Zilver, the ‘Planet-Friendly’ Label Making Clothes Based on Zodiac Signs

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Zilver Spring/Summer 2020 SS20 Campaign Hugo Comte
Zilver Spring/Summer 2020Photography by Hugo Comte

Pedro Lourenço’s recently founded label Zilver is creating sustainable clothes fit for the future. Here, he talks about his latest collection, titled Gemini

  1. Who is it? Zilver, the three-seasons-old label from Brazilian designer Pedro Lourenço
  2. Why do I want it? Meticulously re-designed classics in sustainable fabrics with transparent supply chains
  3. Where can I find it? The S/S20 collection will be available on Zilver’s e-store and various worldwide stockists in November; A/W19 is available now

Who is it? As a teenager, Pedro Lourenço was something of a fashion prodigy: in 2010, the Brazilian designer presented an eponymous collection at Paris Fashion Week, aged just 19. It was met with wide acclaim – “a precociously accomplished, startlingly directional collection,” wrote American Vogue’s Sarah Mower – and drew comparisons with fellow wunderkind Nicolas Ghesquière, then enjoying a successful reign at Balenciaga. Several eponymous collections followed, in which he refined a rigorous, architectural approach to design (one early collection was inspired by Oscar Niemeyer), before the label shut in 2015. In 2016, he became the first-ever creative director of La Perla. 

After brief stint at the underwear label, Lourenço took a two-year sabbatical from fashion – pursuing his parallel passion, photography, instead – before launching Zilver, a gender-nonspecific concept label with sustainability and social responsibility at its heart, in September last year. “It took me years before I realised my generation has a calling, which is to take action towards creating more responsible ways of producing and healthier patterns of consuming,” Lourenço tells AnOther. “It’s why I wanted to establish a new brand, to make a long-term commitment to be part of this revolution. It’s a process, but it will only happen if everyone starts making a change.” (Asked why it’s so crucial now: “the best person to answer that is Greta [Thunberg],” he says.)

His first collection, presented via lookbook, challenged the traditional hessian-and-hemp connotations of sustainability: meticulously designed, in organic cotton, leather and recyled fabrics, the garments have a sharp aesthetic and adrenaline shot of sex appeal (a jean might be entirely cut-out at the thigh; a leather mini, split at the front, and based on the construction of a Perfecto biker jacket). A sophomore collection followed, in which de- and reconstructed denim drew on photographer Karlheinz Weinberger’s book Rebel Youthand outerwear, in recycled nylon, could be entirely transformed by opening and closing a series of metal zips. “I want people to feel at easy, prepared and sexy,” he says of his clothing.

Each of these collections was named after a sign from the astrological calendar – Aries and Taurus accordingly – on which Lourenço has based the foundations of his label. “Zodiac signs are comprehensive; they are symbolic, so do not limit my imagination nor tie me down to particular interpretations; they are gender neutral; they are cross-cultural,” he says.

Why do I want it? Today, Lourenço reveals his Spring/Summer 2020 collection on AnOthermag.com, captured in a series of images by French photographer Hugo Comte. The designer’s third collection for Zilver, it is named after and inspired by the third sign of the zodiac, Gemini. “The mechanisms that allow us to identify with cultural movements – and create in us a sense of belonging – are heavily influenced by the Gemini archetype,” Lourenço explains. “So I imagined a typical Gemini environment to be like a music festival; one where you can find a great mixture of characters who play around with different cultural references.”

As such, the collection draws on a series of music-festival characters – the mystic, the punk, the surfer, the cowboy – their subcultural uniforms reinterpreted with space-age precision (Lourenço says that Star Trek was one reference point). There is a clean-lined take on the punk’s leather biker jacket, in vegan apple leather, inspired by Donald Judd’s minimal 1970s furniture; or cowboy denim jeans, coated in a futuristic nylon-silk hybrid, which gives them the appearance of water. Other pieces evolve as they are worn: a trench coat, becomes a suit jacket, becomes a gilet, via zips which run along the back. Pieces can be mixed and matched, or worn atop one another, to create hybrid garments.

But the real appeal comes when you look at the care label inside the garment: there, listed, will be the various sustainable fabrics Lourenço has used to construct the collection (or, “planet-friendly fabrics”, as he deems sexier). Whether highly GOTS-certified organic cotton, recycled nylon and traceable wool, NewlifeTM yarns (made from recycled plastic bottles) or vegan apple leather, which is made from the leftover pulp of apple juice production, Lourenço keeps environmental consciouness at the heart of his label, and the way he designs his collections.

It makes investing in sustainability a simple task: at Zilver, Lourenço is making clothing which looks like the future – and protects it, too.

Where can I find it? The S/S20 collection will be available at Alter Fate, Boon the Shop, Browns, Farfetch, Galleries Lafayette, H Lorenzo, Machine-A and zilver.com this November.