Looking and feeling good on the inside and outside in the hot summer months can be problematic. Lithuanian designer Ms Grėtė Švėgždaitė has come up with solutions. Grėtė is one of Lithuania’s new generation of designers, and her experience creating sustainable, sweat-free clothing makes us want to know more.
With the warm season in full gear in many countries, fashion designers have several suggestions for staying cool this summer—cutouts, short hemlines, and a white colour palette. However, much of this season’s trends utilise materials such as leather, sequins, and metallics that do not correspond with the need to introduce more sustainability and vegan items in the industry, as just 23% of luxury brands make animal welfare a priority.
Grėtė Švėgždaitė (above) is one of the new generation fashion designers based in Lithuania and founded the luxury sleepwear brand GRETES. She believes that keeping comfortable and sweat-free even on the hottest days can go hand in hand with veganism and sustainability values.
So how can you do this with your current wardrobe? Below, Grėtė explains how:
Grėtė suggests opting for fabrics like cotton or linen to feel comfortable during the summer. Both materials are breathable and allow sufficient air circulation, preventing sweat, rashes, redness, and discomfort. However, cotton production requires vast amounts of water, and chemicals are used to soften the linen; therefore, she urges everyone to choose the recycled options if possible.
“Recycled textile, like linen or cotton, is both summer-friendly and already a more sustainable route for those who dress with the environment in mind. Recycling also helps to save water and minimise textile products thrown into the landfills,” says Grėtė.
Another fabric recommended by the designer is viscose made of eucalyptus, pine, bamboo, and other plants. As it is a plant-based material, it is plastic-free and offers good relief from the heat. Viscose also works well for sleepwear as it helps with body temperature regulation during the night. Also, viscose can resemble silk, making it a brilliant, cruelty-free alternative without compromising on a luxurious feel.
“New technologies save water resources and reduce the number of chemicals when producing fabrics from plants. But the environmental effect is just as essential, and even natural fabrics leave a certain footprint. So consumers should look for brands that commit to sustainable textile production for the sake of their bodies and the planet,” she added.
However, simply choosing clothing that states it is made from cotton, linen, or viscose is not enough, and shoppers need to be diligent about checking the label to ensure that the entire item is made of this fabric.
“Sometimes manufacturers do not disclose the full truth about a clothing item, meaning, the product name may state it’s from linen, but the label shows that linen constitutes only 50%, and the rest is polyester,” said Grėtė Švėgždaitė. “If this is the case, the piece of clothing will not have the cooling properties as it will essentially wrap the skin in polyester, trapping the heat in.”
Natural fabrics as part of a personal style
One of this season’s trends that stands out among louder and statement pieces is a timeless and minimalistic approach, involving quality clothing sure to last years. According to Grėtė Švėgždaitė, natural fibre materials, which have been seeping into the fashion world for a while, complement the trend and make ideal wardrobe staples that can be mixed and matched to create personalised yet comfortable looks.
“Natural fabrics are not reserved only for summer dresses anymore, and there are several ways to incorporate them in leisure and business styles. Suits and loungewear, shorts and jackets, form-fitting and looser cuts—the fabrics provide a versatile canvas for everyday summer looks,” the designer explained.
Grėtė Švėgždaitė is also urging people to purchase warm weather clothing responsibly and think about whether the item will be durable for many summers and can be recycled at the end of its life cycle.
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