‘Stories from the Faraway Land: Armila’, 2019 Clothing, organic cotton
Alisa Ruzavina is a community and sustainability-focused fashion and textiles designer, who is currently
investigating redesigning social systems surrounding fashion and textile industries on MA Material Futures
and has graduated from BA Fashion Print, both at Central Saint Martins.
Her work focuses on creating ways in which clothing and textiles can serve as catalysts for co-design, positive
social change and increased care for the environment, as she believes that these aspects cannot exist without
Alisa’s signature colourful and upbeat style uses bold relatable imagery to break down complex spiritual and
ecological concerns of our time, encouraging the use of clothing and textiles as a tool for activism accessible
to all. Her sustainability-driven approach is also reflected in carefully sourced and treated materials for all of her
work, only using discarded and organic sources.
Lately she has been working on social development projects with indigenous artisan communities in Guna Yala, Panama and Tamil Nadu, India.
About the work:
“Stories from the Faraway Land: Armila” is a collaborative collection fully co-designed with a community of artisans of indigenous village of Guna Yala, Panama.The collection is an outcome of the bigger project Alisa is running in the village, helping a group of 30 indigenous artisan women to set up a textile cooperative, and researching ways in which craft can be used as a tool for climate change education and action for both the makers and the viewers. The project is possible thanks to the support from British Council Crafting Futures scheme.
Work with the cooperative involves sharing numerous informative skills, capacity and design development workshops to with time ensure artisans’ total autonomy when working for a global market, working towards rethinking the designer-artisans hierarchies so prevalent in the fashion industry.
At the heart of the project is ecological conservation, so the focus has been on sharing information and tools with village’s artisans and children to help develop internal and external interest, awareness and action in response to environmental changes these maker’s land is affected by, as well as helping artisans transition to local organic cotton supply.
Collection’s appliqué designs are based off the drawings made by Guna Yala children during environmental art workshops composed specifically for the local school, keeping the design origin in the ownership of the community itself from the very start. The collection is co-designed and made together with the cooperative. All pieces are made out of Latin American organic cotton as a mono-material for easier recyclability, and dyed with low-impact dyes in the dye house with a water-management filtering plant.
Each garment is used as a canvas for working through particular environmental themes the community is dealing with, serving as a tool for education and education for both the community and the viewers.
Social Media:@ruzalisa; @niskuamola