Nathalia JMag Is A Zero-Waste, Upcycling, Eclectic Brand That's Giving The Sustainable Fashion World Some Much Needed Melanin & Character
We chatted with Project Runway contestant, Nathalia Castrillon, founder of Nathalia JMag. Her contemporary fashion collection is on a mission to honor people, animals and the earth through her work. This powerhouse uses a zero waste design approach, chooses the most sustainable fabrics available to her and upcycles old clothing to give them new life. And we absolutely love that she exclusively hand makes everything in a studio with a solar powered building.
Check out this interview:
When and why did you start the brand Nathalia JMag?
I started my brand after graduating college and participating in Project Runway season 15 in 2016. I started it because I studied fashion design and retailing and I wanted to create a brand that was the change I wanted to see in the fashion industry before I became a designer I was always an environmentalist and I lover of nature. During school when I learned about how harmful the fashion industry was to people, the environment and animals it really broke my heart I almost quit my major because I didn’t want to be part of something that made the world a worse place but then something dawned on me and I realized; actually I can be part of the solution and that’s what led me to create Nathalia Jmag.
What are all of the ways in which your brand is sustainable (material, production, etc.)? Why was it important to have sustainability incorporated in a brands that contemporary with an avant-garde aesthetic?
Sends I got a conventional fashion education I didn’t really learn that much about sustainability so everything I’ve learned has been through doing my own research. On my senior year my last semester I took a class where I learned about zero waste design so I have really tried to incorporate that since the beginning into my design process and I also learned about up-cycling during that class which I also apply in my process I use a lot of vintage denim and thrifted fabrics and vintage fabrics as well as that stock which I got from a local fabric store were where the owner sources a lot of dead stock fabric but I try to stay away from that I try to mostly use fabrics that I know are sustainable like hemp and linen and wool and organic cotton and recycled polyester. I also produce every collection and all Items I sell myself and the production takes place in my studio which is located in a mill that has solar panels therefore everything is made using 60% green energy.
What inspires each collection?
I really draw inspiration from a lot of different places and like random things inspire me ! sometimes it’s really specific too though For example my latest collection is inspired by an exhibit I saw at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and Im actually showcasing a preview of this collection at the gardner April 18th. The name of the collection is Madonna. I dont Follow the regular fashion rules like you know creating a spring summer fall winter collection I just create what I’m vibing with at the moment. I do tend to create more outerwear when it’s colder out and vice versa when I’m creating collections in the warmer months the weather tends to reflect in my work.
Does being a woman of color influence your brand ... if so how?
I’m not sure if being a woman of color reflects in my work because I don’t really create from that place like I don’t create like thinking like of my cultural background in a sense because In a way I’m kind of disconnected from it because I was born in Colombia but I grew up here in America and then being exposed to the Internet I feel like I’m exposed to so many different cultures and like so many different styles of dressing that I don’t necessarily draw inspiration from my Colombian culture it’s more like a blend so I guess yes in a sense and no. I tend to not want to be a stereotype and I want to create stuff that’s never been done before but that’s also wearable and appealing and contemporary, like I feel like when I’m trying too hard to channel my culture I feel like it translates too literal so I try to kind of just go with the random inspirations that I get. I just feel like not being there informs me in a different way then if I was there but I also feel like if I grew up in Colombia I will still be at Designer and I will still be trying to make things that were different. So i guess from that tangent we can deduct that being a woman of color actually does influence my brand in a complex way.
Where do you see the future of sustainable fashion?
I have hope that in the future sustainable fashion is not going to be The alternative but it’s going to be the norm. it is the only way that we’re going to be able to save the planet just because of how harmful the industry is right now; change to eco friendliness/ethical practices will make a huge positive impact to the environment. just imagine how amazing it would be if all the big fashion corporations and big production houses and the big factories that dye fabric and that create fabric started to really try to work with environment instead of against it; the world would flourish. we can literally change the world through fashion. So I see the future of sustainable fashion as really bright it might be a small movement right now but like I said I see a future where sustainable fashion wont be the alternative but the norm!