Juan Pablo Martinez had been working with Artesanías de Colombia, running workshops on design with local artisans, and this led to getting the chance to meet women who do incredible work knitting. Here is his story: One of the women took me to a neighborhood in Bogotá where they sell cheap fabrics and also dead stock and end-of-roll fabrics. I was in awe, it’s been there for decades but I never knew it existed. Not the place I would go looking for fabrics in my past life. Colombia had a strong tradition making wool fabrics, flannels and tweeds, but the 5 major factories had to close in recent years due to foreign competition especially from China, and well, they didn’t invest in innovation. I can still find some existing rolls left over, the last ever made in Colombia. Very soon I won´t be able to find them anymore. Although they are not eco in itself, they are a clear evidence of what can happen to factories and employees when there is no product innovation and there is an unfair competition from other countries. I´m still working with a recycled cotton and PET fabric, as it is still the only fabric 100% eco made in Colombia. Zero waste, this is the most challenging issue for me as a designer, as I have to rethink how the garments are constructed. I take zero waste as using the whole width of the fabric, draping it over the mannequin, sometimes cutting into identical rectangles for a better shape. It seems like a lot of ideas for a small collection, but it´s just the drive and the need to push forward that I have as a fashion designer.
Learn more about Juan Pablo Martinez and his designs.