Sustainability is the New Black


This post is very special to me! I am so proud to be able to collaborate with a High Fashion Designer from Puerto Rico on a truly beautiful project initiated by students of my Master's Alma Mater. As I shared in my post on my Ted Talk 2 years ago, I studied a Master of Sciences in Natural Resource Conservation & Management at the Ana G. Mendez System's, Metropolitan University. I knew I wanted to eventually unite my passion for fashion with sustainable practices, but I didn't really know what that would look like. Flash forward and by the power of the Universe I was aligned with Bea Rodriguez Suarez, a prominent fashion designer out of Puerto Rico. She's been in the game for over 18 years and has presented collections at New York Fashion Week, Barcelona, Vancouver, and Cannes. With an established career and atelier in the fabulous Miramar neighborhood in San Juan, PR, Bea is currently teaching Fashion Design at the International School of Design of the University of Turabo, also part of the Ana G. Mendez System. Somehow the Universe brought us together and I am so happy, because I had been looking for continuous ways to support the island where I was raised and support the local fashion community while still keeping true to my love for the environment. Her recent project with her students, she had them present their Thesis based on sustainability, circularity, ethics, and local innovation.

Eight Fashion Design Thesis presentations had been worked on since August 2017, and as they went through the Hurricane Maria  crisis from September to December, having all kinds of burdens and difficulties their way, they still managed to accomplish their investigation. Truly admirable work ethic and passion was displayed on behalf of these incredibly talented students! From proposing an upcycled thread based off discarded jeans to high end embroidery training for local artisans and even a fashion truck park proposal to assist local shop owners who were affected by the natural disaster, these thesis presentations were beyond their time and have a true passion to elevate the Puertorican economy with their vision. I personally sat in the Hilo a Hilo presentation by Ambar Garcia via Facebook Live, and was absolutely blown away! She proposes to recycle worn out denim by extracting the cotton fibers and carding/spinning new upcycled threads. Her product is called “Hilo a Hilo” and her clients would be able to knit their creations with those threads. She plans to diversify by creating her original weaving patterns and make new super cool textiles for sale as well. The t-shirt I'm wearing in this post was designed by Ambar, and even though the jeans aren't upcycled, I'm wearing the OLDEST pair of jeans I own. Years ago, I almost threw them out, but for whatever reason, I decided to keep them, and after 14 years, somehow I still fit in them! I know that when the time comes, they will be too worn out to wear and now that I know that turning them into new thread is an option, this is a total game changer. 

I am so excited to be able to work with this incredible group of talented women from Puerto Rico and will continue to support them in any way I can. Stay tuned for more on their projects, because I have every intention of continuing to share them with you and hopefully you guys are able to discover and support these amazing fashion innovators from the beautiful island of Puerto Rico!


Esta entrada es muy especial para mi! Estoy muy orgullosa de tener la oportunidad de colaborar con una diseñadora de Alta Moda de Puerto Rico en un hermoso proyecto iniciado por estudiantes de mi Alma Mater de maestría. Les había mencionado en mi entrada sobre mi Ted Talk hace 2 años, que estudié una Maestría en Ciencias en Conservación y Manejo de Recursos Naturales en la Universidad Metropolitana de Sistema Ana G. Méndez. Siempre supe que eventualmente iba a unir mi pasión por la moda con prácticas sustentables, pero no tenía idea de cómo lo iba a lograr. Gracias al Universo, me alineé con la diseñadora de modas, Bea Rodríguez Suárez. Con más de 18 años de experiencia y múltiples presentaciones en New York Fashion Week, Barcelona, Vancouver y hasta Cannes y una atelier en Miramar, Puerto Rico, hoy día Bea también es profesora de Diseño de Modas en la Escuela Internacional de Diseño en la Universidad del Turabo, también parte del Sistema Ana G. Mendez. De alguna manera, el Universo nos unió y estoy tan contenta porque he estado en búsqueda de diferentes maneras de apoyar a la comunidad de la moda en la Isla, aunque ya no resida allí. En este proyecto con sus estudiantes, para sus presentaciones de tesina el enfoque era sustentabilidad, circularidad, ética e innovación local.

Ocho presentaciones de tesina en Diseño de Modas fueron trabajadas desde agosto de 2017, y mientras se pasaba la crísis del Huracán Maria entre septiembre y diciembre, pasando obstáculos aún así lograron culminar sus investigaciones. Esta muestra de pasión y perseverancia de parte de estos increíbles talentos es verdaderamente digna de admiración. Proyectos desde convertir mahones descartados en hilos nuevos, propuestas de adiestramientos a artesanxs locales en bordados de alta costura, hasta propuestas para un lote de "Fashion trucks" para ayudar a comerciantes locales quienes fueron afectados por el desastre natural, mostraron una gran pasión por elevar a la economía puertorriqueña con su visión. Yo tuve el honor de estar presente en una de las presentaciones a través de Facebook Live y quedé impresionada de sobremanera! El proyecto de Ambar García se llama Hilo a Hilo y propone la construcción de hilos con deshechos textiles en Puerto Rico. Según la revista Indice, 400 millones de libras de textiles son descartados en Puerto Rico nada más y sólo el 15% son reciclados. Estas estadísticas inspiraron a Ambar a proponer un sistema de reciclaje de textiles efectivo a través de la creación de un filamento de mahones reciclados. Aparte de su proyecto que distribuye hilos nuevos, Ambar también piensa crear sus patrones originales y textiles divertidos para la venta. La camisa que llevo puesta fue diseñada por ella y aunque mis mahones no son reciclados, sí son los mahones MAS VIEJOS que tengo. Llevan 14 años conmigo, y aunque hace tiempo los iba a botar algo me dijo que no lo hiciera. Los encontré escondidos en mi closet y no puedo creer que todavía me sirvan! Yo sé que algún día van a estar demasiado desgastados para usar y ahora que sé que se pueden utilizar para una nueva creación me siento mucho mejor.

Estoy súper contenta de poder trabajar con este grupo de mujeres talentosas de Puerto Rico y de continuar apoyándolas de cualquier manera en que yo pueda. Manténganse al tanto de sus proyectos porque tengo toda la intención de continuar compartiéndolos con la meta de que ustedes también las puedan apoyar!




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Comments

  1. I love the idea of upcycled threads from worn out denim. It never occurred to me that you could do that! What an amazing way to incorporate sustainability in fashion. You look great in these photos, too! I also have an ancient pair of jeans that look very similar to those - all holes and rips. But I can't part with them. They are just so soft and worn in. Great post!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Erin! I never even thought that it was possible to break the jeans apart and give the material new life by turning it into new thread! Gotta love those worn in jeans, though!

      Much love!
      Jeanelly

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  2. I love this Jeanelly! It is a great idea for a great reason and the message on the tee is perfect. Happy to see you doing this!

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    1. Thank you, Pam! I've been wanting to work on a project like this for a while and it's even better if it helps the local economy of my hometown.
      Hugs!
      Jeanelly

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  3. I have been educating myself about sustainability and brands that follow it. This is such a great idea.

    ❥ tanvii.com

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  4. I admire you for following your passion and sharing it so well. Combining sustainability with fashion is something we can all feel good about. That's also amazing that your jeans from 14 years ago still fit...something I can definitely not claim!

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  5. That is so awesome that many local artisans and designers are recycling worn out-denim and making new, creative designs out of them, instead of throwing the denim away. I love the idea of recycling and constantly creating new things out of old, not only to save the earth, but to encourage even more creativity as well!

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