Did you know that 85% of textiles are dumped into landfills or even worse – burned? It is a fact that the average American throws away 37 kg/81 pounds of clothing each year. In an effort to curb the environmental impact of the fashion industry, GRETES designer Grėtė Švėgždaitė is looking to eco-friendly fabrics in an effort to subdue the impact of fast fashion retailers like Boohoo and H & M. Given the fact that these companies practice greenwashing, the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles is starting to require textile recycling as well as enforcing manufacturers’ responsibility toward consumers.
If you care about the planet and you want to look good and sleep well while doing it; GRETES is a wonderful place to start. Featuring high-quality sleepwear and loungewear, GRETES uses NAIA™ cellulosic fiber made of sustainably sourced eucalyptus and pine pulp. Furthermore, what is different about this designer is the fact that she is making her line 100% recyclable in collaboration with German company I:CO – meaning you can turn in your old purchases and Švėgždaitė will recycle the fabric by turning it into yarn or donate the sleepwear for the second-hand market.
What goes into making the designs for your collection?
When creating a collection, we always look for unique solutions in the design, at the same time thinking about comfort. The clothing item must be comfortable because its purpose is to help the wearer relax and recharge.
What are you inspired by?
The collection has been inspired by nature in all senses. Not only is it sustainable, and we thought about making it environmentally friendly every step of the way, but also we spent a lot of time in nature when coming up with models. Maybe that’s why it looks so dreamy, floaty, and ethereal.
What part of the process takes most of your time?
Currently, I spend a lot of my time managing administrative tasks. I would love to spend more time on creativity.
Do you like working with textiles or designing more?
I like both working with textiles and creating. Both areas complement each other. Sometimes the texture of textiles and the opportunity to create something out of them inspire new designs and vice versa.
Why is using Naia cellulosic fiber so crucial for your brand?
Essentially, we were looking for a fabric that would have silk-like properties. However, there are not a lot of fabrics that would comply with the principles of sustainability in the market at the moment. NAIA™ fabric has all of these properties, and we are very happy to have discovered it. Speaking about the future, we are still looking for other fabrics to use in our collections potentially. But we have very high standards for them, which complicates things.
Describe the process for making NAIA™. Is it completely eco-friendly? Or does it use chemicals to process the fibers?
At the moment, NAIA™ is one of the most environmentally friendly fabrics in the viscose fabric market because its manufacturing process consumes fewer chemicals, less water, and does not pollute as much. You can find more about the manufacturing process here: https://naia.eastman.com/.
Are there other materials that you would consider working with?
Yes, we are continuously looking for new fabrics. However, as I already mentioned, we have very high standards for them—they must comply with the basic sustainability principles and be comfortable to wear. It might look like the supply is high, but there’s a strong greenwashing in the textile sector right now, so it is not as easy as it seems.
How does it feel to be a New-Generation Luxury Brand? What goes into that title?
First of all, it is a huge responsibility. We strive for the highest quality in every step of collection creation and think about the product’s entire journey leading up to the consumer. Our attitude is that no detail, however small it might be, is insignificant. I think our customers feel that and come back to us. Also, we are continuously improving and searching for better solutions.
Are you direct-to-consumer and/or do you operate out of a boutique?
Currently, we are operating both ways: we sell the products directly to our customers and collaborate with boutiques that sell our clothing. We think it is essential to have a fixed spot in every country where the customer could come and physically touch the fabric.
Which is better for you from a business standpoint?
I think both models should be combined.
What is one thing consumers should know about GRETES?
We offer the highest quality in all senses.
GRETES, founded by Grėtė Švėgždaitė in Lithuania, is a boutique-style international brand. It focuses on creating handmade, fashionable, and high-quality sleepwear and loungewear, using sustainable NAIA™ materials for a reasonable price. Dedicated to everyone’s quiet elegance, the brand represents a continuous journey of looking for a balance between fashion, nature, and oneself.