STORIES OF SUSTAINABLE ENTREPRENEURSHIP: PISTIL

Pistil is a newborn brand from Friuli-Venezia Giulia (Italy) that combines a timeless elegance with a rigorous search for transparency and sustainability. Its garments are made with precious Italian deadstock materials of natural origin, but Pistil efforts towards a sustainable production go way beyond products, involving all the elements that are part of an e-commerce business, such as product labels and packaging. We had the pleasure of accompanying the founder Martina Sostero in her online shop creation on Shopify, and we are here today to listen to the story of her brave project.

NAMA:
Hi Martina! Pistil launched its first collection just a few weeks ago but the fashion industry is something you know well. Could you share with us your background and your story? How has your personal and professional experience brought you to create a project all yours?

MARTINA:
Ciao ragazze! Thanks for accompanying me in this great adventure! Since I was little I knew I wanted to work in fashion, even if I didn’t have clear ideas about what exactly I wanted to do. I studied fashion management because I thought I wanted to be a buyer, then I studied styling in London while working as a production planner for a luxury bags manufacturer. Finally, during a master I did during the first lockdown, focused on the recent changes in the fashion sector, I understood that, even if I really love this industry, I needed to slow down and change the way of doing things. For this reason I actively started to collect info on the topic and decided to help things change through a project of slow and artisanal fashion. The process of getting to know local artisans really helped me in gaining trust in what I was, and I am, building.

NAMA:
Pistil works hard in order to be sustainable not only in the making of its garments, but also in all other choices and processes involved in the business. How did you manage the search for sustainable materials, partners and solutions? What obstacles have you encountered, and how have you overcome them?

MARTINA:
To be mindful and sustainable, as you rightly pointed out, doesn’t stop with clothes production but it is instead a philosophy that permeates the whole brand ideation and creation. The search has been long and challenging, but necessary, and I have worked with trusted platforms and experts (es. Silvia Stella Osella, Silvia Gambi, C.L.A.S.S.) that helped and supported me in finding solutions and collaborations that matched my values. I contacted a small number of suppliers, only those whose offer impressed me, and I was lucky because the collaboration started right away. The biggest obstacle I encountered was the need to compromise on volumes purchased: the more pieces you buy the lower the price, and since Pistil is a start up the numbers are still quite small. To lower costs I had to buy larger quantities than I initially imagined, but in this way I have built a stockpile I can use in the next years and collections.

NAMA:
You decided to title your collections “No Season”, and Pistil aesthetics seems to be set into a crystalized moment and time, far away from our busy, hectic lives. What is the philosophy behind these choices? What inspires you when you create your pieces and collections?

MARTINA:
I decided to create a fashion that lasts, both in terms of style and high quality of the materials, far away from micro trends that become outdated soon and are at the basis of fast fashion. With my collections I try to offer the exact opposite concept. Every fall/winter and spring/summer I showcase new products because we all love to see some novelty, but each piece can be bought way later in time, until our stock finishes, and most importantly it can be used in the following years without becoming “old” or worn. Inspiration comes from a personal need of having simple, comfortable clothes that I can use on different occasions, without losing the style and elegance that are the essence of the idea of fashion.

NAMA:
It’s autumn time: what is the Pistil piece that is always in your wardrobe? Are there other ethical/sustainable shops you enjoy buying from?

MARTINA:
I can’t decide between the Annamaria shirt in silk - with which you can create countless outfits since it is very easy to pair with thanks to its cut and variety of colors, and theVienna dress in virgin wool in the colors black jacquard and teal. What I love about this last textile is the weight: light when you touch it but warm and comfy as a jumper could be, without being bulky, you can use it under a dress or with a blazer. Also with this piece you can build multiple attires.
When I buy online I usually try to buy directly from a specific brand website, but there are many marketplaces and platforms that are well curated, like:Talia Collective, Sustainable Department Store and Il Vestito Verde.

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Foto di Lavinia Siardi

About the author

Lavinia Siardi

Lavinia has a background in management and strongly believes in the empowerment of diversities. At Nama Studio she is in charge of strategy and business coaching, supporting independent women entrepreneurs in their e-commerce journey.