Interview with Adèle Logan Helmers Interview with Adèle Logan Helmers
The designer and founder Adèle Logan Helmers wants to make the world a better place with her label BYADÈLE. Her garments are sustainable and have a direct link to the artisans from the Philippines, Afghanistan and India. In an interview, the designer tells us about her career, the future of sustainability and why Berlin is an inspiring location for her.
What was your biggest motivation to start your own label?
I was working in Morocco prior to moving to Berlin and was working with women who had been weaving carpets for generations. There was an ah-ha moment seeing hands of the makers transform wool into a carpet that I would see on the floors of high-end hotels and it was truly this moment where when you can see an item from its origin you can appreciate its full value and all of the steps it has taken to get to you. We often live in a world that is so dissociated from its origin and the humanness behind the pieces. The brand developed as a way to connect the buyers of the clothing with the creators of the process of making cloth and clothing. Once that connection is made we have more meaningful purchases and connections to our wardrobe.
How would you describe your style?
I would say it's ethereal and ephemeral in nature. I tend towards loose and wafty clothing, light colors, and tend towards sheers and silks. I also always love a vintage blouse, many thanks to my grandmother for always having a fantastic sense of style that I have slowly incorporated into my own wardrobe.
What are the logistical and financial challenges you are facing to act sustainably - especially since most of the fashion world does not do so?
When I look at sustainability, I'm not quite looking at it the same way a big fashion company would. Because this has been built into the fiber of the company I've been able to really start from the ground up when it comes to sustainability practices with BYADÈLE. Lots of brands think about circularity and end of use in terms of recycling and reprocessing synthetic fibers which, and don't get me wrong, is great, but there is so much more to be done. At BYADÈLE I am trying to approach each of these items holistically by incorporating natural fibers, and handweavers into the supply chain. Creating biodiversity within our production ecosystems, female employment, and keeping craft culture alive has been key to the making and development of the brand.
What inspires you in your daily work?
Shining the light on the stories behind the clothing you wear. Because I am so connected to every aspect of the brand from traveling to meet the people that are weaving and sourcing the fabrics myself it's been really exciting to see this project grow. Literally from the pants into fibers that are woven and from an idea that is now an online shop.
I would also add that sunlight dappling through trees and leaves has given me a lot of inspiration, the hidden layers that are represented as shadows.
Why did you choose Berlin as your work location?
I fell in love with the creative expression of Berlin. It was a place where I could see myself making and exploring which was really important to me when I arrived here three years ago. Since then I think the city really grows with you and I am very happy here.
Do you believe that the Corona crisis will lead to a rethink in the fast fashion segment?
Yes, I think it must because we can no longer not take responsibility for the people that work within our supply chains. It is foundational to the development of a more globalized society that we produce and develop in good consciousness and support individuals with health insurance, workers' rights, fair labor, and fair pay. I think through the wake of the global pandemic and the movements that have come as a result we are more aware of the human implication of our actions. We can not condone slave labor in our supply chains if we do not condone it in our countries. It has also helped move so much of the industry online from showrooms to fashion shows, and through this process, we will find a sweet spot to make fashion more accessible and a lower carbon footprint.
What would you wish for in terms of sustainability for the future?
Wow, what a question. I wish we could live in a world where plastic was illegal. We have grown into creatures of convenience, myself included, but we need to push ourselves out of our comfort zone in order to create change. I also hope we can find more small circuits for sustainable production, local manufacturing, and connecting to makers that produce crafts.
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