For over twelve years family-run Portuguese company TMR has been producing clothing for clients worldwide, switching to concentrating on working with sustainable labels for the past 4 years. With a focus on integrity in all aspects of the business and a high degree of quality, they have been producing the clothing for CAES. A model of adaptability, TMR has weathered the pandemic relatively unscathed and can teach us about how the future of fashion production may look.
- How did you start working in sustainable fashion? Was it always an interest?
We have been producing clothing with sustainable materials for many years, such as organic cotton, Tencel, etc. But never from a sustainability perspective, but as a product. The first contact we had with a sustainable brand was in 2016, and from that moment on, we started to see sustainability from a different angle. Not only at the product level but also for environmental and social issues. From then on, we started to see what we could do to improve, and that's when we decided to go ahead with GOTS certification. For us, certifications are not simply a stamp. We take all the learning very seriously and always with the goal of improving.
- What has been a career-defining moment?
TMR is a family business, I started to work for this company in 2000 at only 20 years old. I must say, that the first 10 years were very difficult. I had no experience and I started from scratch. Today I thank my mother wholeheartedly, as I went through all the steps and acquired knowledge in almost all areas. I took some technical courses and I was always very curious. Every time I went to the printing house, dyeing, etc. I always asked how everything was done. This allowed me to absorb a lot of knowledge.
My career-defining moment was in 2010 when I started working directly with clients. From that moment I started to understand the world of fashion, the needs, expectations and how I could contribute. It is highly gratifying for me to be actively involved with the customer. I love to start with new collections, it's like building a house, starting from scratch and almost magically, seeing the final product.
- How do you envision the future of fashion?
At least that's how I wish it. I see the future of fashion more sustainable in all aspects, environmental, economic and social. I think that the consumer begins to be aware of all this. I see fashion with more quality, more targeted and specific products and think we are moving in that direction.
- How are you dealing with this moment of change (in all things)?
This pandemic situation, took us all by surprise. But in a way, I think, that made us see all things in a different perspective. All this only motivates us to invest more and more in sustainability. Incredibly, we’re working 100%. Many brands that produced in china and other asian countries are trying to redirect production to europe.
I think that all of this made us wake up to some situations. Of course we are apprehensive about the future, all this has shown us that we do not know what will happen tomorrow. But in a way it also motivates us to continue our work.
- How do you manage a sustainable business? (To stay sustainable in the way you work?)
I think Portugal is at the top of sustainable textiles. The textile sector had a huge crisis in 2008, thousands of companies were lost due to the opening of trade with Asia. At that time, i think we were very smart, we saw that we couldn't compete with them, and we decided not to let our arms down. The fact that we are part of the European community has helped us a lot, social and environmental policies are demanding.
We embrace this opportunity, companies have invested a lot in technology and innovation, and many have specialized in sustainable products. All this greatly facilitates the entire process, as all our partner chain is in line.
- What is your favourite fabric and why?
This is the most difficult question, because all the work i do, what i like most are the fabrics. As it is always in constant development and investment, this is where i can absorb the most knowledge and as well is where everything starts. I love many fabrics but at this moment i think organic cotton is a little trivialized. I'm completely in love with some fabrics made of Supreme green cotton®
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