July 17, 2018

Exclusive interview with Lucia CHAIN

Chain is a brand based in Buenos Aires. Their designs are made under the "zero waste" concept, the revaluation and recovery of the national industry, honest, inclusive and fair work and care for the environment. 

CHAIN ​​was born after having had several experiences that brought me closer to the industry, I decided to develop my own brand, which bears my last name, under simple premises: Be honest with myself, work on what I believe and have coherence between the values ​​of the brand and my life style. That is why CHAIN ​​was born, a project that works from awareness and respect towards nature and towards others.

What are your main sources of inspiration?

As the axis is honesty, and being a very introspective person, my main sources of inspiration have to do with my everyday world. My family, my friends, my pain and also my happiness are what surrounds me and inspires each collection. I greatly admire the people who accompany me, I learn from them and I believe that my work is my way of paying tribute to them. My first collections were inspired by my maternal grandmother and our bond, I continued working motivated by my friends and how they rebuild and rescue trades, then I was inspired by my grandfather’s childhood stories and I am currently working with my dad as inspiration.

In the conversation we had, you explained to me your process of personal and professional growth … Tell us a bit more about this.

As soon as I finished my studies at the University of Buenos Aires, my thesis project was awarded by Semillero UBA giving me the opportunity to parade for the first time in Buenos Aires Fashion Week, to have a great sponsor and financial support to make my first collection. It was an experience that not only gave me a lot of visibility but also impelled me to trust much more in my work. That is why I continued and working with a friend we developed a brand that was a finalist of Fashion Edition Buenos Aires, by Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, then we won twice in a row the possibility of parading again in Buenos Aires Fashion Week and finally we went on to exhibit at IFS London Fashion Week. Then I started working at CHAIN ​​at the end of 2016, moving for the first time in Fashionclash Festival (Holland) and then being a finalist for the Fashion Makes Sense Award (Holland). Soon I won a scholarship to deepen my studies at Marangoni Institute – Paris. I also won a grant from the National Arts Fund to finance a project that involved teaching and giving tools to young people without resources, to teach them the value of the trade and work in decent conditions.

In a short time I had some international exposure, which made me visible and Vogue Italia selected me to be part of The Next Green Talents, an event that brought together this past February, seven sustainable designers from around the world.

How was your experience at Vogue Talents? What projects have been followed by this opportunity?

At the end of last year, I received two proposals from Vogue Italia, which for me meant making a dream come true. On the one hand, they proposed to interview me for the print publication of Vogue Talents and on the other hand, they gave me the news that Sara Maino had selected my brand to participate in an event that has opened doors for me and has meant growing enormously in record time. I was selected as one of the seven new sustainable talents to present my winter collection at Milan Fashion Week, during the event The next Green Talents, organized by Vogue Italia and Yoox. These, not only gave me the opportunity to expose, but also to generate a commercial link, since they began to market my brand within its platform.

Thanks to this experience and during the event, I met great personalities from the industry, including Evelyn Mora, who invited me to participate in Helsinki Fashion Week, where I will present my next collection. Another great opportunity that arose from this was the invitation to participate in Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Chile, in October.

Who produces Chain? 
In Argentina we have a pretty hit textile industry. Most of the factories were closed and then recovered by their workers as cooperatives. The textiles that I use, are pure raw cotton, produced by a cooperative called Inimbó, who work in Chaco, in northern Argentina.

As I produce only by order, special orders are made by me, while larger orders are produced by a group of local workers. The accoutrements of the garments are made by hand by craftsmen who work recovering discards of wood. Each process is careful to generate the least negative impact, the least amount of waste and the best possible work environment.

What has it meant for you to attend the second edition of MOLA?
It was a very valuable experience, since I met with Latino designers from whom I learned a lot and with whom I started a beautiful friendship. I felt surrounded by love and super inspired by the strength and entrepreneurial energy of those who work for a better world.

It has been a few weeks now and yet I keep reflecting on topics that have been discussed. I feel full of new tools …How do you assess the situation of the textile industry in Latin America?

As I said before, as far as Argentina is concerned, the textile industry has been abandoned for many years. On the one hand, it is sad because there have not been new technological developments and increased quality, but on the other hand “new” things are emerging that imply other times a little slower production, and a return to respect resources and value ancestral knowledge as for the work of the earth, the spinning, the dyeing, the weaving … Ancestral techniques are being rescued, which in a highly developed industry could not be viable. Techniques that respect much more knowledge, time, land. I find this of great value and there are many very young people working hard to boost the growth of this small industry.