Along with sustainability, social responsibility is a must for us. We work with social workshops, that, in addition to a wonderful work, promote social insertion and empower women. That is the case of Customizando, a social workshop we work with in Madrid (Spain). We have recently visited it and talked to Marta Alonso, manager, to tell you here how they work. Their story deserves to be told.
CUSTOMIZANDO, THE BRAND
As Marta Alonso, manager of this social workshop, told us, Customizando is a dressmaking workshop that was born in December 2016, “the first six months we worked to create our own brand, that consists in making garments from other ones that have been already used and, instead of being destroyed, are donated to us”. This way, through the upcycling, they create “computer and tablet cases, notebook covers, bags, toilet bags, cushion cases… And, also, we have clothes for woman, men and children”. So, we can find diverse articles on Customizando, although never equal, because “due to the nature of our work, we elaborate unique products”. In addition, they offer this kind of articles for events, companies, conferences, etc.
SUPPORTING THE SUSTAINABLE FASHION
At the same time, Customizando got another line of work, because they bet for collaborating with sustainable fashion brands, “there is a great demand of new sustainable fashion designers that bring about a very careful dressmaking and want local services to work hand in hand with and to get the expected result. They don’t produce massive, because they got collections that are much smaller and made with care, as, for example, IREMA, whose jackets we have made with a lot of love”, Marta told us. They choose very well their clients, because for Customizando is very important that “brands understand that fashion must change and be sustainable”. Moreover, Alonso highlighted that they like these slow garments very much, because they are made with a lot of care from the election of the fabrics to the dressmaking.
SOCIAL INTEGRATION AND WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
According to Marta, as social organization, “Customizando is a non-profit cooperative of social integration, registered as insertion company at CAM. In this way, we can hire our workers for three years maximum, because we are what is called in Spain ‘empresa fuente’. During these years, they work their professional dressmaking abilities but also their personal abilities to develop their empowerment and the management of a cooperative. Since the beginning, the workers take active part of the company management and decisions. We believe that is really important that they take responsibility for their own development”. Moreover, some of the workers are also partners of the cooperative. What’s more, before starting to work as dressmaker, women do training courses in Customizando as well, “when they begin the work, they know at least a basic knowledge of dressmaking. After that, they continue the learning through the practice”.
“It is very important that brands understand that fashion must change and be sustainable”
COLLABORATING WITH IREMA
As could not be otherwise, we had to ask Marta about the relationship between Customizando and IREMA Slow Fashion, since the workshop have made some of our jackets, the velveteen jacket in burgundy and the velveteen jacket in green (available on the e-shop next week). “IREMA has been very important to us”, Alonso assured, “we think the design of the jackets we have made is very beautiful and clean, and, at the same time, both suit great”. That on one hand, because on the other one, Marta highlighted that this collaboration is essential for the workers “to have direct contact with garments made and designed with a lot of care, with a very clear and well-done pattern. And, of course, to learn first-hand how are and how to work with sustainable fabrics. The result is amazing”. In conclusion, this collaboration has been a success. Such a pleasure this visit and working with Customizando.