What does it mean to be conscious?

 

 

“What does it mean to be conscious?” is a question that has lived in Bionda’s heart ever since her origins. Growing up by the seaside, the founder and designer, Melina, always grounded her aesthetic perception on environmental values. While she wants to wander through the gardens of her imagination, she wants to do so in an open, genuine and sustainable manner. This is why her first collection was all about tracing the contours of her inner voice, from the outline of her silhouette to the very hands that were going to bind it.

The cumulative effect of all her influences lead her to travel from coast to coast, all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, going back and forth with the rush of the waves. When she found herself in South America, where life was spent in a pair of shorts, flip-flops, and bikinis, she discovered a culture that was different to the one she knew. It seemed as though every woman—be it the laid-back chick, the go-getting career woman, the classic lady—was grooving with distinctive textiles and designs that seemed to be tailored to her unique body. Mesmerised by all the variations of shapes, she was determined to bring this sense of diversity back to her side of the ocean, which is what ultimately enticed her to launch her first collection of luxury swim and resort wear. 

When the first quarantine started in 2020, locked in a little courtyard at the heart of Palma de Mallorca, Spain, Melina muses on the endless accents and designs her travels left her with. Likewise, she pondered on ways of connecting Bionda with her newfound notions of what it means to be a woman of her time—free, diverse, timeless, and always connected to her roots. This sense of connection, she thought, would be a first step toward a more conscious approach to fashion. And so Bionda’s core vision began taking shape.

Her first designs draw a precise silhouette, depicting a sophisticated and timeless style reminiscent of the 80s and 90s iconic French Riviera beach scene, with hints of the Carioca spirit that she picked up along her travels. Just as she travelled through different coasts to seek for inspiration, she navigated her way through the different options to bring the pieces to fruition. Since she’s based in Spain, she thought she would start in places close to home, but the places she ended up in happened to be too big and communication too impersonal for all that Bionda envisions.

Her swimwear collection eventually began to flourish in a small family owned factory based in the Brazilian town Porto Alegre. After that she also began working with a friend of her’s little atelier in the Colombian lands of Santa Marta to create other garments (*). This was where the idea of creating handmade pieces by working with artisans, and overall independent sourcing began to take effect. Later on, she continued sourcing and producing in a similar fashion, such as with her earring collection, made from handmade and hand-painted African Kazuri beads. The whole idea behind this is to keep in touch with our roots—be it in terms of the environment or even culture. Mass production kills craftsmanship, as well as tradition in culture, and only nurtures the trends and consumer culture which is destroying our environment. Working alongside conscious businesses these past few months has certainly contributed a great deal to Bionda’s sense of consciousness, her understanding of the power of her choices in paving the way for a more sustainable business model.

So… “What does it mean to be conscious?” Here are 5 points which summarise what Bionda has learnt along her journey so far; these could also be understood as the main pillars of her vision in terms of a new sustainable fashion system:

  1. Spend time in nature. 
For us it’s of utmost importance to keep coming back to the sea, and make sure we pay our respects to it. We find it’s the first step to understanding what we we should be protecting, what we could be jeopardising. This is one of the main reasons why we are based somewhere where we get to do this.

  2. Stay connected to your roots.
We like to know where things come from, how things were done before we became an industrial society and, consequentially, how this impacts our planet. After doing our research on the way brands and consumers can improve the environmental footprint simply by opting for handmade products, it ultimately inspired us to source and work with different artisans. Since it is from those people with strong roots that Bionda has learnt the most regarding consciousness and sustainability in fashion, part of the profits will also find their way back to the families of the ateliers we work with. Moreover, we offer a free shipping for anyone buying in Spain, where we are based, as a way to reduce the amount of air miles required to ship items, as well as to encourage locally sourced shopping habits. Every item, therefore, aims to symbolise respect for the people that made it, as well as for the natural world.

  3. Less is more.
In terms of people, working with smaller businesses will mean smaller scale productions, and therefore less stock, but individually crafted pieces also create more unique results. Handcraft methods will not only result in more durability, which ultimately leads to less waste over time, but also more product satisfaction. Bionda opts for cutting down on fabric production by re-using old ones to make samples, ultimately reducing the chemicals and overall energy needed for turning raw materials into textiles. In terms of profit, less manufacturing can be more beneficial in the long run, especially when taking into consideration that there will be less leftover stock. Bionda is very conscious of this and is happy to keep working on a limited production basis. In terms of the planet, by representing sustainability, one inspires more well-being and spirituality through less materialistic consumption, which ultimately promotes cleaner productions and therefore less industrial production and less waste. Bionda likes to do her maths, and less waste just seems to equate to more value for people, profit, and our planet.

  4. Make it last.
We strongly believe in the concept of choosing smart. The whole idea behind our signature collection was to promote the idea of long lasting impressions. We love classics just as much as we love to stay in touch with traditional methods. To us, a classic doesn’t necessarily mean it’s boring or outdated, but that aesthetics can be just as interesting and unique as they can be long lasting. We’ve learned that, alongside the automotive and technology industries, the modern fashion industry’s emphasis on fast thinking and fast changing is at the root of the extreme demands global CO2 emissions are putting on our water reserves. If we keep going at the rate of fast fashion, life as we know it won’t last much longer. So, let’s make it last.

  5. Keep learning, keep changing. 
We’re all in this together. A nobler vision of economics, ecology, the world we live in, requires us all to cooperate, educate ourselves, and to continuously keep elevating ourselves. As a producer and supplier, we are constantly re-evaluating our actions, informing ourselves about the pros and cons, and wish to keep sharing bits and pieces of our journey with you guys so that together we can lay the foundations for a more sustainable future.
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