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After watching The True Cost and deciding that I no longer wanted to feature clothing brands that weren't sustainable or cruelty-free, I have been searching around for local Chicago designers to interview and feature on my blog.
My series, "Sustainable in Chicago" will feature local Chicago designers that create sustainable clothing. I hope that you all will not only appreciate local fashion but these interviews will also encourage you to shop sustainable fashion.
The first designer I had the privilege of talking to was Leandro Mulet, Chicago-based based fashion designer. I asked him about his fashion inspiration, guilty pleasures, and his mindset behind designing sustainable.
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BWAB: "What would you say your design aesthetic is?"
LEANDRO: "I like to describe my designs as ready-to-wear with a touch of couture. My designs are different from everyone else; avant-garde and ready-to-wear. I like to pay attention to details and make my pieces look outstanding."
"... my designs are different from everyone else; avant-garde and ready-to-wear."
BWAB: "Where do you get the inspiration from to design in such a way?"
LEANDRO: "I get inspiration from everywhere, you just never know where inspiration is going to strike you."
BWAB: "That's so true. As Chanel said, 'Fashion is in the air and in the streets'. What would you say is your favorite collection you have designed so far?"
LEANDRO: "Haha! How can you pick your favorite? It's challenging. You fall in love with each collection you on in a different way. It's impossible to pick."
BWAB: "I can imagine! Do you consider your designs sustainable fashion?"
LEANDRO: "Yes, my designs are sustainable. I recycle a lot of fabric and pieces. For example, I try to reuse as much fabric as possible and I try to keep it in a sustainable way. I don't go out of my way to use pieces such as leather, I want to use pieces that are recycled and then use them in a healthy way."
"I don't go out of my way to use pieces such as leather, i want to use pieces that are recycled..."
BWAB: "I completely agree. It's awesome to see designers starting to incorporate sustainability into their fashion. So, why did you choose to locate in Chicago versus New York?"
LEANDRO: "I think Chicago is a good platform at this moment to make a stand in fashion. Chicago has been trying so hard to become one of the major fashion capitals. Chicago has completely different demographics than what fashion stands for. With that being said, I'm trying to bring more sustainable fashion into the industry. Instead of buying overseas, I try to buy locally to make an impactful difference."
BWAB: "That's such a good point. I can't wait for the day where Chicago will be known for fashion. So, when did you know you wanted to be a designer?"
"...I'm trying to bring more sustainable fashion into the industry... i try to buy locally to make an impactful difference."
LEANDRO: "I always knew that I wanted to be a designer. I've loved working with fabrics since I was 10. I would practice on my Grandma's pedal sewing machine. So, pretty much my entire life I knew that designing clothing was what I wanted to do."
BWAB: "It seems like designing has been a lifelong dream of yours. Who would you say your favorite designer was growing up, or currently?"
LEANDRO: "Alexander McQueen. HIs impact on the fashion industry nowadays is just incredible. Especially when it's hard to make a difference in this industry. His impact in the 21st century has a lot to do with his extreme point of view."
BWAB: "McQueen is also one of my favorites. His designs were out-of-this-world unique and abstract. But for those fashion lovers who want to get into the fashion industry, what is some advice that you have for them?"
"try to make a difference and be unique. find your dream and find your outlet."
LEANDRO: "I would have to say that dreams are pointless unless you work hard. Make sure you follow your passion and do your research. Try to make a difference and be unique. Find your dream and find your outlet. You can accomplish anything with motivation and perseverance."
- Interview with director Leandro Mulet, Conducted by Amanda Kaplan (BWAB)