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How fashion tries to be sustainable by giving a second life to deadstocks

  • April 23, 2024

At the Nona Source showroom in northern Paris, designers pick through luxurious textiles with ornate names: curly alpaca, geometrical macrame guipure, silk diamond cloque Jacquard.

What makes them really exotic, however, is that they all come from “deadstocks” – the leftovers designers discard when they have finished with a roll of fabric.

Until recently, it was common for deadstocks – like unsold clothes – to be burned or buried. At best, they gathered dust in storerooms.

Ever conscious of its image, luxury giant LVMH set up Nona Source three years ago, selling deadstocks at a sizeable discount to up-and-coming designers.

“I realised there were what we call ‘sleeping beauties’ in the depots, magnificent fabrics that were lying there for years after collections were made,” said co-founder Romain Brabo.

Last year, it sold some 280 kilometres (170 miles) of fabric, enough for roughly 140,000 items of clothing.

Among the regular customers is Arturo Obegero, a 30-year-old Spanish designer who uses only upcycled and recycled materials.

Despite working out of a small space in his house, he has scored some big-name orders including a sheer corset dress for Beyonce on her Renaissance tour – a sign of his skill and the increasing attraction of climate-conscious design.

“I come from a family of surfers, of fishermen. When you come from a small town, you’re connected to nature, you learn to respect it,” said Obegero.

He says Nona Source has allowed him to work in the big leagues.

“People are more conscious about which products they purchase… but it can be complicated to offer something really sustainable at an affordable price.”

Read more: Is climate change forcing fashion to adapt and become less seasonal?

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