Designer Behnaz Sarafpour showed a capsule collection of organic pieces at the recent NY Fashion Week. The collection utilizes natural dyes derived from such non-traditional, or shall we say traditional, methods involving insects (cochineal) and sawdust. We met up with Behnaz at her showroom to preview the collection and she was gracious enough to answer a few questions for us. What prompted you to look into ecologically sensitive design for this season?
I was interested in the idea of nature preservation and how we can reduce pollution that is caused by our lifestyle and work.
Can you tell us a little bit about the capsule collection?
The materials, dyes and process? My capsule collection of organic designer pieces is something I am particularly proud of because of its absolute authenticity. It is completely made by hand using only natural and organic materials. Today going green is in many cases used as a marketing strategy by many companies. With this collection we aimed to be very honest and really make the effort to be true to the issue of working in a completely natural way which was quite labor intensive.
Some of the processes seem to have a reverence for the past and tradition. Do you feel that creates a kind of heirloom quality that may give the pieces added value in some way?
To have things that are hand made in a traditional manor is a great luxury in itself. With this collection we are offering women something that is quite one of a kind, as organic materials and colors tend to be unique in nature and do not have the consistency of artificial and chemically made products. We feel that there is a beauty in that very organic element of surprise. The colors and embellishments used in these garments come from ancient cultures all over the world.
When speaking with eco-designers they typically express that the number one challenge in designing with the environment in mind is sourcing. What was your experience?
I definitely agree with that issue. Organic materials are not the norm in the fashion industry. They are more expensive to develop and less consistent in production than man made materials produced with chemicals. For this reason many of our suppliers are weary of getting involved in producing organic materials for us.
Do you hope to expand this collection in coming seasons?
I am planning to continue offering organic pieces with in my collection as much as possible. Are there any steps you’ve taken outside of the actual clothing design to be more ecologically sensitive in your business?
We make a conscious effort to reduce the use of paper in our office and to recycle of course. + Behnaz Sarafpour