Ethical fashion show brings together local creatives

Prinjolata 2.0 saw seven designers showcasing their sustainable approach to fashion.
The pieces worn during the show were all created sustainably. Photos: Mariah Ivie Cutajar

Last month saw Prinjolata 2.0 gather together some of Malta’s most well-known names in sustainable fashion for a showcase of works based on the concept of circularity and slowfashion. The show was organised by Sarah Portelli and Tonya Lehtinen, both vocal activists for sustainability. The show was called Prinjolata 2.0 as a tribute to Sarah’s 2022 popular fashion show.

The primary goal for this show was to promote alternatives to fast fashion, particularly the art of upcycling. Although the second-hand clothing market in Malta is gaining popularity, upcycled design is just emerging. The practice has gathered popularity on the international fashion runways, but remains an unfamiliar concept on the island.

Through Prinjolata 2.0, the intention was to create a new platform for smaller brands and designers working in this field and who would typically not participate in regular fashion week. All the designers selected for the show work sustainably and are committed to reducing waste and slowing down consumption.

With an annual 29 million tons of textile waste being produced globally and clothing/textile waste currently making up at least 7% of waste in global landfill space, upcycling is a very real and relevant option. Some may ask what upcycling means, and why these creatives feel that it is so important? As Tonya says, the dictionary definition of upcycling is “to reuse (discarded objects or material) to create a product of equal or higher quality or value than the original”. Thus, she adds, the benefit of upcycling is that no virgin materials or fossil fuel energy is required and it produces zero waste.

Prinjolata 2.0 was held at the Valetta Design Cluster, presenting a genuine vibe with the clothes modelled by real-life clients rather than models. This brought about a new dynamic of authenticity and playfulness.

The local community stepped in even backstage to offer their services and time, to help make the show a huge success.

“This collaborative action is what builds our circular community and brings about positive change. We are happy that this show had a strong impact and that it has brought upcycling into the fashion landscape in Malta,” the organisers said.

The participants were selected through a public open call, with applicants including emerging designers from Berlin, Spain, Brussels and London. Among the designers present were Sara Portelli (Common Bint), Tonya Lehtinen (Vogue Xchange), Rowena Farrugia (Lady Kitt Vintage), Gabi De Gaetana (Storja Store), Zowji Camilleri (Zowji Makes), Alda Buggeia (Gozo Weaving) and Tuoray Nfalle (based in Gambia). Project coordination was by Anika Behrndt (Germany). The show was supported by APS Bank, Very Valetta, FAA and Wave of Change, the latter also showcasing their their impactful awareness campaign ‘Change for Change’, focusing and aligning perfectly with the pillar of ‘Dress for Change’.

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