Take 5 with... Paul Donati from Catching A Fish In Norway!
Whoever said sustainability rarely reaches streetwear - we are here to prove you wrong! In the short “take 5…” series interview this week, we take five with Paul Donati from Catching a Fish in Norway, a UK-based brand going full on ethical, fair-trade and no-cruelty streetwear fashion. Intrigued? You should be!
1. To start off, please tell us a little bit about yourself, your background and how you ended up doing what you do.
My name is Paul Donati, I'm 24 years old and live/work in London. When I was at University, I was looking for ethical alternatives to my usual clothes but at the time found it pretty much impossible to find something ethical, affordable, and actually wearable.
I set up CAFIN as a fair-trade alternative raising difficult questions on our clothing consumption, questions that many people still find taboo. I believe that the whole fashion industry needs a radical change, and that the way that we produce and consume clothes needs to be entirely transformed.
2. What does CAFIN stand for and why did you choose this interesting name for your brand?
We work alongside illustrators, designers and photographers to raise awareness of some of the issues up-and-coming artists face. CAFIN stands for Catching A Fish In Norway - we see young designers as 'small fish' in the deep, dark lake of 'fashion krakens'. CAFIN aims to help these 'small fish' out by promoting and collaborating with them. In terms of branding and manufacturing, we use Scandinavian values of ecological wellbeing to design sleek and high quality streetwear, with artists in mind.
3. How does CAFIN define sustainability?
Today we care more about animal cruelty and welfare, as well as the environmental consequences of consuming meat. Veganism is on the rise. We also know, too, that in order to be sustainable we can still buy meat, but in smaller quantities and of higher ecological quality. People regularly buy poor quality clothing from dubious origins. If people were to buy huge quantities of CAFIN clothing only to throw it away, then CAFIN, too would be unsustainable. It's our consumerism that makes today's fashion industry the way it is. In order to make any product sustainable, we need to change our consumer habits - to become more informed on what we're buying, how much we're buying, and making the effort to make our clothes last longer. As you may now make informed choices over the types of food you eat, it is time to ask important question on the origins of the clothes (and moreover all products) we buy.
4. How hard, or how easy, is it to be a sustainable and ethical brand nowadays?
Thanks to movements like CAFIN (or, more importantly, the Fashion Revolution), people are more aware of fast fashion and willing to spend a little more for a guilt-free purchase. With more demand for fair-trade alternatives I would say it is becoming less challenging from an economic perspective. The key challenge facing ethical brands these days is guaranteeing suppliers are transparent in their practices and that the brand is transparent too. By illuminating what goes on behind the scenes, brands can better identify what areas need to be improved and then find innovative solutions to tackle them. To quote Fashion Revolution, "transparency shines a light on issues often kept in the dark".
5. Do you have and inspirations or personal heroes that you could share with us?
Our man Pat Macdonald, the brains behind our fish and the inspiration for our brand. Check him out!