On our journey around Brazil we stopped in João Pessoa, the state capital of Paraiba in the NordEste, which is located at the most eastern point of the Americas. Although it is not one of the main destinations for travelers, it is quite a popular spot among Brazilian people. Watching the sunset from the river banks was such a wonderful experience.
There, we heard about the Natural Cotton Color company and decided to meet with Francisca Vieira, the brand owner. We hope you'll enjoy her concept and clothes as much as we do!
"Fast fashion and clothes made in China were growing in Brazil. I wanted to change that. I realised that China didn't have cotton similar to ours, which is produced here in Paraiba and has a redish color. Perhaps they didn't even know that this type of raw material exists.
The origins of the project are ecological (no chemical for dying the clothes) and competitive (local production, good quality)."
WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT THIS COTTON?
"Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) develops this seed which allows to play with colours and shades and saving up to 87,5% of water (when compared to a productive process of a similar textile piece, dyed by the industry — this because there is no irrigation in the cultivation or dyeing in the industrial process) But before I had a problem with this cotton specie, because the fibers were so short that they were impossible to turn into yarns and fabrics in the textile industry.. We had to invest in technologies and research to mix naturally, without genetic modification, the other local cotton species to make them with longer fibers. So now it allows to create both light and heavier type of fabrics. Originally this type of cotton was barely used by the fashion industy. Heavy materials were being used to make things such as hammock. I started to think over and over about how it could be used to make premium clothes."
HOW DO YOU CREATE THE CLOTHES?
Meet Rafael Lemos, Brand Design Consultant
"I never liked working alone and I don't hold an academical degree in design nor fashion. I always co-create the pieces. I come up with an idea and share my vision with profesional designers. Then they make it more clean, more -haute couture- and ensure the products are understood by our consumers. I currently work with Rafael Lemos. We mix all those things together and we try to create a product which can be wear everywhere in the world without altering our DNA."
DESCRIBE YOUR CLOTHES IN A FEW WORDS
SUSTAINABILITY | DESIGN | ELEGANCE
"My clothes are for the people who likes classical design and sustainability yet a chic touch in their wardrobe. The world has awakened for the need to have design in slow fashion. We also want to create clothes for other occasions besides everyday life (wedding, dinners, cocktails...)"
WHO ARE YOUR CLIENTS?
"We have two types of clients: final consumers who buy and wear the clothes, and designers who buy our natural cotton fabrics.
The final consumers are mainly in Brazil, Germany, Japan but also in France as french people buy the luxury pieces. We often showcase our products at fashion events and always test the public acceptance first before we kick off a new collection."
WHO ARE YOUR PARTNERS?
"From the farm to the final product, it is more or less 2 500 people as part of the local prductive arrangement. We buy the cotton directly from the small farmers and we pay the highest price on the market. We also pay the highest prices for artisans and make innovations so that they can produce faster and earn more money.
And we partner with Brazilian institutions that help out with technologies (i.e providing specific machine such as sophisticated looms like Jacquard...)"
HOW DO YOU SEE THE FUTURE?
"We will keep producing narrow collections (more or less 1000 pieces per product). Also we will continue expanding into the digital and e-commerce business. For me, e-commerce is the key. Indeed, if I open a physical store in a city like Rio, everyone in the neigborhood will start dressing and looking the same, I don't want that."