A Lagos-based fashion designer is producing zero-waste garments made out of doilies, duvets, sheets and textile waste as raw materials, using environmentally friendly techniques such as smock, embroidery and crochet.
Jéssica António, 28, handmakes fashion pieces in her studio in Praia da Luz. Some with fabrics she buys, others with material she receives from people and a second-hand shop in Lagos, which donates clothing that is too large or cannot be sold.
“Some pieces are 100% zero waste, made using techniques, such as ‘smock’, which is an English technique that I use in many of my pieces”, she says. It is a “very delicate” technique she learned in Denmark, in which a small manual machine with curved needles produces details for parts and accessories.
Using the name J-ANT – the ‘slow fashion’ brand Jessica began developing in 2020 – the designer sells pieces on her website and international platforms. Her clients are mostly foreigners, American or Japanese, or residents in Portugal, such as Brits and Russians, since “it has been difficult, for now, to reach the national market”.
“Most of my customers are foreigners. The Portuguese show interest, but we have to be realistic: they might nothave the money to spend on a piece like this”, notes the designer, defining the style of her creations as “raw” and “relaxed luxury”, in which neutral tones predominate, with a romantic and traditional touch.
Her collection – for which she only uses natural fabrics such as cotton, linen, wool or silk – includes coats, tops and bustiers and, soon, bags made with reused duvets, doilies converted into tops and other pieces made from sheets.
“We also use a lot of men’s suits, which are deconstructed to recreate new pieces”, like the blazer that Carolina Deslandes recently wore