The narratives of fashion focus only on mass production and innovations. Italian designer handbag brand Modher shifts the conversation to the importance of sustainability. Based in San Francisco, Modher takes a step to re-write the future of fashion.
Where Fashion Industry Is At: Price of the Sector’s Economic Growth
As an industry, fashion goes a long way back. What started as a mere necessity – the formality of dressing and being presentable – turned into a form of expression and means through which people communicate to their surroundings. Thus, fashion’s ability to respond to the ever-changing market allows the industry to establish economic and cultural relevance in today’s society. Currently, the fashion industry is one of the biggest and fastest-growing industries in the world. It has an estimated value of 400 billion dollars. But, has it achieved to progress?
While it is true that the fashion industry has grown the world’s economy faster than many other sectors, it is the second most polluting industry in the world. The ability to mass-produce luxury trends at low prices and with no restrictions has created more negative externalities than what its profitability could account for. Its quick response in manufacturing, operating under a quantity instead of a quality method, produces 1.5 billion new clothing pieces every year (The Ugly Truth of Fast Fashion, 00:11:25 – 00:13:15). Around 80% of leather worldwide is tanned using chrome — a highly toxic process that releases significant poisonous waste into waterways and seriously harms industrial tannery workers. (Edwards, 2016).
(Image from Voyage LA)
Modher: A Sustainable Future for the Luxury Segment
Modher’s mission is to keep the carbon footprints of leather craftsmanship as low as possible, while at the same time producing luxurious handbags and accessories. The brand exclusively works with suppliers from small family-owned companies who follow the Italian leather tradition and whose procedure cycles. Modher strictly monitors the suppliers to ensure the lowest environmental impact. The substances Modher uses are recovered, recycled, and reused, transforming them into agricultural fertilizer or bricks for construction, giving their process more purpose and less waste.
Most importantly, while Modher is committed to reducing the carbon contamination from the processes of the craftsmanship of luxury goods, the brand is also committed to reducing carbon contamination from the entire production chain of the meat and dairy industry. No animal is killed in making their products; instead, Modher uses the leather that would otherwise be discarded by the food industry. Modher turns what once was considered waste into beautiful, long-lasting, luxury handbags.
Plus, Modher chooses to ship their packages inside 100% cotton dust bags with recycled gift cardboard and chlorine-free paper. The brand opts for carbon-neutral shipments to the USA to avoid further contamination transforming the entire shopping experience into a more conscious and sustainable one.
(Image from Voyage LA)
Gianna Caravello: The Mastermind Behind Modher
Behind the brand is the Italian fashion designer Gianna Caravello. Embedded with art, tradition, and culture, she looked for ways through which her designs could complement and reflect the Italian Imagery’s values and inspirations.
“I soon realized how our choices in clothing and accessories communicate both explicit and implicit messages; particular meanings are dependent on context, culture, and wearer.” (Caravello, 2019).
Caravello pursued a Master’s Degree in design in Milan and started her career as an interior designer. Eventually, she started working as a digital designer. It wasn’t until Caravello moved to San Francisco that she decided to start her career from scratch and focus on what she was passionate about —fashion. Now, Modher represents her personality, culture, and artistic development and the meaningful development of a career that seeks to nurture sustainability and art.
“The path is still long, I am only at the beginning of it, but as I did so far, I will try to use any struggle as an opportunity to improve.”
Next up, read about TRVL Porter — a fashion start-up that offers its clients a customized, stress-free styling experience while traveling.
By Bernarda Chiriboga