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García Bello: “Each piece of donated clothing has a story to tell”

By Cynthia Ijelman

Oct 8, 2020


Buenos Aires / Arnhem - After winning first prize in the sustainable fashion competition Redress Design 2020, Juliana García Bello became the centre of attention in Argentina’s fashion industry. Originally from Río Grande, Tierra del Fuego, she chose the city of Arnhem in the Netherlands to settle and continue developing her brand using zero-waste techniques.

FashionUnited had the opportunity to talk to García Bello about her work in Europe, her company, brand and projects.

Why do you live in Arnhem?

I wanted to experience something different and I am quite open-minded when it comes to moving abroad. I wanted to discover another culture so my partner and I considered various possibilities before we decided to travel to Europe because, at 31 years old, we believed we were ready to face this kind of change.

We chose Arnhem because ArtEZ University has a division here and it specialises in fashion and art. I want to take a master’s degree course and I also like cities with a university feel about them because they seem to be full of new energy.

Last year we went to Fashion Clash where I received a hearty welcome and started to make friends, which might have influenced my decision to stay here for a while.

Did the people from Arnhem have a lot to do with your collection that won the Redress Award 2020? Tell us a bit about the process.

When I arrived I only knew one other colleague. During the first days of the pandemic I started to see neighbours leaving posters at supermarkets with different messages and putting letters under the door. So I decided that a good way to get to know people might be through a poster and as I don’t speak Dutch, I thought that meeting place would be interesting. I put a poster on the door of my house asking for used clothing for my project and then I put a load of flyers under doors. I also put a large one in the supermarket and in a few other places in the neighbourhood. Soon after, donations started appearing from all the neighbours. It’s lovely because each piece of clothing they donated is not just fabric but has a story to tell and a face as I started to get to know the people who gave me them.

Did the Redress Design Award enable you to create a capsule with The R collective brand? How is that project doing?

It’s going to be a 10-piece capsule that we are going to develop together in 3 months. I have to travel to Hong Kong and London to visit the factory, but I’m still not sure when due to the pandemic.

How do you market your brand?

I sell my collections in stores all over the world: USA, Germany and Japan, as well as my online store. I’m going to launch a new marketing plan soon. I think the pandemic has instilled confidence in designers; so before the end of the year, I’m going to participate in several Dutch art, craft and design fairs because I think it’s a good way to get to know the place where I am living better. Besides, as I usually work with wholesalers, I find it difficult to understand what type of people buy my clothes and how my products circulate, so I think that being on the street more helps me to get to know my consumer better.

You are also a teacher, what is your opinion on the new generation of fashion students?

When I studied design, we would look at and admire designers like Vicky Otero or the Köstumes in Argentina and we had very little information on what was going on in other parts of the world in terms of independent design. The arrival of social networks made us look further afield at everything we could see. For a minute I think you lose your focus, you see as much or as little as you want and it is very confusing, but I think there will come a time when everything will start to settle down. There is a local and global perspective of things as well as new tools, so design is starting to embrace other areas.

What will the future of fashion be like after the pandemic?

The pandemic is leaving the door open for designers anywhere in the world, with a computer to work together, remotely. The future lies in teamwork.

This article was previously published on FashionUnited Argentia. Translated and edited in English.

All images courtesy of García Bello.

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