“In 2015, after 14 years in the fast fashion world I decided to take a sabbatical year in order to pursue more virtuous projects and take a breather from London. I chose to spend my year in Rio de Janeiro, a city I fell in love with four years previously.
I mainly worked with Modafusion, a not-for-profit association which uses fashion as a tool to educate and empower women on the periphery. More recently, they started Casa Geração, a program to train talented creative youth from favelas (shanty towns) for the professional world and form an incubator where the incredible artistic potential of these students could thrive.
Modafusion celebrates its ten year anniversary this year and is inaugurating a new fashion school and women’s co-op this coming December, continuing its pursuit of integrating, training, and promoting the often ignored talent of Rio’s disadvantaged communities.
Whilst the fashion scene in Rio de Janeiro is small in comparison to London and its bigger neighbour São Paolo; it is exciting, fresh, unique and has a growing sustainability movement. It was an absolute pleasure to work with some brands directly and observe others from afar; admiring the drive of young independent sustainable fashion entrepreneurs, given the overall market for this type of product has not yet caught up with Europe or the USA. Below are my top picks for sustainable brands to watch out for in Rio.”
One of the pioneers of sustainable fashion in Brazil, Movin is a level above the market in terms of eco credentials. B Corp certified and using a variety of innovative fabrics such as recycled PET and organic silk, the cool minimal styling looks and feels more Scandi than Caricoca and is poised for international expansion in the coming season.
Splashed across social media and with a presence in many of Rio’s amazing clothing/food markets, MiG is a denim only brand which is entirely upcycled. The collection is as hot as the beaches of Rio and nails the denim dressing trend which doesn’t seem to be going away. They also impressively aim for zero waste and reuse packaging to ship their orders.
A small sustainable jewellery brand which uses paper to handmake each piece and available only in selected markets. The earrings stand out and make a strong statement despite being light as a feather. The founder is a former student of the project where I worked and has been living in Berlin where she is bound to find new inspiration to influence her Rio brand further.
Not easily found in Rio, Bossa Social offers timeless versatile wardrobe pieces in quality fabrics. Small scale fair trade production, the collection is hand made in Brazil and pieces carry the name of the maker on their label. They also operate a one for one model with a piece of clothing donated in association with Salvation Army Brasil for each piece sold.
With a focus on incredible prints, a real strength of the Carioca fashion market. Ttrappo uses upcycled vintage pieces in their limited piece collections for both men and women. Bursting with colour and very streetwear influenced this collection would feel right at home in London or New York but maintains a strong Brazilian spirit.
“A couple of these brands are included in this piece should you want to discover more.”
Valerie Singer Bio
With close to 15 years in Fashion Retail Merchandising & Buying in Canada and the UK, Valerie is now based in Rio de Janeiro and offers commercial and strategic consulting services to fashion brands and retailers.