Our Future Designers programme, launched this year, is a direct response to the global pandemic. Regional designers are facing barriers to information and support that would help bring their business acumen and wider industry knowledge on par with their creative talent. We have granted 15 emerging designers hailing from South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Georgia, US, Japan, Germany and Denmark access to both WGSN Insight and Fashion for one year.
WGSN’s data-backed design inspiration and consumer insight can prove invaluable to those starting out on their creative journey, to navigate current challenges, adapt to meet the demands of a changing consumer, and build upon existing foundations and achieve sustained success. This cohort of Future Designers will also benefit from a personal call from WGSN fashion strategists to provide insight in response to the designers’ particular business challenges and priorities.
In the first of our series of Q&As with these Future Designers, meet CAALO.
Tell us about your brand
Fusing luxury with future-focused thinking, CAALO is a modern collection of transformable, trans-seasonal pieces that are expertly crafted from the highest quality, cutting edge materials and are non-gender specific. CAALO is driven by thoughtful design, innovative fabrics and sustainability practices. Each piece is meticulously crafted from Italian or Japanese fabrics and is sustainably produced in small runs in New York City’s Garment District to ensure the highest level of construction, and to support the local fashion economy. For us, it’s about being thoughtful throughout the entire garment life cycle.
What drives you?
To create a design that is timeless, protects one from the ever-changing environment and stands the test of time in aesthetic, construction and tailoring is the ultimate goal. By using new technologies in material science and construction, we are able to reimagine the silhouette of warmth. Our fabrics fuse technical functionality with tailoring and are specifically designed for extremely cold, wet conditions. Our outerwear pieces are some of the warmest on the market without having any of the bulkiness of traditional winter coats.
What and who are you designing for?
Shaped by both of our upbringings in Canada, we desired to combine the idea of luxury tailoring with technical, futuristic materials and transformable design. Each piece is designed with function, adaptability, environmental & social responsibility and craftmanship in mind. Function forms design. Born in New York, inspired by nature.
What are you most proud of and why?
We are very proud to have produced 100% of our collections with sustainable factories. Even though it can be a challenge finding ethical factories that are able to handle our technical fabrics and complicated construction techniques, we feel very proud to partner with factories that share our sustainability ethos. We also use many recycled fabrics and 100% of our Down is RDS Certified, which means among other things, it is sourced as a byproduct of the food industry. We look forward to moving the remainder of our fabrics to being 100% sustainable as innovations in materials are developed with the same functional and aesthetic quality that we demand for all our fabrications.
Share the sustainable steps that you are taking
At CAALO, we believe that taking the entire garment life cycle into account is extremely important. Our style ethos was founded on thoughtful design that is ethically produced, is not designed around trends or disposable fashion and is constructed to last many lifetimes. Our ultimate goal is to see our designs passed down from generation to generation, giving them new life and avoiding being victim to a landfill.
We have made a conscious choice to only partner with sustainable factories. These factories are located in New York’s Garment District, close to our core market, which reduces our CO2 footprint and helps support our local economy. We also produce in small runs allowing our team to partner with local artisans, reduce waste, and maintain our extremely high standard of quality.
We use recycled fabrics throughout the collection including real-feel recycled suede, recycled poly created from plastic recovered from the Mediterranean Sea and RDS & OEKO-TEX certified sustainable down.
What has being a brand owner taught you?
There’s so much more to having a successful brand then just creating a beautiful collection. Every part of the business, from your sustainability efforts to inventory management; your social presence to budgeting, is all equally important. Being independently owned means you’re wearing many hats and are constantly putting out fires. The more success you have, the more tough choices you have to make. It’s very important to surround yourself with people who can guide and mentor you along the way. Being based in New York we feel very lucky to have an amazing network of people in the industry that are incredibly generous with their advice and time.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Tell your friends and family about CAALO!