ED Interview: Migle from Between LAB

April 28, 2021
Model with Between logo projected across face
Photo by (BETWEEN)
By Eko Diena in 

Last year we chatted briefly to Migle from Between LAB about the environmental and human differences between fast and slow fashion.

Migle, could you briefly introduce Between LAB?

(BETWEEN) is an experimental fashion design studio. We create slow fashion, believe in awareness, sustainability, ecology. We are one of the few in Lithuania who make handmade shoes and hats to order. People often emphasize that our creations have an exceptional aesthetic, often compared to the Amish. Recently, we focus on Lithuanian heritage, traditions, roots - handicraft weaving, embroidery, national ribbons, clogs. The mythological motifs appear in the collections. We present it in a modern context.

How would you describe today's fast fashion industry?

The answer lies in the question 🙂 It's fast. At the same time, cheap.

Cheap itself dictates that, usually, low-quality, synthetic fabrics, cheap and often unethical labour. Quite often the income of a frequent modern consumer is insufficient to buy a quality, and at the same time more expensive, item of slow fashion.

Why are sustainability and ethical production processes import to Between? How do you achieve them?

There was a saying that the beauty would save the world, now apparently it could be paraphrased as ‘consciousness will save the world’. We humans have expressed ourselves so much and played the game of the Almighty so that now that we look at the result - the skin goes goose bumps and the question arises automatically - is it not too late to change the result?

We don’t know if (BETWEEN) we’re changing anything, but we try to do as little harm as possible. We do not store goods and usually only produce after receiving an order so that the item really has its owner. We use only natural fabrics. We avoid the production of additional fabrics, because a lot of it are produced anyway, so we look for 'waste' and so on. We sew only in Lithuania and in non-mass production, employ local small producers, artisans, the elderly, young moms who can work from home.

According to the UN, the fashion industry is responsible for 20% of wastewater and about 10% of total carbon dioxide emissions. Can we say that each of us is not only the creator, the producer, but also the consumer responsible for it?

Yes. Each of us have a choice. Our actions are our responsibility and the position. When it comes to fashion - buying clothes from the fast fashion stores is also not a sin, you just need to understand what you are buying and try to buy items that you will wear for more than one season. Also, clothes from second-hand shops, clothing exchanges and donating to someone who needs more can be a sustainable solution.

Even the famous fashion house production relocates to developing countries, due to the smaller costs. In your opinion, is it possible to ensure ethical, sustainable and non-exploitative production in this way?

Perhaps, if the companies feel responsibly and are interested not only in their own well-being, but also in the employees conditions and well-being. I can not answer how it is because, in fact, I lack the knowledge on this issue.

Would you agree that customers are increasingly paying attention to product quality, sustainability, environmental friendliness, practicality and longevity?

I think so. Not as fast as we would like, but with the dissemination of information, awareness grows. It seems to me that there comes a moment when you start to think not only about yourself, but a little more broadly. And then you can make decisions that respond to more than just selfish interests. What would be your vision for the future of the fashion industry. Maybe not a vision here, but it would be very nice for me if there were as many in-kind exchanges as possible, more human contact, only local production, small shops. There would be no endless consumption and no discarding of worn items.

You can find out more about (BETWEEN)'s approach to sustainability and slow fashion at their website: between.lt

This interview was originally published in our Issue #1 of our free magazine Towards Sustainability

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