Sustainable Fashion Designer Gabrielle Datau

But first, what is sustainable fashion? Sustainable or ethical fashion production, respecting the environment and guaranteeing humane and fair working conditions, until recently seemed a rarity, supported by a narrow audience. However, he was quickly picked up by completely dissimilar designers and brands: H&M is calling singer MIA to advertise their collection program, Adidas makes sneakers from garbage raised from the bottom of the ocean, and Emma Watson walks onto the carpet in a Calvin Klein and Eco dress. The age away from recycled plastic bottles. The new trend is not going anywhere.

Imagine walking into a bakery, filled with candy-colored cream cakes, puffs,  and cookies of every color possible, then imagine to make your way through Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors while high and tripping, and you have a pretty good idea of Gabrielle Datau’s psychedelic yet romantic unique style.

The LA-based designer was always interested in fashion, since her childhood and way before she had access to formal training, she made fashion experiments while cutting up clothes and sewing them back together. As a teen in a rebellion phase, she became obsessed with repurposing secondhand clothing, cutting up, and sewing it back together, inspired by the DIY culture,  that was a big part of her philosophy back then.

After finishing the studies, Datau got her start in fashion working at denim brand 7 For All Mankind. Working in proximity to luxury fast-fashion gave Datau a disappointing feeling as she realized how wasteful the fashion industry is, and gave her inspiration to focus on creating something of her own, incorporating a “slow life” style of production that would be an antagonist to the fast-making in the modern fashion industry. Sewing and making garments was a way for her to do that, creating unique pieces from recycled fabric. Knitting and actually making the clothes herself became an essential part of her style.

Her life has always been somewhat edgy: with Indonesian parents, growing up as a person of color in a predominantly white neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley, Datau recalls feeling displaced and never really feeling a sense of community, always a little angry and confused about it music and fashion became her ways to express those feelings.

In ​2014 feeling the fast fashion burnout, she went on a six-month trip through Europe and Asia​​ with her future business and life partner Jiro Maestu , it was then when the idea for “Poche” (a pocket in French) her successful eco-friendly hat brand emerged. They brought sewing machines and some fabric in whatever city they were in and became a traveling studio.

Searching for a niche for themselves and aiming for LA’s coolest hatmakers, Poche has become a project for those wanting to make a headfirst statement while also minimizing waste in the fashion industry. Each unique piece comes with a fantastical story of its own. Project and another one is a mesh-layered Scarecrow piece that would suit a mad-hatter lost on the yellow brick road.

Poche is challenging the boundaries of what the hat-wearing industry is nowadays, bringing this fashion-art to the next generation.

Anastasia Fetter

Anastasia Fetter