Museum of Sustainability Opens in Miami

James Fallon and Rebecca Kleinman

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MUSEUM MOMENT: When life gives you lemons, open a museum in your store. Valeria Savino and Alvaro de Jesus transformed half of their 5,000-square-foot Pivot Market in Miami’s Little River district into the Museum of Sustainability. Through August, they’re exhibiting fashions by 44 local and international designers who are in tune with the store’s socially conscious direction.

“The pandemic crisis isn’t really a moment for shopping, plus I personally needed community and to see how everyone was doing,” said Savino, a Venezuelan designer who called out for entries on Instagram and heard from interested parties from Germany to Guatemala. “They’d been creating at home during the shutdown but thanked us for giving them a task that they had to complete like a homework assignment.”

Looks demonstrate an overview of sustainability that spans timeworn practices (vintage denim) to innovations (3-D printing). The Upcycle Project submitted a one-shoulder dress made from the recycled T-shirt fabric used for its coronavirus face masks. Felder & Felder shows a cocktail dress in vegan silk organza and organic cotton with a plastic-free, plant-based Mirum belt as well as a coat collaboration with Ecoalf’s recycled nylon. The Onikas doubled down on its already eco-friendly production in India and Ecuador due to the virus.

“Our order was delayed so we repurposed past pieces into a new collection,” said cofounder Veronica Pesantes of the brand’s kimono, caftan and face mask in hand-blockprinted cotton voile for the museum. “We had them sewn in Austin [Tex.] instead.”

Some designers further commented on political and social injustice. Lisu Vega’s “Los Caminantes” reinvents fragments of Venezuelan refugees’ and friends’ clothing into wearable art. Jetlagmode designer Carolina Baena supports single mothers in her native Colombia by employing them to hand-weave bags in natural materials including wooden beads.

Viewers scan stockkeeping units for detailed descriptions with photos, some of which add production videos and designer interviews. An online tour is also available. Each piece is for sale, and many of the designers are already represented at Pivot for more options.

“To be a small brand out there on your own, especially in this environment, is tough. I wanted to create an experiential space for them to show their full collections and have a dashboard,” said Savino, who studied at Milan’s Istituto Marangoni and launched the Nomad Tribe label. (Its skirt made from recycled plastic bodega bags and new, embroidered Pima cotton T-shirt manufactured in Peru are in the show.) “We wanted to create something beautiful where people could learn something, too.”

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