20 Oct, 2013 | Alexandra Meleán

Culture, Art and Urban living

Fashion designers Valeria Wilde and Carola Valdivia experiment with eco-friendly fashion in Bolivia, introducing ZEF, a recycled clothing brand launching this November. Bolivian Express gets an exclusive interview along with a sneak preview of ZEF’s spring fashion line.

BX: Why ‘ZEF’?

Z: The first time we heard the word ‘ZEF’ was in an interview with Die Antwoord (an experimental South African rap-rave group). ZEF has taken different connotations throughout time and in distinct regions. The word, which roughly means ‘common,’ symbolizes being proud of your own essence, the ability to have style without money and expressing your inner self in every external aspect. To accept the idea of selling second-hand clothing, which has been redesigned, will be difficult in Bolivia. In comparison to European countries, where these trends and tendencies thrive, Bolivia still has prejudices about buying second-hand.

BX: How was ZEF born?

Z: We shop second-hand. You can find true, hidden gems, and make modifications without the remorse of over-spending when you thrift recycled clothing. You have unique pieces, and the best part is the feeling of knowing you aren’t paying more than necessary. ZEF reuses materials, combines textures, rescues unique fabrics, transforms them and makes clothing consciously.

BX: What does fashion mean to you?

Z: Art. Expression. A world of creation: fashion is a reflection of the context and environment we live in.

BX: What is the first step you take to design new articles of clothing? How much time does it take to design one article of clothing?

Z: We let our imagination guide us and allow us to stop thinking. We start to play with colours, patterns, textures and fabrics, leaving behind our limits. It could be said the process lasts from a week to various months. Details vary. We change buttons, add elements and interchange fabrics depending on the article of clothing.

BX: What influences your designs?
Z: Inspiration comes from the seasons, from day-to-day situations, from a song or something on TV, a phrase from a book, a look on the street or a state of mind. We accumulate these things subconsciously, reflecting them in every item we design.

BX: What market are you aiming at?

Z: We design for 18 to 35 year old women above all, but we will also be introducing items for men. We market our clothing to a more alternative audience who support emerging trends and designs. We will not design expensive clothing, but keep in mind we are not only selling used clothing like some stores. We work individually with each piece, dedicating time and adding necessary details so that we will be satisfied with the end result. Our efforts represent the final result.

BX: Where can we buy your clothing?

Z: We will be posting details on Facebook when the line is ready in November. Later on, we would love to open a store.



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