In an era of hashtags, trending keywords and SEO-friendly journalism, bandying words like "sustainability" around has, increasingly, become a bit of a no-brainer for companies that are looking to appear in-tune with the modern zeitgeist – or, in other words, #WOKE.

It's refreshing, then, when a luxury label truly embraces the philosophy transparently and wholly from start to finish – not only by favouring a "less is more" approach to production, but also in championing artisanal and traditional techniques that are falling by the wayside in mass fashion.

A trip to Guatemala changed everything for textile designers Gabriela Luna and Corina del Pinal, inspiring the two women – who, between them, have worked alongside Gareth Pugh, Christopher Kane, and J.W.Anderson – to explore the landscape of age-old weaving processes in a collection that revolves around craftsmanship and slow fashion via a Made To Order business model. 

We spoke to Gabriela and Corina to learn more about their pioneering label, Luna del Pinal...

There are myriad ways to be sustainable in fashion – be it recycling and upcycling, opting for vintage, or tapping into environmentally friendly materials… Where does Made To Order fit into this?
Made To Order is a great way for any company to produce less waste from the beginning; by producing only what is needed, you reduce the amount of clothing that can be wasted. It is also a big part of the "buy less and buy better" way of thinking, which has become increasingly popular amongst consumers who believe in buying sustainable fashion. Made To Order is, simultaneously, good for a company as well – product becomes more exclusive, and it will save money since production is direct and the scale is smaller. At the end of the day, sustainability is the future and anyone who is not adopting it, is really falling behind.

What have you learned from the artisans that you work with in Guatemala? Has your relationship with them guided your philosophy at all?
Working with the Guatemalan artisans is the best part of our company. We have grown to hold a mutual understanding of our aesthetic as our relationship solidifies with each season. The level of respect is very strong and it’s needed for the relationship to work; we have learned that the artisans have traditions and customs that are 100% non-negotiable. We now work our deadlines around that, considering that they are not used to our fast-paced life. Everything that’s artisanal is slowly starting to disappear, because the process for production takes longer and is more expensive. The world is not used to patience. Our brand ethos is to maintain artisanal work, and keep it alive in a beautiful way.

We have also learned to understand and believe in honour as well as “handshake contracts” – since actual contracts are something that they don’t adopt. In the end, it creates a very true and strong human relationship.

In this landscape, what does “luxury” mean to you?
Luxury = Sustainable
Luxury = Ethical
Luxury = Handmade

Luxury is to own a unique handmade garment, made by an artisan who has been mastering their technique for more than 20 years. Sustainable style is a very stereotyped concept in the industry; it’s supposedly boring and ugly. The future of fashion is 100% sustainable – and looks very exciting! Innovation will drive sustainability. Really, we do what we do, because there is no other way.

In case you missed it, read Arizona Muse's interview on The Sustainable Angle.