Interview with Tildè

Tildè is a young brand based in Bruxelles, that creates unique garments out of unused Silk Sarees, sourced directly in India. Mathilde Sèchet, the founder of Tildè, personally makes a selection of the fabrics that have the most Indian looking prints, to turn them into modern and unique pieces. The production of these garments is in India, where the tailors perfectly know how to stitch this fine and coloured fabrics.

What does Tildè do? Since when?

Tildè was born in June 2018, when I came across with these amazing unused Silk Sarees as I was travelling in Rajasthan, India.
At first, I never thought I would eventully create a Slow Fashion brand, that sells unique pieces made of upcycled Silk Sarees. 
I say unique, because form a Saree it is possible to create just few pieces (one to three maximum), so when they are sold out, it is not possible to create more items!

For what concerns the production, I work with a small family owned workshop directly in India and I sell my products through different channels, both online and in physical shops.

Ph: Silk Crop Top & Shorts, Silk Kimono, Silk Blouse.
Source: Tildè website, https://tildeclothing.com.
All the products displayed are obtained from limited amount of fabric, therefore they might not be available anymore. Visit Tildè website to check the products still available
, and if you like something, be quick!

How did you come up with this idea? 

I previously worked in organic agriculture and organic textiles fields, where I took awareness of the pollution caused by the fashion industry. I wanted to have a brand that could help promoting Slow Fashion.
I first started by taking information about Indian organic cotton, and it happened that the suppliers showed me the vintage Silk Sarees. The idea of using high quality material that already exists is fascinating for me, because I don’t want to have new fabrics produced just for me, when there is already a lot of fine and high quality one that nobody uses. 
This is how the idea of Tildè was born.

How do you select the raw materials?

This is one of my favourite parts!
The fabrics come from India and Pakistan. The workshop I partnered with makes a pre selection of Silk Sarees, based on the type of fabric (we pick only the highest quality fabric, usually silk), my personal taste and the pattern. 
For example it can happen that I would like to create a collection mainly with flowers pattern, so they select mainly Sarees with this feature.
Then I open and check each bundle again and make a second selection and then by watching the pattern I decide which garment it will become. 
So there is a true selection for each Saree! 

Every Saree has a unique design and can be turned into a limited amount of garments, that’s why each of them becomes a unique edition item. 
If it goes sold out, I can’t just order it again, because the Saree fabric is limited and unique. 

Who’s in charge of the conception (creative part) and design (technical part)?

I usually select the colours and prints I like most and those I think have the most typical Indian prints.
When I watch a Saree, depending on its pattern, I imagine which item it can become. 
It is important to pay attention to the Saree design, because the shape of the future garments depends on it.

I always get the help of the tailors, which create with me the prototypes and help me with the design. Sometimes it happens that I would like to create a certain item out of a Saree but they tell me it is not possible, because of the previous stitching or of the conditions of the Silk. 
We then find together an alternative that allows us to transform the Saree in beautiful garments.

I truly spend time with the people I work with: last time I spent 3 weeks in India before the launch of the collection!
The workshop I work with is family owned, and I know personally most of the people that work there! 

I spend a lot of time with them and we often eat together and they are really helpful with me. There is a lot of trust between us, which is key to our business relation.
I built a true relationship with them, because I believe that if you are able to speak fairly and frankly at work, it is also easier to obtain the best results and a serene working environment.

Why did you decide to produce your items in India?

I truly love India and I travel there a lot, and I feel I owe something to this country. I want to give back to this country at least a fraction of what it has given to me.

Also, to produce where the fabrics have been sourced, seems the most logical solution to me: first, the fabrics come from India; second, there is not much sense in making a garment traveling around the world to undergo stitching or other production phases, when Indian tailors actually have the expertise to work with these fabrics.
Most of people think that, since a garment is Made in India, it has a low quality and the people who made it have been exploited. 
I have been often asked the question “Why don’t you produce in Portugal rather than in India?”. What people do not know is that, if a fabric has been made in Europe, this does not necessarily mean that the workers conditions are safe and fair. 

I selected with attention the workshop I collaborate with. It took me almost 2 years to find it, because I wasn’t satisfied neither with the quality of the stitching, nor with the working standards of the other workshops.
I carefully selected the one with good working conditions and they are paid a fair salary. Moreover, the artisans here have an incredible expertise, and they can give me amazing advices about the garments: sometimes it happens that I would like to produce a certain type of garment out of a Saree, but they tell me it is not possible and we find together a solution, to create the best item possible out of fine but unwanted Silk fabric. 

Ph: Silk Blouse, Silk Bomber Jackets.
Source: Tildè website, https://tildeclothing.com.
All the products displayed are obtained from limited amount of fabric, therefore they might not be available anymore. Visit Tildè website to check the products still available, and if you like something, be quick!

Your prices are really fair, compared to other brands. Why and how do you keep such prices?

I don’t really want to compare myself with other brands. One of my goals, when I launched Tildè first collection in 2019, was to make Slow Fashion affordable to most of the people.
I want to have prices that are fair for me and that allow my business to be financially sustainable.

On Tildé website, under each product, we can find a section “Who made this product” : what’s the reason behind it?

Transparency is a key pillar to me, so I want people to acknowledge what’s behind each garment and who actually made them. Moreover, people make wrong and bad assumptions when they read Made in India, so I want to make clear that the working and human conditions are safe and fair.

It is important for people to understand that there is a lot of work and effort behind a garment, and that each piece represents also the passion and the story of the people who made it.
If you know what’s behind clothes, you can start to value them more and buy and use consciously.

This work is a kind of adventure, where you learn by doing every day. I want people to be part of this amazing adventure by giving them as many details I can about the design and the making of clothes! 
The more information they get, the more they want to have and the more they can feel part of a community.

Moreover, there is a lot of greenwashing nowadays, so being transparent is the key to differentiate from brands that claim to be sustainable but are not.

Where can we find the Tildé collections? 

There are several selling channels at the moment: I have a showroom here in Brussels, where I’m based, where I can meet my customers, and it is also possible to buy online on Tildè website.
I am now selling to shops, expanding also to other European countries.
And who knows, maybe Italy can be next!

What is your mission?

The mission of Tildè is to provide an alternative to fast fashion, by offering sustainable, ethically made and good quality items at fair prices. 


Here’s the link to Tildè website: https://tildeclothing.com.
You can watch the full video interview on The Green Runway Instagram profile: https://www.instagram.com/thegreenrunway/.

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