THERAPY RECYCLE & EXORCISE IS A SUSTAINABLE AND ALTERNATIVE, GENDER-FREE, SEASON-FREE AND SIZE-FREE FASHION PROJECT BASED IN BERLIN, GERMANY AND CÓRDOBA, ARGENTINA, RAN SINCE 2012 BY TWO SISTERS SEPARATED BY THE ATLANTIC OCEAN AND RE-UNITED BY THIS PASSION, PAULA AND MARIÁNGELES AGUIRRE. THEY ARE TWO SISTERS BASED BETWEEN BERLIN, GERMANY AND CORDOBA, ARGENTINA, WHERE THEY ARE ORIGINALLY FROM. MARIÁNGELES STUDIED COMMUNICATION SCIENCES FINISHING HER STUDIES IN 2004, IN CORDOBA, ARGENTINA. SHE MOVED TO GERMANY THAT SAME YEAR. SHE HAS WORKED AS FREELANCE WRITER FOR VARIOUS FASHION MAGAZINES. BUT SHE DESCRIBES HERSELF MAINLY AS AN ENTREPRENEUR.
IN 2007 SHE FOUNDED A TOURISM ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN BERLIN TOGETHER WITH HER PARTNER, CALLED HOLABERLIN, WHICH SHE RUNS UNTIL TODAY. SHE WAS ONE OF THE CO-FOUNDERS OF GREEN FASHION TOURS BERLIN. LAST BUT NOT LEAST, SHE IS PART OF A COUPLE OF FASHION ASSOCIATIONS IN GERMANY AND WORKS AS HEAD OF SOCIAL MEDIA AT FASHION REVOLUTION GERMANY . MARIÁNGELES FOUNDED THERAPY RECYCLE AND EXORCISE IN BERLIN, IN JUNE OF 2012. DISCOVER THE SPECIAL INTERVIEW!
When and where Therapy Berlin was born as a concept?
tHERAPY Recycle & Exorcise started in 2012, in Berlin. In 2013 it expanded to Argentina when Paula joined from there. We behind tHERAPY Recycle & Exorcise are Paula & Mariángeles Aguirre (sisters). Paula lives between Córdoba, Argentina and Berlín. Mariángeles lives in Berlin since 2004.
What is the mission of your brand?
Over this six years working together in our project we developed tHERAPY from a growing criticism towards fast fashion and in general, the big fashion industry. We thought about doing our own version of a better, more inclusive and diverse fashion. We don’t concentrate on the criticism, but in offering an alternative. We produce sustainable fashion from the DIY ethic. DIY means DO IT YOURSELF but for us, it actually means YOU CAN DO IT. Our aim is to change the perspective that fashion is something superficial and related to exclusiveness. Fashion is actually the most inclusive form of art, because it requires the active participation of both, the maker and the person who is going to wear it. The half of our work is to help free people’s minds and research in their own identity to embrace their uniqueness. We believe fashion is a tool available for everybody, a chance to enhance our uniqueness as individuals and to make us stronger as a community. When you see fashion that way, then it becomes EMPOWERING.
Could you describe your production process?
We define ourselves as UPCYCLERS. We use different upcycling techniques to reuse already existing, discarded or second hand materials that we are constantly collecting. We create all kind of upcycling pieces. We love getting inspired by what we find and we actually build up our concepts and collections from the materials we find. We work mostly crossing limits and blurring the line between accessories and clothing pieces. Our work is a learning-by-doing and a constant experiment. But more and more we are putting our focus on the (multi)functionality of the pieces, overlapping and combining layers of meanings and functions. It is important to us what a piece communicates and the (multi)functionality of it. But we experiment a lot, from the materials, to the techniques, to the style.
Where do you source your fabrics and dyes?
We collect discarded, second hand and vintage clothing from markets, thrift stores, vintage and charity shops. We are always on the search for those pieces we believe have a potential. And every time we travel its an opportunity to us to find new treasures. From a store, a clothing swap or even from the streets, all are opportunities to get our raw materials.
What or who has influenced your work as a socially and environmentally responsible brand?
Perhaps our greatest inspiration and first contact with upcycling was our grandmother and, by inheritance of customs, our mother, who passed it on to us. Our grandmother was dressmaker and upcycler. In fact, all grandmothers (from the 30s – 40s – 50s) were upcyclers because they reused things, either repairing them or transforming them partially or totally into something new. Upcycling is not a new concept. Formerly when the industry did not mass produce and clothes and other things were made by hand they were much more expensive. As a result, almost all kinds of articles were reused again and again until they were no longer useful, either with their original function or giving them new functions. But as we started discovering other designers and creators, getting involved with the NGOs and Associations where we are involved, we have been discovering amazing people doing amazing stuff. Some very know, some not. Berlin, the city where tHERAPY was born, has made things very easy for us. It is a city where recycling, reusing, sharing, collaborating is an everyday thing. Here we really learned about things like open source knowledge, sharing economy, circular economy, activism. It has been the perfect place for us to develop this interests that were actually inside ourselves from before. But here they have crystalized and become our way of living and working.
Why is sustainable fashion important to you?
We still need to talk about sustainability as an option, but we believe than in a near future, sustainability won’t be an option, but a basic aspect of any entrepreneurship. We have come to a point in time on this planet when we need to RETHINK the way we live, work and treat each other and this planet. We need to rethink the way we produce and consume, and to ACT to improve things.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know regarding sustainable fashion?
Sustainable Fashion means for us a fashion that helps researching about and representing the own identity, posibilitating being more in touch with ourselves and with others, and of course, it involves consciousness at all levels, starting from the design, going to the production, the distribution and the use. Getting involved in the making, is our way of being activists and we want to motivate others to join us. We describe our fashion with the words EMPOWERING SUBCOTOURE & ALTERNATIVE UPCYCLING. And our message is: JOIN US AND LET’S #OCCUPYFASHION #HACKINGFASHION. Sustainable fashion is only possible by rethinking the whole system in which it exists. We believe it is necessary to create a different way of understanding this system. We decided to create our own path, our own way to do things, based on our own idea of growth and success. We question a lot the ideas the economic system called capitalism take for “normal” and try puts in our minds through publicity and the cultural industry 24 hours a day. We just say: be critical, question things. Don’t just swallow it. Lately we have been reading about ECONOMICAL DEGROWTH. We invite people to discover this ideas: “Under “degrowth” or “post-growth” we understand an economic management and a society in which the objective to achieve is the well-being of everyone, respecting the ecological foundation of life. This requires not only a fundamental change in our way of life, but also an integral cultural transformation. The guiding principle of our current economy and society is “more, more and more”, which conditions and encourages competition between people. On the one hand, this implies acceleration, excessive demands and the exclusion of certain people. In addition, this economic model destroys our natural means of subsistence as well as the habitat of flora and fauna. We are convinced that the common values of a society that overcomes the imperative of growth must be full awareness, solidarity and cooperation. Humanity must be understood as a part of the planet’s ecosystem. Only in this way will it be possible to achieve a life in dignity and self-determination for all people.” (SOURCE: https://www.degrowth.info/en/what-is-degrowth/) So, lately when someone asks us about our plans of growing and our incomes, we answer explaining how much we have grown ans human beings in the last 6 years. Yes, of course we plan to keep on growing. There is so much to learn!