Fashion Brand Dona Rufina Marca to offer Innovative, Sustainable Alternative to Felt

Dona Rufina Marca seeks to reinsert raw material into fashion and design markets

Dona Rufina, a ‘slow-fashion’ company, founded and managed by designer Luciana Bulcão and participated mainly by local women, aims to preserve and enhance the Brazilian Pampa cultural tradition and protect the environment. Dona Rufina’s first collection of bags, shoes, and accessories was a tribute to the women described by the famous Brazilian writer Érico Veríssimo. It was born from Luciana Bulcão’s travels in the southern region of Bagé and Lavras do Sul, where she met the artisans’ custodians of this tradition. 

In 2021, Dona Rufina Marca will offer raw material wool transformed into felt as a sustainable and innovative alternative in the fashion sector and the automotive and civil construction sectors. The felt is thermally insulated, anti-inflammatory, non-flammable and biodegradable making it an excellent replacement for animal skins and synthetics. The felt is sold in blankets of varying thicknesses, which can be used to create any different types of products such as clothes, shoes, furniture, and decoration.

« Wool was losing its value as a raw material. Young women didn’t have the same interest as their grandmothers in this ancient artisanal knowledge, » explains the designer, who with this project reactivated local economies and promoted female empowerment. « We believe that the way we produce and consume says a lot about us and how we want to build the future. »

The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of CO2 emissions and 20% of global water waste. Cotton production alone consumes 24% of insecticides and 11% of pesticides used in agriculture, covering 3% of the global cultivate area. Poverty, unsustainable working conditions, and gender issues are closely related to this industry, employing 80% women (Source UNECE).

Dona Rufina Marca uses wool as its primary raw material and seeks to reinsert raw material into the fashion and design market.  Raw materials with low environmental impact are used at every stage of production to respect the timing of things and the natural characteristics. The characteristics of materials and manual processes are part of an ecologically conscious and socially engaged universe. The brand works from the processing of wool, going through all stages of transformation and marketing formats: wicks, tops, threads, and felting, as well as the production of bags and accessories made of wool.

The raw material felt now offered by Dona Rufina Marca is certified by Friend of the Earth. Products carrying Friend of the Earth Sustainable Fashion ecolabel undergo a rigorous independent audit process to verify compliance with strict sustainability requirements, including protecting wild fauna and flora; appropriate management of water, energy, and waste; social accountability.

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