Chic Spotlight: Miroslava Duma

This August, Marie Claire Magazine launched its inaugural sustainability issue, which is “an entire magazine dedicated to the environmental causes they care about most.” To commemorate this accomplishment, creative director Nina Garcia did an interview with digital entrepreneur and investor in the world of international fashion, Miroslava Duma, about bringing sustainable innovation to the fashion industry.

Below are our favourite parts that we just had to share with you.

Nina Garcia: I know you’ve been concerned about the environment since childhood. What made you start thinking about this?

Miroslava Duma: I was born in Siberia, which supplies nearly 80 percent of Russia’s oil and natural gas resources, so I’ve always been aware of how big a pollutant that industry is. But it was a huge wake-up call to learn that the fashion industry is the second-largest polluter after oil.

NG: And now you’ve decided to launch Fashion Tech Lab (FTL) to make a difference. Why?


MD: I’ve been following what Elon Musk has done with Tesla in the renewable-energy space and disrupting the automotive industry. I wanted to find a similar way to create change within my industry. FTL bridges fashion and technology to help bring sustainable innovation out of labs, studios, and garages, and into the hands of consumers.

NG: How is technology making sustainability more possible?

MD: There are so many promising things happening. Scientists can create leather out of things like grapes [using the wasted skins and stems from winemaking] and mushrooms [toxin-free and similar in texture to suede]. An initiative called Orange Fiber makes sustainable textiles out of 700,000 tons of citrus by-products discarded in Italy every year. We’re also working with a company that developed a way to grow cruelty-free leather and fur using biotechnology to produce compounds naturally found in animal skin.

NG: Can the industry ever be 100 percent sustainable?

MD: Nothing can be 100 percent sustainable, but every effort makes an impact. I love seeing companies like H&M commit to using 100 percent sustainably sourced materials by 2030 and to offsetting all greenhouse-gas emissions by 2040.

NG: What are the biggest problems we’re facing in the industry—and some of the potential solutions?

MD: More than 21 billion pounds of clothing gets thrown away annually and ends up in landfills. One solution is upcycling— turning discarded scrap fabric into new product. It eliminates textile waste and reduces the use of color dyes and virgin resources. Seventy million pounds of chemical dye is used globally to color the clothes that we wear, which requires massive amounts of water [according to the World Wildlife Fund, jeans and a T-shirt alone can use more than 5,300 gallons!]. Alternative solutions like waterless dyes save water by applying pure dye on its own with no chemical additives.

NG: What will we be talking about a year from now?

MD: Nanotech, robotics, AI, self-driving vehicles, quantum computing, gene sequencing…the fourth industrial revolution is coming!

Fascinating, right?

You can find the full interview on Marie Claire.

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