Organic branch & designers
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Given its commitment to placing value on local and family organic farming methods, Tentation Bio decided this year to assist a Brazilian company that shares its commercial, ethical and aesthetic values entirely.

High value of the fair producerNatural Cotton ColorLong-term sustainability
Although it is very important to place a high value on the raw materials of producer countries, it is also essential to endeavour to ensure maximum added value in the country of origin. This is the basic principle of fair and sustainable development. In general, European countries buy in raw materials and transform them in Europe because they have the financial means to exploit their know-how. This is rarely the case for those countries producing the raw materials. Thanks to organic farming, they can manage to raise the value of their production. However, when all the requirements for the promotion of a locally-created finished product are met, it is obvious that the profits for the local producer are considerably greater.

Tentation Bio discovered “Natural Cotton Color” in its search for guaranteed organic raw materials. An industrialist placed a specific order, requesting guarantees for the organic raw materials and the design of an entirely original finished product. We are not able to identify this product at the moment for reasons of confidentiality as the launch of the finished product on the European market is only foreseen for September 2014. The order in question was finalised following a tour of the “Natural Cotton Color” workshops in João Pessoa in Brazil. The evidence spoke for itself:

“Natural Cotton Color”, led by a Brazilian designer, Francisca Gomes Vieira, corresponded entirely to the Tentation Bio philosophy by proposing a range of original organic products that reflect socio-cultural values.

Tentation Bio therefore took the decision to promote this line in clothing and accessories, as well as household articles, on the French and European markets.

The “Natural Cotton Color” group works exclusively on fashion products made from naturally-occurring coloured organic cotton. This material has been developed by EMPRAPA (Brazilian Enterprise for Agricultural Research), that rediscovered a type of seed producing cotton that is already coloured as it grows. As no chemical dying process is required, there is a 70% reduction in water consumption which would otherwise have been necessary for the conventional industrial dying process. A naturally hypoallergenic product is thus guaranteed. “Natural Cotton Color” has used this naturally-occurring coloured cotton to launch a range of modern designer ladies clothing and accessories (bags, shoes and jewellery) with an exotic touch.

Whenever “Natural Cotton Color” makes use of accessories or trimmings created by the craftsmen and women of north-eastern Brazil, the finished product looks far from hand-made; it has a look of sheer sophistication. The strength of “Natural Cotton Color” lies in its utilisation of traditional factors from the north-eastern region, integrating them into a completely contemporary design. “Natural Cotton Color” products appeal to a public that is passionate about fashion but also concerned about caring for the environment.

Long-term sustainability is an important issue needing to be addressed when working with small-scale craftsmen and women in the poorest parts of the semi-arid north-east of Brazil. All the cotton growers are small-scale and work within family networks. This enables them to fight against single crop farming of crops that are of low commercial value and harmful for the environment, such as soya beans. All their produce is certified organic, in accordance with current European legislation (EU regulations 834/2007 and 889/2008).

The designer Francisca Gomes Vieira began her business in 1995. At that time, competition from China and the mediocre quality of the Brazilian textile industry gave little room for any hope of international development. She contacted several fashion market specialists with a view to giving small producers in north-eastern Brazil the means to develop in both size and sustainability. In 2000, she went on to develop a partnership with the lace-makers’ association of Monteiro. Indeed, Francisca Gomes Vieira found it unacceptable that local and international buyers were purchasing pieces of lace for next-to-nothing from these skilled workers with their precious know-how, thereby perpetuating poverty in the north-eastern region, whereas the garments created using these lace trimmings were being sold for a veritable fortune. She therefore took this lace-makers’ association under the wing of “Natural Cotton Color”, resulting in a more than 40% increase in the living standards for the lace-makers.

With the integration of another group of artisans from Pernambuco, “Natural Cotton Color” has ensured the survival of extremely rare crafts which were fast disappearing in Brazil: the making of rose-shaped buttons, as well as a very special kind of lace known as “renaissance“. There are only ten or so of these artisans left in Brazil and their skills have now been able to be saved.

Little by little, Francisca Gomes Vieira contacted other small handicraft businesses that showed strong creative potential and the group members enabled the establishment of the first fashion school in João Pessoa, which today trains couturiers with no discrimination based on sex or age. This school not only teaches sewing; throughout Fashion Week, which takes place every two years, it runs workshops in an introduction to lace-making and silk-screen painting so that the wealth of local skills can not only survive but go on to thrive. During Fashion Week there are also workshops to provide advice to local businesses looking to export. All members of the “Natural Cotton Color” network aim to preserve and promote local culture as well as seek out specialists in the various fashion skills, so that the group’s place on the international market-place is long-term. Francisca Gomes Vieira has proven, by her commitment and her talent, that cultural tradition, fashion and the conservation of our planet can co-exist in perfect harmony. Tentation Bio is proud to promote its values by proposing this line of clothing that is 100% organic, 100% fair and 100% fashionable.