What is it like to work in sustainable fashion? What does it mean to you?
I think it’s great because the sustainable fashion scene draws you to be even more sustainable. You know right now we’re doing an interview and drinking from plastic straws, which you know is not sustainable at all. Being in the scene makes you more conscious and aware of these things. It also gives you more feelings of guilt, but it’s ok as it’s a part of it. I think people should just try to do the best that they can. I think we shouldn’t feel guilty of the tings we sometimes do here and there as sometimes we can’t even fully control it ourselves. It’s almost impossible in this world to be 100% sustainable so it’s about the idea of just trying to do the best you can. If everyone in the world did their best or even a little bit, it could make a huge change and that’s what my message is about.
But back to the fashion scene. When you're working in the sustainable fashion scene you get inspired by each other. You understand that in the end of the day it’s not about competition. It’s about really changing the things in the world for the better. It’s nice to to see what other people are doing, and to feel like the other’s are interested and value the same tings as you do in their work.
Still the business side comes in, but that’s not what I stand for. I don't want to be the ugly side of the fashion scene which I feel like is unnecessary. Fashion is supposed to be this beautiful creative thing, instead of an ugly game. That’s what I like about the sustainable fashion scene. People being pure and honest, and there’s this collaborative spirit.
Could you tell us a little more about hemp as a material.
What makes it special and how did you come across it?
I came across hemp by accident. I was just researching things. As I’m half Croatian I’ve always been around the boats and the ropes that tie the boats to the shore, and I remember wondering what the strong ropes were made out of . When in LA I ran into this amazing place that sold hemp based fabric and ropes. And from there the idea just started to develop in my head.
I later learned that hemp is besides being super durable also UV resistant. I knew it would survive in the sea, but I didn't know how it would work in chlorine but it did.
In the fabric used for my swimwear the hemp is mixed with organic cotton. Cotton is not durable in water on its own, but for some reason in this mix it worked out really well. The fabric feels soft on the body but yet it’s very durable.
I was scared to sell something that wouldn't really work, so I put a lot of work in the development. What I loved the most about this blend was it was natural, and I always think natural is better. I never liked polyester, because it makes you sweat and attracts bacteria. It is just bad and uncomfortable.
So all together it made sense. I felt it was a tiny miracle that I had found.
Besides loving the thought behind your brand I also really love the visual aspects of it.
What sparks the inspiration for your designs?
I always like to think about practicality in my designs. I also want my pieces to be good for the nature. Something that has always been inspiring me is the timeless look of Calvin Klein back in the 90s. You know the time of Kate Moss. Already as a kid I was inspired by how it was all about the shapes, the simplicity and the practicality of the clothing. That’s why the style still stands the time.
In my designs for Natasha Tonic it was all about the clean lines and the shapes and that simple connection to the nature. I wanted to make it different (as most opt for the 70s style) and I chose cool tones like pale blue and black instead of those warm golden tones which are very typical for California.
You can wear the swimwear with so may different clothes and it’s easy to just pull out of the closet and combine. My vision is that you can travel and wear the swimsuit on the airplane with a pair of trousers, then you go straight to the beach and you’re ready for a dip in the ocean. After the beach there’s yoga and you can still wear it. It would work like a body suit that you can simply combine with a pair of shorts. I love the functionality of it ,which is possible since it is made out of hemp fabric.
Any tips for someone dreaming of shifting their career towards sustainable fashion design?
My tip is that you should want to do it for the right reasons. That will keep you going. It is way more challenging than regular fashion design. Every step counts and there are many people that still don’t believe in it. Don’t give up on the first challenges. Don’t get discouraged. Do a lot of research, try to educate yourself as much as you can. And just don’t stop.