Fashion

Gaâla – A Sustainable Fashion brand born from Italian fabric leftovers

Create for today’s needs while enabling the sustainable needs of future generations.

Kelly de Gaâlon

This is Gaâla’s mantra and firm belief.

Founded in Paris by husband and wife duo, Kelly de Gaalon and Alexander Zhalezko, Gaâla is a sustainable fashion brand centred on Sustainability and Upcycling.

Who is Gaâla?

Gaâla is a sustainable fashion brand that creates beautiful and sustainably crafted styles for both professional and everyday wear that never goes out of style.

It is the meeting of two worlds —classic French aesthetic combined with the finest Belarusian craftsmanship.

Sustainability and upcycling. What does it mean when it comes to a fashion brand?

Knowing and understanding the impact our actions have on the planet brought Gaâla to mindfully create a sustainable business model.

Every style is crafted and designed using luxurious excess production materials, deadstock fabrics and other low impact natural textiles.

Only selected materials: cotton, viscose, silk, wool fabrics and linen.

Their fabric leftover are handpicked by Italian fashion houses while deadstock linen comes from Belarus. This is the way Gaâla makes its business model sustainable.

We met the founder, Kelly de Gaâlon, to talk about Gaâla and get her insight on the sustainable fashion industry.

What inspired you to start a sustainable clothing brand?

When I was living in China, I became hyper-aware of the detrimental environmental impact that production and manufacturing has on our planet.

You can taste the pollution in the air and this experience was the catalyst for creating Gaâla.

Starting Gaâla was also triggered by the fact that over the years I found it almost impossible to buy quality clothing that lasted more than a few months.

Then started looking into the operations of clothing companies in detail and discovered that in many cases the fabrics are produced in excess and are often thrown away – even really incredible quality fabrics that are used by high-end fashion houses.

I didn’t want to add to the fashion industry’s careless consumption model, so it was at that point that I decided that Gaâla’s ethos would be to design timeless pieces made from repurposing beautiful quality deadstock fabrics.

How do you fuel creativity when using deadstock fabrics?

The search for fabrics fuels a lot of creativity – it is like hunting for treasure. I am always on the lookout for new materials and patterns.

While searching for them we always discover new places, cultures and ateliers which inspire us and our designs.

Sustainable fashion
Kelly de Gaalon and Alexander Zhalezko – Founders

How do you produce your designs considering the scarsity of textiles (deadstock and leftover)?

Our designs are produced in limited quantities. We cannot produce them in the fast linear production model where a seamstress makes only part of the item.

Our tailors craft the entire piece – from cutting the fabric to sewing it together, to adding on the buttons.

This requires far greater skill and experience and means that one tailor can only make two pieces per day.

Using deadstock fabrics we can’t reach the economy of scale in the way we might want to.
It is always a challenge because it is not a matter of filling out a simple factory order of X amount of fabric in our chosen design and colour.

We have to find each fabric in the right quantities which might make five pieces and then the process starts again to make another nine pieces from a different fabric.

It is incredibly time-consuming, but equally I feel it is what gives each dress extra special value.

Why should consumers care about sustainable fashion and how do you communicate sustainability to consumers?

We believe that purchasing a sustainably made piece of clothing is respectful to both the environment and to the individuals who sew the clothing.

For the most part, sustainable brands pay fair wages that reflect the skill and effort that goes into the making of each piece. Our whole production model demonstrates our support of sustainable practices on a human and environmental level.

We do market this message and hopefully our actions speak louder than just our words.

Has the COVID-19 pandemic hindered or helped brands to become more sustainable?

I think we are yet to see the full impact of COVID-19 on brands’ attitudes to sustainability.

However, I am hopeful that lockdown has made fashion houses reconsider the restless fashion timeline.

There have been rumblings that more brands are looking at creating season less collections and are reducing them to two per year.

Certainly, the digital fashion shows that we have experienced this year are a big step towards reducing the industry’s carbon footprint. We will have to see if these changes last or develop into bigger sustainable ideas.

What would you suggest to become a more sustainable consumer and make a positive impact?

Buy less often but buy well. Purchase sustainably made clothing and items that really lasts. Buy preloved clothing and sell your own as well.

Always look into the company you buy from so you know who is making your clothing and educate yourself on ways you can recycle your old clothing.

Are there any ways you would like Gaâla to become even more sustainable in the future?

We are constantly learning and finding new ways to become more sustainable, starting with how we recycle our production leftovers and packaging.

Our next step is to find a way to use sustainably made deadstock fabrics, eco-cotton and Tencel.

We are also always looking to develop small scale workshops with good working hours, a positive atmosphere and fair salaries.

Do you think the fashion industry will ever be capable of becoming completely sustainable?

It is possible but it is entirely dependent on business owners and consumers to be accountable for what they sell and buy.

You want to create fashion that never goes out of style and is sustainable. What is your long term vision to achieve that?

Gaâla’s purpose is to help women create capsule wardrobes with quality, lasting basics that never go out of style.

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