When Pricila Civatti created fashion label ANTTI she never intended it to be a primarily sustainable and ethical brand, even though these values were always at its core.
The 28-year-old designer said she was more concerned about creating a fashion brand that focused on edgy and effortless garments that are designed to be worn time and again.
“I don’t want ANTTI to become an exclusively environmentally-friendly label as our main pitch. I still think it is about promoting interesting and edgy fashion, but we just so happen to be sustainable.
“It’s showing people that the two things can walk side by side.”
The brand has a distinct minimalistic style, with fabrics that drape around the body to transform shape and movement. It also challenges traditional masculine and feminine tailoring.
Civatti said she wanted to create designs that would inspire people.
“I’m also a stylist, and I found that a lot of people are very self-conscious about what they are wearing and how they should be wearing it.
“There’s not much character or personality in a lot of [mainstream] fashion nowadays, so my designs aim to bring that edge to people’s wardrobes.”
ANTTI’s debut collection Sandstorm, which launched in February 2019, was completely designed and produced in Sydney, Australia complying to fair work standards and using remnant fabrics which would have otherwise gone to landfill.
Fabric scraps that are left over during the production of ANTTI wares are sent to be upcycled into stuffing for punching bags. To fill one large punching bag, 12 full 240-litre bags of fabric are recycled.
The brand also ensures their garments do not undergo chemical treatments, nor do they use any harsh dyes – the aim is to avoid water contamination and minimise the use of “invisible water” in their production processes.
Civatti said the fashion label also avoids using plastic in their production. She opts for natural fibres over synthetic textiles that leach micro-plastics into the environment – a decision that happened naturally.
“I didn’t realise how much we do, from a sustainability perspective, until a customer contacted us and expressed an interest in our practices,” she said.
The challenge of doing something different
Even though Civatti claims that being sustainable is simply a by-product of creating high quality, purpose-built clothing, she admits she felt the need to contribute to an industry that must reduce its impact on the environment.
“Because the fashion industry has been so damaging and had such an impact historically, we have to do better,” she said.
“I really felt the need to put something out there that would help people understand the concept of slow fashion and not following trends. Trends can be a disease.”
But this considered and responsible approach to building a fashion label has not been without its challenges.
As a small business producing limited-run capsule collections, Civatti admits that many suppliers and service providers were not interested in working with her because she operates ANTTI at a modest level.
Many fabric suppliers, for instance, would not consider working with her because they had huge minimum order numbers.
Not one to quit, she persisted and eventually found some suppliers who were willing to work with her and that adhere to ANTTI’s ethos.
In trying to do something different in a competitive industry, Civatti said: “It is possible, but it takes more energy and effort to break into the market.”
She said a lot of suppliers in the fashion industry still aren’t aware of how important it is to be sustainable.
“Only in the last year have I found that there has been a lot more access to organic, recycled and natural fibres,” Civatti said.
Embracing slow fashion
Despite the challenges Civatti faced to get ANTTI off the ground, it has not discouraged her.
The very reason she started the label was to create something unique; something that didn’t already exist.
“I am a very curious person, and I tend to run in the opposite direction of the norm,” she said.
“ANTTI is about breaking free from the beliefs we’re used to seeing, but with a positive outcome.”
Every day Civatti and her team are working towards being more sustainable and ethical without compromising what they have created as a fashion concept.
With a focus on releasing small, seasonal capsule collections with a limited number of styles that can be sold, ANTTI is only now going into the second production of their first collection to meet consumer demand.
It’s certainly the antithesis of fast fashion which we have all become accustomed to, but that’s exactly what Civatti intended when developing a brand that goes against the grain.
“It’s definitely a slower release process – I will allow for an organic process to occur instead of just pushing out another collection for the sake of it,” she said.