for earth-conscious shoppers. In her line, Oliveira ”gives preference to suppliers that guarantee fair trade,” and all of her pieces are completely vegan. Despite the difficulties of locating and working with these types of materials, Oliveira believes in the intrinsic value of pieces crafted with a consciousness of people, animals, and the earth.
She seeks out fair-trade suppliers of fabric for her designs, a quest which can be daunting considering the cost of importing these materials. Oliveira, however, is not willing to compromise her vision for cheaper materials that are detrimental to the environment. If you visit the Tecidos Ecologicos website (only in Portuguese), Oliveira offers access to a wide range of familiar fabrics and notions that are all eco-friendly. Buyers can purchase everything from organic cotton to satins and more, and feel secure in knowing that there were no harmful chemicals or toxic dyes used to create them. There is a surprisingly broad and varied range of patterns and textures available on the site as well.
“I love creating…but I would never put creation ahead of my personal values,” says the designer. On the contrary, she gathers stimulation from the materials themselves, creating pieces inspired by the biological nature of her materials and the potential impact of her mission. Her “garments are more than pieces to wear;” they are a tangible expression of the designer’s and the wearer’s commitment to ecologically friendly fashion.
Through her designs and efforts, Marlene Oliveira hopes to encourage shoppers to think more proactively about how they can contribute to the growing consciousness of eco-friendly fashions.