Spain was the sun

After our two years project, during which we have definitely achieved more success than expected but also faced many difficulties, we make a very positive evaluation throughout the experience. It makes us want to continue to deepen in all matters worked along this time.  Even though we have found that every time there is a greater awareness of the need to return to nature, to respect our environment and therefore use sustainable products, we have also observed that there is still a long way to go before it is feasible to eliminate the use of chemicals that pollute our world and ourselves.

One of the most complex and complete activities that we have done during the project was commissioning the exhibition Lookin 'Green; the outcome of which we are fully satisfied with because it was so demanding and all the participants had to do a joint effort in order to reach the level we got to provide to the public. Among other tasks, we all conducted multiple investigations on natural, biodegradable and environmentally friendly products for application in hairdressing and makeup. We studied fabrics and other materials for designing and making the costumes, requiring lots of imagination to find and use sustainable accessories and add-ons.

Although finding these products and materials was difficult, we should be proud of the tremendous team effort that involved the development of hairstyles, makeup and fashion designs, to which not only the twelve members of the Personal Image Department at IES El Palo in Málaga, involved or not in the Project, and our coordinator Paloma were committed, but also colleagues and students of the San Telmo School of Art in Málaga.

The starting point for the development of the collections was the idea that gave meaning to this project: sustainable energy sources like water, wind and sun. Spain of course represented the sun, nothing more suitable, especially considering that the Spanish partners have carried out our work in Málaga, a city blessed with a gorgeous sunny weather almost all year round.

Taking the sun, source of life, light and energy, as the leitmotiv of our collection, each of the designs was developed in a way that they all had something in common, yet they were independent and completely different from each other. From dawn to sunset, each of the designs evoke a particular moment of the sun, as that in which it caresses the wheat fields or when it sprouts spring flowers.

The crack of dawn opened our show, representing that moment when the first rays of sunlight hide the moon; continued showing how the light spreads out in every corner reviving us; then reaching its zenith with such a strength that floods with colour and energy, to then descend and reach the twilight. After that entering the night, which renews us waiting for a bright new day. This same philosophy inspired MCAST, our partners from Malta, in developing the showreel they made to accompany our models.

The major difficulties relating to products, elements and fabrics needed was to find those who allow us to achieve a proper level of quality in the result. Adequate and similar to what would be achieved with the use of chemicals that have been used habitually. For example, finding strong enough hairsprays, cosmetics and hair dyes free of ammonia and amides, makeup with proper coverage and durability, and fabrics that were not artificially dyed. However, the use of materials and fabrics from recycling made our work easier.

Throughout the process of creating and testing designs, we realized that in some cases we had no choice but to drop sustainability using materials unsuitable for an event of this subject, such as silicone, to hold elements in some headgear. Some hairpieces needed for long hair or concealers with enough covering capacity (these last ones being used only for the photo shoot and not in the parade).

All in all, our mentality change has been dramatic, and while we have not achieved that 100% of the elements used would be sustainable, reaching 95% in itself is a huge change in attitude and a great achievement that eventually will increasingly have more impact on the way we work and the awareness of our students, their families, professionals and gradually the society in general.

We are well aware that there is still a long way to go but we are confident that with further research to achieve the same results without the use of toxic chemicals and a change of attitude where for example a healthy and beautiful hair is more important than showing grey hair, which is just the consequence of a natural process of healthy aging, we will definitely achieve an improvement of our and our planet’s health.

Marta Guillen

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