Victoria Cerón: Wasted Clothes Transformed into Beautiful Fabrics
Meet Victoria Cerón Galdámez (28), a Chilean who through her university graduate thesis titled “Telare” (meaning “Restorer Of Textile Garbage”) discovered her path to building a sustainable fashion brand. During her final and iconic days as a graphic design student at the Universidad Santo Tomás (CL), she started a big journey in the world of costume design through the objective of her degree thesis which eventually turned out to be what is known generally as the “Telare Project.” She found an idea and built a brand around it. She focused, creatively fusing discarded fabric weaving looms into beautiful fabrics to make elegant garments. She didn’t just focus on garments, but she expanded her scope to implement this yet seen [then] creatively into making handbags, blankets, sofa pillow covers, and so on. As boundless as creativity can be, she had eyes on more fashionable things like other clothing accessories to make sure that her brand covers different areas of fashion soon; from simple dresses to stunning jackets.
Her designs were exhibited at a contest in Madrid after her graduation -thanks to her a teacher who made this happen. Her designs earned a second place position in the wardrobe category of the prestigious Madrid contest. What a great start for such an innovation. With all her nerves grinning with enthusiasm, Victoria began to sort ways of bringing her brand to the knowledge of the broader public.
Now you may ask; what does Telare do? And what is its elaboration process? This brand has been included mainly for its ideology and philosophy: recycling and sustainability. One of the most crucial questions for Victoria was what humans could do from their positions in society to take care of their immediate environment?” She has found her answer.
Telare is what it had to be, a new way of seeing the “garbage of fashion.” From contests and music festivals such as Lollapalooza, Telare began to be presented as a brand and not as Victoria Cerón. The first real and concise production of Telare was made for Lollapalooza, Chile, where the interior billiards were lined with packing tape (disposable material) and the exterior with fabric. Within days, the fabrics were sold.
Soon enough, she went on to make wallets, and the idea of wallets turned to be a successful one. Telare soon began to reinforce its central ideology: “TO RECYCLE.”
It was so in that same event, the Lollapalooza, that two containers were strategically positioned for people to leave clothing items that were useless to them and were willing to dispose of. Later, Telare would regenerate something new with all the clothing materials left. That was a smart way to generate resources — an important method of contributing to the building a sustainable new world.
In no time, people began to find meaning in the project and began to donate a lot of clothes that they found useless. These materials, which were previously hilarious garments, were used for weaving and producing new, and even better artifacts.
In Telare, the development process consists of four cyclic steps: The fabrics are manually cut stripe-like forms, looms are cut in lengths that fit the size of the expected product (the type of loom vary depending on the product in mind), a warp is made, and knitting is done one step at a time. The first outcomes of this act, just like every other first product, were untidy and unprofessional, but as Victoria perfected her craft, she found a way to make them look more attractive and perfectly fitting into different fabrics irrespective of the original make and style. This technology applied by Victoria for Telare making is called “the Maple Map Technique,” a peculiar attribute of Latin American history.
The purpose of this project is that there is no type of fabric decay. Thus, every fabric can be recycled, and every square inch is used to make even more beautiful products. For this reason, Victoria created a union between the threads of fabric such that every strand was a part of the new masterpiece.
As an entrepreneur, creating the Telare brand was an experiment to Victoria. Each new fabric that appeared within the options was a new challenge. For her, it was a fabric to loom and create a piece of cushion, a blanket, or a purse. After several years of commitment and experience working with patterned fabrics, Telare had its explosive moment. From interviews to conferences, the world of Telare and its vision towards recycling fabrics entered the world of sustainability. Interests geared up within the fashion industry as major brands grew interested in the new fashion style brand. Soon enough, these leading brands found a use for waste fabrics as they made contact with the Telare brand to help recycle them into better products.
Telare proposed two ways to participate with the brand: privately, giving individuals the chance of investing their clothes into the project. Victoria would transform their clothes into a piece of new woven product, and the person kept the resulting product. In this case, the owner of the fabric will pay for Victoria’s effort and time. The second way was through ‘marks,’ where big brands gave Victoria disposable fabrics which she used to generate products as a capsule collection for the brand itself. An obvious example is that of the capsule collection that he made with the brand @domingoesdomingo, where the designer, Agustina Alvez, gave her all the fabric delays that had discarded. Victoria created new products for Domingo es Domingo. And that’s how a new mini-collection was created between Domingo es Domingo and Telare. These two are the clearest examples of Telare’s primary objectives. Whether you are an individual or a brand, Victoria seeks to make people aware that nothing is lost and everything can be made into something new.
Over the years, she began to transmit this new way of recycling garments for people who were interested in the loom and in building a new world of sustainable fabrics.
In these six years, she visited countries, including Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, inspiring and teaching about her project. Years after, she held his first fashion show in Chile, where she made all dresses, bags, and clothes of different strokes and types of texture for the runway models, all done with discards.
Awesome, what do you think? Everything is used, and there was not a piece of cloth that was discarded. Today, the two objectives of this project; sustainability and recycling are still valid.
The project has been working for individuals, who want to transform their old garments into backpacks, or bed blankets and also with clothing brands to create capsule collections with the delays of producing fabrics. Victoria is a creator, a visionary, and above all, an entrepreneur with concern for her immediate environment.
In Telare you can find bags, interwoven clothes with fabrics, wallets, and all decorative fabrics. The next goal of Victoria and Telare is to work with great brands to help recycle the enormous pile of production fabric delays and create new products out of them.
“I think this concept is very important. I am trying to convey what it is, to take charge of our textile waste. To be aware of what we are buying, and what we do when we no longer use it. The same with brands, what are brands doing with their textile garbage? All those pieces of cloth that no longer serve you. Where are you going? We must begin to visualize what is happening.”