We had the pleasure of chatting with Nahir Sarsur, sustainability advocate and creator of the soon-to-launch brand MEÜNE.
Heavily inspired by her travels, Nahir aims to represent diverse voices within her work. MEÜNE is a beautiful manifestation of Nahir’s diverse experiences and her passion for change. The brand’s advocacy for slow-fashion is noteworthy. MEÜNE will exist 100% ethically, as the brand puts social, economic, and ecological factors into consideration.
Until the launch of MEÜNE, you can follow their journey via instagram and be inspired by an alluring feed. We eagerly anticipate the launch of MEÜNE.
What inspired you to create your brand?
Hmm.. The “mess” and incongruent ways in the modern world? After my first work experience in a classic office job, in an investment bank, I felt something was wrong in how people were treated, the purpose of
being there and how mechanized the work was. There was no human creative insight or fulfillment. We were basically working long hours to fill big corporations’ pockets, whatever it took. Discrimination, forced competition, injustice, exploitation, etc. it happens all the time just around the corner, even in “high ranked” professions. We don’t need to go very far to find it. When I quit the job, I wasn’t really aware about how I felt about the situation, it just didn’t feel right and there was something about it that saddened and madden me, a lot. Then I started traveling and I met people from different backgrounds, with diverse life stories, projects and dreams. This opened a whole new window for me. At that moment, I realized I wanted to work for a change, to get involved in a mission that matter. I wanted to help people and challenge the status quo the way I could, because it was no longer tolerable for me. It came first to my mind the artisans in danger of disappearance and living in poverty. I thought of all the indigenous communities of weavers across Latin American Andes. I’ve never been much of a fashion person, but I do love art and craftsmanship, and somewhere in between I realized we can do art through fashion, and if I can help them this way, then I’m in, whatever it takes. Living in Paris, held me close to the clothing industry, there is a deep rooted cultural affection for fashion, so the idea of starting a clothing brand fitted perfectly my purpose: Bringing a millenarian weaving culture, full of
craftsmanship and deeply connected with nature, and as of today ignored, back to life. I want to prove sustainable fashion with a cause is possible, and more important, is necessary.
What is your brand’s mission statement?
To go back to the essential things that really matter for us in life, as humans. How? Leading by the example: Learn, to be aware. Get inspired, to be motivated. Get Involved, to realize you make a difference. Take action, to make yours the mission you fight for.
What does “slow fashion” look like at MEÜNE?
We are ambitious. We want to tackle as much as sustainable agendas we
can. There are 4 in total: Ecological, Social, Cultural and Economic.
Ecological: We only work with natural and environmentally low impact fibers. For the main garment in denim we source high quality certified OrganicCotton dyed with vegetal indigo using reusable filtered water. Eco-washed with ozone. For the artisanal décor, we source responsible Alpaca Wool, naturally washed and dyed, with natural pigments and rain water. We stablished a short production process where the denim fabric is sourced
and manufactured in Italy and France, in environmentally and ethically
responsible ateliers. Artisanal fabrics comes from Peru only 2 times a year to minimize carbon footprint. It’s on demand manufacturing to avoid waste and we offer free repairing for life. Customers will have a member card to return their clothes when they no longer use them in exchange for a discount voucher. The returned clothes will be either sold as second hand or recycled. We also have a 1 year renting system to put in place for some pieces. Social: We help indigenous communities from the Andes to thrive, working directly with them, and they are remunerated accordingly with the national established fair wage. They handcraft woven wool fabrics and the whole wool process is done by hand within the communities. Manufacturing ateliers are also respectful of the workers’ rights. All our creations will have the personal story of the person involved in the weaving, this is our way to show people who they are and who made their clothes. Cultural: Our mission has its fundamentals in working for a change. We use the little power we have to help the fashion transformation. Starting with our social media, our purpose is to use those platforms to help people becoming more aware about the issues within the fashion industry and which are the values we should prioritize. Our statement is to go back to essentials leading by the example, to what really matters for us as humans, and this is what we intent to communicate. Economic: We only work with socially responsible ateliers and we prioritize the artisanal work as per our wool fabrics, where the whole process is made by hand employing several communities. Our manufacturing process is long and costs are higher because there’s a lot of human work involved and respected in terms of breaks, remuneration, work environment and well-being of the workers.
Could you describe the social, economic, and ecological goals of your
This question is largely answered before. Social: To help people who are ignored, victims of the modern model and struggling to live. Economic: To employ hands, over machines. Ecological: To reduce environmental impact as low as we can. Through the whole production process.
What tips can you give consumers about shopping sustainable?
1 LEARN! If we ignore the issues in clothing industry, chances are
we will not know how to shop sustainable. 2 Ask these questions to yourself before choosing any brand: Are there right things celebrated? Are there right structures in place to achieve change? Do the right people hold the power? Is investment being made in the things that really matter? 3 Always prioritize quality over quantity. Do the math in terms of cost per usage: the price you pay/how many times you use it. Fast fashion at the end cost people more money as the life time is significantly shorter. 4 Buy second-hand, pre-loved is perfect! 5 Choose stories over pieces. Go for creations that has an utter story to tell. AND… Never throw away your clothes! Reuse, recycle, give or sell.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
I can say from life experiences and my personality: I’m a mix of cultures, I love art and my heart stands with nature, its colors and its complex simplicity (a beautiful oxymoron). I’m from Argentina and like many Argentinians, our great grandfathers and great grandmothers came from all over the world. In my case, even though I never met any of them, my ascending roots are Italian, Portuguese, French and Arab. That’s a lot! In my life, I got to travel a lot and I’ve learnt to love other cultures and languages, this is something that has always fascinated me. I can say my designs come in creations full of art, authenticity, originality, simplicity and nature.
What materials and fabrics will you work with?
This is an exclusive denim brand with an original touch of handcrafted woven wool fabrics. So, cotton, and alpaca wool. We’d love to use hemp denim in the future, we are looking for options!
What can we expect from MEÜNE after its launch?
I hope for the best, haha! Plenty of unique artful creations deep rooted in
nature and its earthy colors!
What do you see for the future of sustainable fashion?
COURAGE! I see a light increasingly bigger at the end of the tunnel. The whole world and moreover the younger generations are becoming much aware about this issue and taking steps through the fashion transformation. We’ll make it!