Sustainability at Pitti:
Ordinary Disorder
Edition 100
Ordinary Disorder Will Change Your Perception of Sustainable Menswear

Sustainability at Pitti is a series of interviews that celebrate fashion’s climate-conscious innovators. By providing a platform for the designers that put sustainability at the core of their brand, we hope to inspire and lead a wave of change within our industry, helping us all to push for a better future together.

When Eva Schuller founded Ordinary Disorder in 2019, she was on a mission to change people’s idea of responsible menswear. “I always had the impression that many people simply don’t know how great natural garments can feel,” she tells us when we catch up with her to learn more about her brand. “Plenty of people have a certain picture of sustainable garments in mind, mostly ugly beige and green tones, as well as T-shirts or hoodies with big screen prints on. Don’t get me wrong, I love hoodies and T-shirts, but it’s the only picture of sustainable fashion that still exists for many people.”
“Even if some labels recently started developing sustainable streetwear collections and are sourcing sustainably,” she continues, “I was still missing more sustainable, urban options for menswear. With Ordinary Disorder, I wanted to be part of this movement and show a new way of sustainability, [creating] comfortable, simple everyday fashion with a little twist, styles [that] are pretty minimalistic and have some classy influences.”
While many companies concentrate on producing in bulk in order to bank big, for Schuller, slow production is the aim of the game. Her minimal aesthetics paired with a thoughtful approach means that there’s more time for her to concentrate on high-quality materials and, fundamentally, a garment’s appeal. By creating fewer pieces that people will actually want to wear for a long time, she helps to guarantee their longevity — a mindset that, at the crux of it all, is fundamental to lessening the fashion industry’s global impact. 

Keep reading to discover more about ordinary disorder, Schuller’s mindful approach to design, and her top tips for creating a responsible brand. 
What are you showing at Pitti this year? Can you talk us through your collection(s) and the stories behind them?  

We are showing selected items [from] the first two collections: “Urban impressions“ is inspired by clean,  straight architecture and modern city life. Monochrome, cool, and casual, reduced colors and shapes meet soft materials. The collection is made for urban nomads who love catching every occasion the city offers and love the flow of the city, no matter if it’s the design pitch in front of a client or the after-work drink with friends, [they’re] always dressed properly.  

“Urban summer“ is the more colorful line. It’s an ode to the moment where the sun slowly sets and the whole city is bathed in golden light. Those long, endless summer evenings you can comfortably enjoy cool drinks on rooftop terraces, hang out with nice people and just be surprised [by the] adventures the night [comes] up with. This feeling and these pictures were the source of inspiration for the colors and styles of this collection. 
How do you source your textiles? What factors do you consider?   

I source my textiles at fabric fairs or from different companies that produce GOTS certified fabrics, some of them I’ve known for years. For the first collection, I worked together with a small, family-owned German weaving mill that produced fabric from certified organic cotton, especially for Ordinary Disorder. The most important thing for me is that the fabrics are certified (GOTS) / made from certified organic materials or that they are made from sustainable fibers and come from sustainable production. 

Can you talk us through your production process? 

The production process at Ordinary Disorder differs for the product types we are offering. In general, every year I re-evaluate the collection and check which items are missing [or if I] need to expand the collection/stories I would like to work on creatively. The sourcing process takes a lot of resources — all the fabrics I work with need to fulfill certain sustainability requirements. The subsequent step is to develop the first prototypes and check if a garment really fulfills its needs. If it’s approved, a pattern maker takes care of the pattern and the first samples are made, either by one of the freelancers I work with or directly in the production sites. I’m very happy that I found quality-conscious smaller production sites in the neighboring countries of Austria, so the carbon footprint of the garments can be reduced further. 
What are the biggest obstacles you face as a brand in regards to creating responsible collections?  

Doing responsible fashion for me is not only fabric sourcing, it’s also about how and where everything is produced. It is important to me to produce in our surroundings, as close to Vienna as possible, and I really care for the circumstances under which the production happens. Finding the right production partners that meet my expectations and which offer their services at reasonable prices was definitely quite a challenge. But I believe that it’s worth going the extra mile for my label. Also, an increasing amount of customers see the various advantages of such sustainable fashion. But since every brand has its own concept I think everyone is facing different challenges. Of course, there are still some limits to the availability of materials due to sustainable reasons, but that’s getting a lot better every season. 
How do you feel about seasonal showcases? Do you think we still need to present collections in such a way?  

I have mixed feelings about seasonal showcases. Sure, for many people the business needs to go on, and work should continue the way it used to, but we also learned that we need to re-think our resource management and our ways of working. From my point of view, there is still plenty of room for improvement — to slow down and act more responsibly. The high speed at which new collections are being produced can’t be the solution. This is also why I decided to offer annual collections that build modularly upon each other.  

How do you couple an awareness about the fashion industry’s climate impact with designing and creating new products?  

That’s a good question. I had this in mind a lot, not only before creating a new product, [but] before I founded the label. With ordinary disorder, I’m trying to offer a niche product — an urban style made sustainably. Before I produce new garments I always check whether the styles are basic and timeless enough to be worn for a long time and for many occasions, as well as special enough to differ from the mass. When it comes to production, I try to keep the carbon footprint of the garments as low as possible, [including] all transportation and packaging steps, with local production and sourcing as well as using sustainable fabrics. By doing only one collection a year and also trying to produce selected items on demand I avoid overproduction, which I generally see as a huge problem.  

How do you feel about the industry’s current sustainability efforts? What change would you like to see?  

I think the efforts are not enough. I would like to see more slowing down, as everybody was forced to during the last year of the pandemic. I would like to see more awareness of conscious production, less “greenwashing“ of big companies as a marketing trend, and more real transparency. Additionally, more concepts for a circular economy can be developed. From my point of view, there are still too many customers out there that don’t know that if they only pay 9 euros for a T-Shirt somebody else has to pay the price for that.  
Do you have any top tips or words of advice for brands and designers looking to be more responsible in their work?  

To take a close look at where all the different materials and parts are coming from and under which conditions your fabrics and additionals are produced. Communicate openly about what you are doing and how you source, people need and want to learn more about how their garments are made and where they come from. Many customers really care and that’s already a great start.

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