If you take a peek behind the curtains of the Belgian slow fashion brand Ida & Volta, you’ll see two designers, Laure Persyn and Johanna Adriaens, working hard to go as green as they can. For starters, they use only biodegradable materials, like wool, hemp, organic cotton, linen, lyocell, recycled cashmere, upcycled leather from coats, and hand-woven Peace Silk®. This type of silk owes its name to its special production process, which is peaceful indeed. After all, the silkworms involved are not boiled alive (unlike their unfortunate brothers and sisters that end up in the traditional silk industry) but are allowed to escape through the top of their cocoon, which is gently cut open. Ida & Volta leaves a part of its materials untreated (read: no dyes, bleaches or other chemicals) to further reduce its carbon footprint.
And what’s more: Ida & Volta is able to trace its materials all the way back to their origins. The team can tell you which farmer, and even which animal provided the raw material for what you’re wearing. The brand believes traceability is the best way to ensure that all participants in the production process, both people and animals, get the respect they deserve.
Not only are Persyn and Adriaens’ materials recyclable; the duo also designs for reuse. The tricks they have up their (circular) sleeve include using mono-materials, biodegradable buttons, wrapping systems and cotton yarn (rather than polyester yarn, glue, zippers or other metal parts). Persyn and Adriaens also use second-hand materials whenever possible, such as ‘preloved’ sewing gear and pattern paper.
Ida & Volta keeps its production chain as short and as local as possible, with ‘De Vaartkapoen’ (a sheltered workplace in Brussels), a couple of Portuguese, family-run businesses, and self-employed seamstress Berta Kassal as the key players.
The result? Clothes that are not just sustainable, but also timeless, oversized and a tad androgynous.