Hidden Gems - Cecilia Sörensen
IVALO.COM Hidden Gems blog series present the less familiar treasures in our online store selection.
The X-files of sustainable fashion bring you design brands from the future – these names are still unknown for most devoted fashion lovers, too. At the same time we want to help individualistic dressers and rare eco-design find each other.
A Finnish designer Cecilia Sörensen lives in Mallorca and produces soft and timeless feminine fashion.
Sörensen’s journey in sustainable fashion has been long and intriguing. Cecilia started making collections out of recycled clothes and fabrics already 20 years ago. Back then, in the beginning of ‘2000s, most of the consumers still wanted their goods new and unused.
IVALO.COM has fallen in love with the natural style of Cecilia as well as her approach to clothing through message, individuality, and meaningfulness.
Take a closer look at Cecilia’s story in her own words – here’s the designers IVALO.COM blog interview:
Tell us something about yourself as a fashion designer?
”I'm originally from Helsinki, but took off and headed to England to study clothing design and then to Barcelona as an exchange student.
That journey still continues! I have lived in Spain ever since 1999, first in Barcelona and now for the last 4 years here, in a small village at Tramuntana mountains in Mallorca.
My company is very small: just me, my assistant, and a small production unit 20 minutes away from my home. The whole collection is produced individually here in Mallorca."
What does sustainability in clothing design and production mean to you?
Cecilia Sörensen clothing is ethical and locally manufactured. The small production batches prevent overproduction. Cecilia purchases certified high-quality organic fabrics and favors local production – from Barcelona, for example.
Cecilia Sörensen never uses harmful chemicals in her clothing and aims to ditch the seasonal approach in fashion, as well as big discount sales.
”When I launched my collection with the name Cecilia Sörensen in 2002, the whole first collection was made of recycled materials: used white men’s shirts and old embroidered sheets. At first this worked well, we bought a large amount of super fine quality recycled shirts from a French stock seller – the best French brands like YSL.
But after a couple of years, the quality dropped significantly. When we had to put over a half of our purchases back to recycling because of the poor quality, I saw no reason to continue.
Back then it was also a bit too early for redo-clothing. We had a showroom in Milan and most of our customers wanted their shirts made of new fabrics. They liked the collection but not the recycling – the sustainable buyers were a few those days.
We had a collective store of five designers, Comité, in Barcelona. I continued to sell the dresses made of shirts and sheets on a smaller scale; made-to-order for exhibitions and movies.
Now during the last years, organic fabrics luckily have been up for grabs way better than back then. The new upcoming summer collection is made of 92% Gots-certified organic cotton and 8% Öko-Tex-certified Lyocell.
We have always produced all our collections as sustainably, ethically, and ecologically as possible. This has been crystal clear for 20 years – I wouldn’t do it any other way.”
What kind of customers wear Cecilia Sörensen today?
”Our main markets are Finland and Spain, but we also have some new buyers in Europe – Germany, and Belgium, for example. Before the pandemic we sold a lot in Italy and Japan; we hope this continues when expositions start again.
Our customers are typically 35-45 years old sustainable fashion buyers. They value small independent designer labels as an alternative for big chain labels – and also appreciate the fact that the collections are produced ethically and locally.
Nordic minimalism combined with feminine and delicate Mediterranean spirit is our thing.”
What’s the best about the brand and products of Cecilia Sörensen?
”This is a bit difficult question to answer – as a small designer I take this work more as a way of life than as a brand. I think that premium design always is born out of demand.
As an example, let’s take a look at the Cecilia Sörensen yoga clothing collection that was launched during the pandemic. I fell sick with long covid myself and started practicing yoga every day to recover better. That’s when I started to wonder – if we try to live and consume as sustainably as we can, why do we buy our training clothes from a chain store?
I tried to find locally and ethically produced clear-lined high-quality yoga clothes, and it wasn’t easy. We decided to produce a small test capsule of yoga clothing and it was welcomed nicely, so now we continue the collection and expand it. At the moment there are three pieces: high-waisted leggings, T-shirt, and a sleeveless top. For the summer we will present new short-legged pants and in the autumn collection there will be a long-sleeved top, too.”
What is the most popular single product of Cecilia Sörensen?
”Alber Dress, technically made the same way as the dresses we made of recycled men’s shirts back in the day – smocking them into a smaller size for women.
After smocking, the dress is cut in a zero-waste principle – there is no surplus fabric. Alber is my personal favorite and a design that will stay the same year after year.”
What inspires Cecilia Sörensen and which direction is the design going now?
”The design is inspired by art, especially paintings and photographs, then books, and music. I also collect f.ex. old family albums from flea markets.
This year we will launch knitted sweaters as a novelty – made of Spanish wool. Next year there will be linen clothes made in a new way: winter linen coats padded with genuine local wool from Mallorca.”
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