Catalyst’s First Impact Series

by Kaleigh Tirone Nunes

Day 2 — ’Fabric(-ated)’ | Photo by Catarina Inácio

Our mission

Catalyst is an inclusive platform and collaborative space for the sharing of knowledge, resources and experience within the fashion industry towards a sustainable future.

Our mission is for our national (Portuguese) industry to reach a net-zero and even more so a net-positive reality and we believe that by developing an active community of like-minded peers we can catalyse change and improve our chances for success.

What we mean when we say Sustainability

Today ‘sustainability’ is a word used in many ways and with various meanings.

When we — Catalyst — use this word, we mean striving for environmental and social net-zero impact. A reality where the activity developed by any sort of organisation will pursue the lowest possible environmental and social impact at all stages of the supply chain, end-use and end-of-life.

If you’re a Portuguese sustainable fashion maker, scroll until the end of this article — there’s more information especially for you.

Our First Impact Series

On the 6th, 7th and 8th of March 2019 we hosted three round tables and a sustainable textile exhibition, sharing current developments and the current state of the sustainable fashion industry in Portugal.

Day 1 — The first round table ‘Walking the Conscious Runway’ held representatives of five Lisbon fashion labels (NAE, Baseville, Isto, A Outra Face da Lua & Conscious Swimwear) and discussed their different perspectives and efforts towards sustainability & circularity.

Day 2 — In the second round table ‘Fabric(-ated)’ the leaps the Portuguese textile industry is taking in sustainable textile production were presented by Portuguese experts Maria José Carvalho and Paulo Gomes. In parallel to the round table, we hosted an exhibition of sustainable textiles by Tintex.

Day 3 — With the third round table ‘Responsibility and Better Choices’ we gathered a small group of 15 sustainability advocates & enthusiasts for a breakfast session with Fashion Revolution in which we focused on immediate actions we can take towards our common objective.

Round Table II — Fabric(-ated) | Photo by Catarina Inácio

What we learnt

Currently there are various approaches that are being taken by companies towards net-zero, and even net-positive impact. As it is still a challenging endeavour to succeed in from all angles, it is highly effective to focus on one fully implementable approach.

In our First Impact Series we discussed the following approaches:

We also learnt about the various sustainable textiles the Portuguese industry currently has on offer.

Cork-A-Tex (left) & Tea Yarn (right) | Photo by Catarina Inácio

The following are a few mentioned during the event, all part of the initiative iTechStyle Green Circle:

  • Tea Yarn (by Knit Force | CITEVE)
  • Cotton Yarn coated with powder from cork waste (CORK-A-TEX by Sedacor, Penedo & CITEVE)
  • Fabric made from textile industry waste (TENOWA by Riopele)
  • Fabric upcycled from wool waste (Re:born by A Penteadora)
  • Fabric made from ocean waste (SEAQUAL yarn woven by A. Sampaio)
  • Polyester made from 100% recycled bottles (NEWLIFE yarn woven by Lemar)
  • Viscose extracted from the stalk of rosebush (Rose Fiber by Somelos)
  • Natural dyes extracted from peppermint & thyme (Picasso Fabrics by Tintex)
  • Organic and recycled cotton (Denim Fabrics by Troficolor)
Sustainable Textile Exhibition by Tintex | Day 2 — Fabric(-ated) | Photo by Catarina Inácio

It became clear throughout the events that we have the responsibility to truthfully and honestly share our sustainable efforts to avoid greenwashing and customer confusion, educate our customers on how to shop consciously and support our peers to increase our chances for success.

Catalyst’s Next Steps

With Catalyst we aim to create a space where:

  • Collaborations & peer support can emerge;
  • Facilitate opportunities for national & international visibility of the members of our community;
  • Organise training/workshops with experts focused on areas that we as a group identify as weaknesses;
  • Strengthen and share our ties with the textile industry in Portugal;
  • Develop an online platform & guide that makes accessible all the relevant information about resources, products and processes contributing to net-zero and net-positive impact in the sustainable fashion industry in Portugal.

All our initiatives are in collaboration with members of our growing community.

Day 1 — ‘Walking the Conscious Runway’ | Photo by Catarina Inácio

Join us

In this initial phase we are meeting all founders of sustainable fashion labels based in Lisbon to learn about their journey, mission, expertise, challenges, availability for collaboration & peer support and needs.

If you run a sustainable fashion label, please contact us at hello@fashioncatalyst.org, we would love to meet you and involve you in our journey.

If you run a fashion label and have been planning to implement sustainable measures, please get in touch at hello@fashioncatalyst.org, we’re here to support you in making this transition easier, faster and more effective.

During the upcoming months we will curate events for the community to participate/connect and as soon as we have met all founders we are planning on hosting an event solely focused on raising the level of engagement within community.

Sign up to our newsletter to stay updated with our upcoming ‘Decoding Sustainability’ articles and to keep in touch with our events and next steps.

We are really looking forward to meeting and collaborating with you!
Day 2 — ’Fabric(-ated)’ | Photo by Catarina Inácio

Thank you

We would like to thank everyone that participated in our First Impact Series for your insightful questions and contributions!

Thank you Ana Costa (Baseville), Paula Perez (NAE Vegan Shoes), Pedro Palha (ISTO), Carla Belchior (A Outra Face da Lua), Joana Silva (Conscious Swimwear), Teresa Carvalheira (Fashion Revolution Portugal, Maria José Carvalho (CITEVE) and Paulo Gomes (Manifesto Moda) for sharing your inspiring journeys and knowledge with us.

Thank you Second Home for hosting our First Impact Series and thank you to Fair Bazaar, Tintex, Fashion Revolution, Margarida Rodrigues — Revrie, Ana Varela, Bruno Pereira (Lobo), Catarina Gomes, Joanna Vieira & Catarina Inácio for your amazing support and contributions.

Research Material

If you’re keen to dive deeper into the topic of sustainability in fashion, here is a list of valuable research material:

The Natural Step by Karl-Henrik Robert (book)

Cradle to Cradle by Michael Braungart and Willam McDonough (book)

The Upcycle by Willam McDonough and Michael Braungart (book)

The Ellen McArthur Foundation (online resources)

Circular Design Guide (online resources)

The State of Fashion 2018 (online resource)

The State of Fashion 2019 (online resource)

CFDA Sustainability Resources (online resources)

Wardrobe Crisis (Podcast)