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Natural fabrics are more comfortable to wear, they’re better for the environment than their synthetic counterparts, they’re breathable, comfortable, and they’re also biodegradable. I don’t know how else to say it; natural is better.

Eloïse Panetta agrees, and as the founder of her eponymous label, she’s an authority when it comes to all things natural. She honours her Italian heritage by using artisanal skills passed down generation through generation, and every scrunchie and scarf is proudly handmade in her Sydney atelier.

Eloïse’s careful craft is commonly known as botanical dyeing; it's a natural dyeing process that extracts colour and texture from Australian leaves, flowers and berries, which are wrapped in silk and steamed. Over time, the plant materials are embedded into the silk fibre, revealing unique colours and textures, and the entire process is completely unpredictable.

Eloïse stepped away from her creative studio to share more about her tactile craft and her reasons for using natural dyes…

Why are you passionate about ethical fashion?
I am passionate about ethical fashion because it celebrates and promotes social and environmental awareness, honesty, transparency and integrity. I believe these are essential values for any ethical business. In the fashion world, these values set the benchmark of an ethically conscious movement for businesses working towards a better fashion future. I believe ethical fashion businesses are leading the industry, setting an example of how fashion should be pursued. 

Why do you think sustainability is important in the fashion industry?
I believe sustainability is important in fashion because it is such a large, trend-driven industry. Speedy production times and high volumes mean there is a lot of unnecessary products that the world just doesn’t need. Everyone who consumes fashion actively makes a choice in what they buy, however, they may not be aware of the negative implications this is having on our societies or our environment. I believe adopting sustainable practices in the fashion industry starts with educating customers on how their products are produced so that they can make more conscientious choices. 

What inspires you to do what you do?
I am inspired every day, particularly by the simple fact that I have the creative freedom to make beautiful products to empower and positively impact women. This is the biggest reason why I do what I do. Another major source of inspiration I draw on is the women who surround me, as they have contributed to who I am today. I have built my business from a tiny seed, and to see it grow to where it is today is truly inspiring. I’m uplifted by my customers who constantly support my small business. Their feedback constantly motivates and inspires me every day. My beautiful customers are actively contributing to the growth and success of Eloïse Panetta and I am so grateful for this. 

How did you get into botanical dyeing and what's the process like?
Botanical dyeing is a beautiful textile dyeing process that uses botanicals to dye textiles. Plant materials are bundled in silk and then go through a steaming process, releasing natural colours, textures and patterns that are embedded into the surface of the silk. No chemicals are used or needed! I started exploring botanical dyeing when I was studying my master's degree at uni. I really loved exploring and cataloguing the natural colours derived from plants and fusing this with my fashion design practice.  

How would you describe your approach to slow fashion design?
My approach to slow fashion design is very considered and thoughtful. I take a lot of time to plan, think and organise my ranges through every design stage, ensuring that each piece is purposeful to ensure longevity. The driving force behind my approach is to produce products that are made to order. This means every single Eloïse Panetta product has a purpose before it is created, minimising wastage and making every product uniquely individual.

Support a chemical-free fashion future and shop the Eloïse Panetta range here.

The Fashion Advocate x

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