Fashion Meets the Earth with “Empty Your Wardrobe”
One of Contrabond’s main ideas is that fashion can be sustainable. Caring about your looks doesn’t mean you have to devastate nature. On the contrary – fashion and ecology can complement each other beautifully, as Sofia’s latest fashion quest, ZOVV, recently proved.
Empty Your Wardrobe organizes events that allow fashion addicts to swap clothes and accessories. If you live in Bulgaria’s capital and have a long-standing affair with fashion, then you have certainly heard about them. Empty Your Wardrobe is run by a team of brave female visionaries, who know that we all have beautiful, well-preserved pieces, hanging lonely in our closets. The girls’ solution is to organize events at sexy locations, with cool beats and even cooler cocktails. There, Sofia’s fashion addicts gather together to trade the garments they have fallen out of love with. Dedication to fashion and preserving the planet – the makings of a great relationship.
Don’t Buy – Trade
Trading clothes, instead of throwing them away, is a big, yet simple step towards a more sustainable personal style. Before “fast fashion” garments reach us, they travel a long way. It’s no wonder that the fashion industry is one of the cruelest and least sustainable businesses. In this article, you can learn more about the benefits of having pre-loved clothing. Empty Your Wardrobe combines this idea with the concept of shared economy. Instead of using money, trading our stuff helps us build relationships and find beautiful, unique fashion pieces.
As a result, hundreds of clothes and accessories come together but not all of them find a new human to love them. So, apart from being fashion-aware and environmentally friendly, Empty Your Wardrobe also help society, by donating leftover clothing to those in need. And now, their newest concept is called ZOVV – a fashion collection created from garments that didn’t find a new owner and couldn’t be donated.
ZOVV – A Sustainable Fashion Collection
ZOVV entered Sofia’s trendsetter world through a fashion performance, at Fabrica 126. Since this was the first collection created by the girls from Empty Your Wardrobe, I wasn’t expecting to be that impressed. However, the girls had managed to create an event that was almost physically exhilarating. What they did was to create a fashion collection, inspired by the planet’s beauty and its four elements – earth, fire, air, and water (in Bulgarian, they amount to the abbreviation ZOVV).
This was not just another fashion show, where stone-faced models take a bored walk down the runway. ZOVV was a full-blown performance that included sound, visual effects, a fire show, and the art of movement. The models – trendy and relatable ladies, transformed their bodies into the four elements. With the help of fashion designer Melinda Hubin and dance studio Deja Vu, ZOVV made my skin tingle.
I contacted Petya Vassileva – one of the driving forces behind the project, and the designer Melinda Hubin, to learn more about the performance, as well as what we can expect next from Empty Your Wardrobe.
Contrabond (C.): Could you describe the process that led to the idea of ZOVV?
Petya (P.): With the birth of Empty Your Wardrobe, which was 4-5 years ago, we toyed with the idea of turning pre-loved clothing into something new and interesting. At the time, we didn’t have a clear concept of how it could be done and hadn’t found the right partners yet. Recently, we were looking for a solution to the heaps of clothing left after Empty Your Wardrobe’s events. Some of them couldn’t be donated and so we revisited the concept. In life and in fashion, everything clicks at some point – you just have to find the right moment.
C.: How did you choose which clothes to recycle?
P.: We were driven by the fashion collection’s concept and looked for clothes that matched the four elements. They also had to be well-preserved. We knew what feelings we wanted to evoke with each element and found garments to match that.
C.: How did you design the collection and what did you want to express with it?
Melinda: The clothes were made without preliminary sketches. To design them, we “listened” to the fabrics and did what came naturally. In order to tie them together into a whole story, we used special sewing techniques and added subtle details that the garments have in common.
C.: How long did it take to put together the fashion show?
P.: We discussed it for 3-4 months, almost entirely online. The actual performance was put together in 2 days. The first time we saw Deja Vu’s choreography 2 days before the show, and the entire performance – sound, imagery, lighting, all the models together in makeup, hair, and clothing – we hadn’t witnessed before the actual fashion show. It was quite intense (laughs).
C.: Who are is the ZOVV collection made for?
P.: As we were creating the fashion pieces, we thought about the environmentally-aware, contemporary woman. She is not driven solely by vanity and what is being fed to her through social media and branding. She is the one who takes care of both her inner beauty and her spirit. Our woman loves elegant objects and elegant objects and appreciates the harmony of nature, which is why she wants to contribute to preserving it.
C.: What is the next step for your team and would there be other fashion collections?
P.: Yes, we are planning to have other collections as well – we’d like to become leaders in a movement which is still very new in Bulgaria. There are many young people who combine and create their own fashion pieces, they enjoy original clothing and aren’t embarrassed to shop at second-hand stores. It’s frightening how submissive we’ve become to the marking of large companies. It’s frightening how much we consume in excess. We hoard stuff and lie to ourselves, thinking that having more things would make us happy.
C.: What would you, personally, like to say through ZOVV?
I would like to help preserve the natural beauty of our planet. It’s important that future generations also get to enjoy it. We need to be aware of the consequences that our choices have.
Cover photo credits: Art Studio Allure by Peyo Peev
Do you know about any other fashion brands that combine beauty and sustainability? Tell us about them in the comments below.