Vida Simple: Clothes for Sustainable Design

The mysterious gigantic sculptures of the Parque de las Esculturas in Providencia framed the second edition of Vida Simple, the fashion event organized by Raíz Diseño, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving people’s lives through sustainable design.

Santiago Chile
Photo by Nicholas Charlesworth

Held on October 17 - 18, the event brought together NGOs and fashion designers and was centered on the theme of how conscious design can contribute to a sustainable environment and the positive impact that eco-friendly clothes can have on the ecology, on recycling practices and on social responsibility.

With the colorful stands from the “Feria de Nuevas Tendencias” nearby, Revolver and a few other lucky individuals were able to enjoy the impressive runway show that, despite the freezing evening breeze, featured mostly spring-summer clothes (along with more than one set of perky nipples thanks to the cold). The designs were all made with natural fibers, neutral tones, ethnic patterns and the predictable patchwork of recycled textiles that can be expected from an event that had "sustainable design" as its leitmotif.

Maria Paz Valdivieso

White was the main color in Maria Paz Valdivieso’s collection “Orden Destructurado” (Distorted Order). According to the designer, her collections value what belong to us as sons of the earth. Thus, the colors of copper and desert sunsets were laid on linen dresses and pants. Unsewn belts in alpaca wool added color to the white cotton pieces and hand-made rustic wool waistcoats dramatized otherwise plain outfits.

Santiago Chile
Collection by Maria Paz Valdivieso. Photos by Nicholas Charlesworth

Andrea Oneto

Neutral earthy tones such as ivory and brown were also prominent in Andrea Oneto’s collection, “Viento Andino” (Andean Wind). Bare-foot models walked the runway wearing shorts paired with fringe shirts, rough wool hats and scarves. Once again, preferred textiles were linen and untreated fibers: a blazer in nubby wool, soft white wool bags and ethnic-patterned scarves.

Santiago Chile
Collection by Andrea Oneto. Photos by Nicholas Charlesworth


DUOC UC presented clothes made with recycled items. Among the creations that raised eyebrows was a mini-dress with a breast-line constructed from the inside of bottle tops and a jacket sewn with a black garbage plastic bag that hid a t-shirt screaming, “Plastic Victim.”

Santiago Chile
Collection by DUOC UC. Photos by Nicholas Charlesworth


Recycled patchworks were also the protagonists of the runway selection by Aiep-Uab (Universidad Andres Bello). The models sported a dress made out of old jeans and a squared 80's shirt, a decoration made with shirt cuffs and an entire dress made out of neckties.

Santiago Chile
Collection by Aiep-Uab. Photos by Nicholas Charlesworth

Bazar la Pasion

The collection by Bazar la Pasion, “Un jardin al sur del mundo” (A garden in the south of the world), focused on coats and jackets featuring hand-made nature-themed paintings and were matched with lines of soft fabric bracelets and necklaces. The piece that spoke about sustainability the most was made with a jute coffee sack.

Santiago Chile
Collection by Bazar la Pasion. Photos by Nicholas Charlesworth

Maria Ines Solimano

Maria Ines Solimano’s dress-centered collection, “Tejer al aire” (Weave at the air), presented variations of the main theme--slightly gauzy crochet dresses with various crochet patterns and short, long and medium sleeves.

Santiago Chile
Collection by Maria Ines Solimano. Photos by Nicholas Charlesworth

Marcelo Senra

Marcelo Senra, one of the Buenos Aires Fashion Week champions, stayed true to his “simple luxury” ideal. While the simplicity came from the cuts and structures of his dresses, luxury shone through thanks to the exquisite fabrics and materials used in his collection, “Espiritu Latino-Americano” (Latin-American Spirit). Boho long dresses sewn in wool, raffia and natural silk, feather necklines and transparent bags were his ace of spades in winning over the audience.

Santiago Chile
Collection by Marcelo Senra. Photos by Nicholas Charlesworth

Paula Gray

The highlight of the event was certainly Argentinean Paula Gray’s collection, “Consciencia Urbana” (Urban Conscience). Paula's creations featured some of the main trends of the season in an eco-friendly version: high-waist belts, waistcoats, 80's padded shoulders and sequin dresses, all produced with 100% natural fabrics or recycled materials. Her production is registered for fair trade and is successfully commercialized in the USA, UK and Mexico.

Santiago Chile
Collection by Paula Gray. Photos by Nicholas Charlesworth

The event was certainly a great opportunity to appraise the state of Latin American sustainable fashion and to appreciate how ethnic designs and fabrics can be used to create trendy clothes. Although some of the outfits that walked the runway were mere exercises in art, it was appreciable to witness how litter could be transformed into objects of fine beauty. The appointment at Parque de la Esculturas is set for next year, but in the meanwhile information on other events by Raíz Diseño and products can be found on their web-page.

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