Founded by husband and wife duo Kelly de Gaalon and Alexander Zhalezka, Gaâla is the meeting of two worlds – classic French aesthetic combined with the finest craftsmanship. In a world where throwaway fashion seems to take president, Sabi Phagura caught up with Kelly de Gaalon to discuss sustainable fashion and why we should follow suit.
Luxurious Magazine: Tell us how and when you and your husband Alexander came up with the idea of launching Gaâla Paris?
Kelly de Gaalon: When living in China, I became hyper-aware of the detrimental environmental impact that production and manufacturing have on our planet. I began looking into the operations of clothing companies in detail. I discovered that in many cases, high-quality fabrics used by high-end fashion houses are produced in excess and end up in landfills or incinerated; this beautiful and unspoiled fabric is known as deadstock.
LM: Can you explain to our readers what deadstock fabrics are?
Kelly: Deadstock fabrics are materials that are no longer useful for production houses or brands. These may be rejected due to a brand, textile company or fashion house overstocking materials or having surplus fabric after production and will often end up discarded in landfills.
LM: We understand sustainability is key to your garment creations. Why is this so important to your brand?
Kelly: We believe that purchasing sustainably made clothing is respectful to the environment and the individuals who sew the clothing.
For the most part, sustainable brands pay fair wages that reflect the skill and effort that goes into the making of each piece. Our whole production model demonstrates our support of sustainable practices on a human and environmental level.
We have tailors who craft the entire piece – from cutting the fabric to sewing it together to adding on the buttons. It requires far greater skill and experience and means that one tailor can only make two pieces per day.
LM: In your opinion, do you think there has been a shift in people’s mindsets about sustainable fashion?
Kelly: Yes, most definitely. There was a time when people wanted to buy cheap clothes and would happily throw them away once they got bored or realised the material wasn’t of good quality. People are more likely to invest in good quality clothes, which last for years. Quality is better than quality to help the environment.
LM: How difficult is it to produce the type of clothes you produce?
Kelly: Using deadstock fabrics, we can’t reach economies of scale in the way we might want to. It is always a challenge because it is not a matter of filling out a simple factory order of an amount of fabric in our chosen design and colour.
We have to find each fabric in the right quantities, which might make five pieces and then the process starts again to make another nine pieces from a different fabric. It is incredibly time-consuming, but equally, we feel it is what gives each dress extra special value.
LM: Let’s talk about your garments. What kind of clothes does your brand produce?
Kelly: Gaâla apparel is unique in that we combine the nostalgia of vintage-inspired silhouettes with contemporary designs for the modern woman. Our customers don’t need to choose between being stylish or timeless; our collections can be both. We have gotten a lot of appreciation from our community over this aspect.
LM: How can we as individuals ensure our clothes last longer and get away from throwaway fashion?
Kelly: We often have people reaching out to tell us that they would love to shop sustainably, but they don’t feel they can afford to. Our response is that being a conscious consumer doesn’t necessarily mean buying expensive clothing; more importantly, it’s about buying clothing that we see ourselves wearing time, and again, that can be dressed up or down for just about any occasion, ensuring its longevity in our closets.
It also takes time to examine the make and fabric of an item closely before purchase. We ask ourselves if it will stand the test of time and if we can pass it on long after we get no more use from it – if the answer is yes, then we are well on our way to being conscious consumers.
LM: And finally, if there was just one garment we needed to buy to get multiple wears out of, what would that item be?
Kelly: We would say our Catherine dress ticks the capsule wardrobe box as it is elegant and timeless, with just enough versatility to allow it to be dressed up or down for most occasions. It is the little black dress that belongs in every woman’s wardrobe.
Gaâla – Where and How?
For more information on Gaâla, visit www.gaala.com.
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