The rise of sustainable firms is the order of the day, and there are many entrepreneurs who launch themselves to create their own firms designed and created in small local workshops using natural materials that allow them to produce in small quantities, having a stock very low, so as not to create large surpluses and take care of the environment. Although there are many ‘Made in Spain’ fashion brands that allow us to dress in an original and different way, since their designs are basic, classic and timeless, created from prints and of the highest quality, we have also discovered some ‘Made in Spain’ brands. in Spain’ specialized in espadrilles and summer sandals -the footwear par excellence of the summer season-, since they are capable of elevating any looks that we take Therefore, taking advantage of the high temperatures and summer just around the corner, there is a sustainable bathroom firm that produces 100% in his workshop in Bali, betting on a fashion that respect the environment and everything is created from natural products. We talk about Maria Malo, whose designer, who bears the name of the firm, believes in ethical fashion and a change towards a more sustainable world and at peace with nature.
María Malo is a fashion designer who, long before settling in Bali, already had her own firm available in different parts of Spain, Tarifa being the most renowned. And it is that she, like other Spanish fashion designers who have struggled to create a most sustainable fashion brand chords to some ethical valueslike these ‘Made in Spain’ swimwear brands. bad mary proposes timeless fashion, based on quality basic garments that last over time and are in line with ethical values and a commitment to the environment.
Why did you decide to launch your brand?
I felt the need to combine my training in Environmental Sciences with my experience in the textile industry, since at that time I already had 15 years completely dedicated to the design and production and sale of clothing collections in more than 300 points of sale throughout Spain and distributors in various countries in Europe and North America.
My brand gave me the opportunity to unite Environment and Fashion in the same project, thus demonstrating that it is possible to produce while respecting Mother Nature and that a sustainable model is, in addition to being viable, extremely important.
How were the beginnings?
The idea was clear, before starting I had already written down to the last detail about the project. All beginnings require perseverance and determination. When you know what you want and that want is aligned with a constructive and favorable purpose for the common good, it is not luck, it is life that is in charge of offering you the way to reach your goal. You just have to be there to see it, take advantage of opportunities and trust yourself even on those days when it seems that nothing makes sense.
How does the creative process develop?
Since I started this project, I decided to get out of the times that were demanded in the fashion world: campaigns every 3 months, seasonal collections that went on to mega sales to make way for new collections, etc., which create great anxiety both in both consumers and producers and result in mountains of clothing accumulated in landfills, without going into the overexploitation of both natural and human resources, with the resulting contamination.
At Maria Malo we have a single collection that was born 7 years ago and that is growing as we find new sustainable alternatives. The models that work remain, some once exhausted are left to rest and little by little, depending on opportunities and demand, some pieces are added to complete the collection for a 100% sustainable capsule wardrobe.
Why did you bet from the first moment on a 100% local production?
It is much easier for me to control without having to travel all the time and, in addition, I can be present every day and at every step to ensure that our principles are followed.
What is it like working with Bali artisans?
We have our own workshop in Bali and all of us who work here are one big family. Bali is a very magical island, despite the fact that speculation is unfortunately sweeping it away at a scary speed, the Balinese still have, for me, the greatest human quality I have ever known. They are experts in what they do, they are honest, dedicated, friendly and cheerful. They never take anything personally, they don’t get angry, always focused on solutions and with the innocence of a child who wants to keep playing no matter what. There is so much to learn with them.
Why did you decide to move to Indonesia and specifically to Bali?
For the waves, for the climate, for its people, the food, Nature… the quality of life.
You also have, in addition to swimwear, a very minimalist and timeless line of underwear, sportswear, footwear and jewelry. Why did you decide to bet on them? What unites them?
We offer 4 lines. Collection of dresses and pants and shirts produced mainly from TENCEL fibers, bikinis and swimsuits from ECONYL fibers, underwear and yoga clothes with TENCEL MODAL and Bamboo. All the garments are dyed in a 100% Natural circular process with Indigo leaves, mango, mahogany, among others.
The underwear line was created because I wasn’t able to find comfortable and flattering underwear in Bali and I figured a lot of women must be going through the same thing, so we included a line of beautiful basic organic underwear to offer what I she herself was needing.
Regarding footwear and jewelry, we make some pieces occasionally to complete the collections. The truth is that they are currently super sold out, we hope to offer more soon.
Is the process of dyeing a garment naturally very difficult? How long does it take and what does it consist of?
It’s laborious and expensive, plus it’s virtually impossible to get the same color to come out the same twice or to get a completely even tint, which I personally love.
The first thing is to collect the leaf, wash it and process it to prepare the VAT (dye bath). Next, the fabric is prepared, which must be previously washed in hot water with bicarbonate to ensure that there is no other product that could affect the color. Then the fabric is placed in the Vat and hung in the open air protected from direct sunlight so that the oxidative process that will give the color begins. The tone and darkness that you want to obtain will depend on the number of baths and oxidation processes carried out. Each tissue has a color threshold and after this, it doesn’t matter how many more baths you give, the color will not darken any more. Finally, it is washed with a natural color fixer that will depend on the color.
It is important that the consumer is able to appreciate the beauty in the imperfection of the dyes, since organic colors are alive and transform over time. Its intensity varies depending on the washes and the sunlight. Throughout life, the color of the garment will remain alive. Once you enter this marvel you no longer want anything else.
What fabrics do you use when creating the garments?
We use voile, Lycolinen (eco linen) and Modal from TENCEL fibers. Also Bamboo and Econyl, which is a regenerated nylon from ghost fishing nets and pre- or post-consumer plastic waste.
What commitment does the firm have with sustainability?
We only work responsibly, favoring nature and the people involved in the process. We try to achieve a 100% circular process that we take from nature, always giving something back.
We try to be transparent with the intention of educating about sustainability, sending newsletter weekly to all subscribers at www.mariamalo.com
What makes your swimwear line different from other swimwear brands?
I try not to compare myself with other brands, but I think that what makes us special is that our designs are studied to be timeless, that is, they neither depend on trends nor go out of style. They are comfortable, resistant and, above all, they favor all types of bodies.
What future projects do you have?
I am studying possible collaborations, but I must keep it to myself for now until that idea is materialized.
We have just given birth to a very special collaboration with Grupo Azotea in Spain for its new project in Palmar, Cádiz, and another with the Boavida Boutique Hotel on the Island of Rote, in Indonesia. Both have given us the opportunity to develop the uniforms for their entire team and will also offer sustainable clothing to their guests and clients.
It motivates me and makes me happy to see how some companies, large and small, decide to bet on sustainable fashion to dress their workers, giving up cheap clothing at a low economic cost and great aggression against Nature and the people who make it.