LoKal has found another Belgian design gem that you need to know about!
Soraya Wancour, a smiling woman with a sunny personality, has worked up and down the fashion industry, as a designer in the textile industry as well as for fashion houses. What she saw was not pretty – well, the pieces can be, but their story is not always pretty.
So she decided to strike out on her own and produce something she can be proud of. In a way that she loves. Hence, ‘amare’: to love, the symbolic meaning behind ‘studio AMA’.
It seems she is well on her way to conquer the sustainable fashion world!
Soraya was a speaker at the Fair Fashion Festival in Ghent last year.
Studio AMA won the Climate Challenge Award, handed out by the Henry van de Velde Awards. They are the most prestigious Belgian design awards, named after the Belgian architect/designer/general polymath of the last century.
Studio AMA pieces are also part of a permanent exhibition in the industry museum in Ghent, called “100% textiles”! Go check it out, as the museum is open in a Covid19 proof way during this lockdown!
How does she do it?
She does not start out designing a line and then buying fabric to make it. She flipped that process around. To truly be an ecological low-waste brand, she collects leftover fabric waste from local companies around her in Ghent. Then she sees what can be done with the sizes and shapes.
Some sweaters are made out of the material used to cover mattresses. Can you imagine how soft and comfortable they are? Working like this can stir up creativity; have you ever considered using bath towel fabric to make a sweater? Can you think of a reason not to?
I particularly like the OSCAR skirt which comes in many variations. They are made from men’s shirts and the collars give the pieces a cinched waist with a special vintage vibe. The dresses just scream spring and summer with their white and navy stripes.
There are womens’ and mens’ pieces available, and a lot of her collection are genderless pieces by design.
Of course, Soraya digs deep to know where the materials come from, if they are safe for the consumer, and if the employees in those companies have good working conditions.
Production is not actually done by the designer herself. The prototype is made by her, but for the actual sewing and stitching, she stops by at the social workplace “De Zonnehoeve” next door. This is a sheltered working environment that provides extra support for people with difficulty to access the regular labour market. Together with Soraya, they developed extra sewing skills to be able to produce clothing pieces.
Studio AMA in short means transparent sourcing, ecological designs and creating local and social employment.
Keep your eyes on Studio AMA, I predict a bright, shiny (and clean) future!
Cover Photo by Kevin Faignaert