With Argentine roots and established in Paris, the latest collection of HORSEBACK It is an intimate and sensitive ode to the values of the gaucho tradition and folklore that represent the brand. In 2017, Sofia Achaval de Montaigu and Lucia Sparrowhawk they came together in the French city with the idea of founding a brand where they could capture the images that marked their experiences and their upbringing, where their idiosyncrasies were faithfully represented through the image of the Argentine gaucho.
Crossed by contemporaneity, HORSEBACK elevates the figure of the gaucho to a fashion language, where the line between masculine and feminine is balanced in a subtle balance, translating into accessible, timeless, modern and sustainable garments. ´Produced in Las Pampas, and designed to be treasured´, is how the brand’s creators define it. The supra-recycling of discarded textiles, the careful system of circular processes that promotes the reduction of waste and the collaborations with Argentine artisans are some of the bases of sustainability in which HORSEBACK it holds.
So it was that after their Summer 2021 collection, they launched the manifesto Keep Moving, an initiative where they encouraged all buyers of their brand, especially retailers, to return the brand’s stock garments that had not been sold (in exchange for a discount on their next purchase). Once in their possession, the designer duo could sell it through re-stock in their store, re-use it or donate it, as appropriate, to avoid the archive of garments and give them a second chance.
Within his latest collection, HORSEBACK presented a series of garments created in collaboration with Warmi, a sustainable spinning mill that promotes the work of artisans and spinners from the Puna Argentina, strengthening the local economy through fair trade. This initiative resulted in the design of a series of ponchos made of 100% sustainable llama fiber, which reflect the identity and values of Argentine history. In conversation with Vogue, Sofia Achaval de Montaigu and Lucia Sparrowhawk tell us what work is like in HORSEBACK.
If you had to define, what would be the values that make ÀCHEVAL a sustainable brand?
For us the main value is circularity. We work together with retailers to try to reduce the stock as much as possible, creating an initiative where they can return part of the stock in exchange for a discount on the next purchase.
On the other hand the ‘upcycling’ or supra-recycling, where we use remnant fabrics or archival balances, to create part of the collection or as much as possible. We have been working on that point since the first season. And also, in this collection, we created a series of ponchos in collaboration with the Hilandería Warmi, located in the Argentine puna, made with 100% sustainable flame manufactured in the north of Argentina.
How did the collaboration with Warmi come about?
Hilandería Warmi It is an association that we have always liked a lot, for its work with the communities of the North of Argentina and for the quality of its products. We love the way they take care of all aspects of production and the seriousness with which they work.
What was it like to do it remotely?
It was quite easy because we sent each other photos, videos and we had several conversations by video call.
How is the brand related to sustainability? Was it something you considered from the beginning?
Yes always. In HORSEBACK From the beginning, the concept was to work organically on this aspect and that incorporates efforts to be careful about the environment, people and fair trade. For us today it is about creating fashion with a deeper meaning. The manifesto ´Keep Moving´ so he explains it. Our concept is based on creating a circular system with the retailers trying to reduce the stock as much as possible. And find a new purpose for the materials that were already in use. We also work with an association in the North of Argentina to help preserve the communities and their workforce. And we use remnant fabrics to create our collections.
What is it like to carry out a sustainable brand with Latino bases in Europe?
For us it became a fundamental need from everything that is happening in the world. We felt that something had to change and we began to put a lot of energy into making these changes to get closer and closer to what we believed was the way of making fashion in today’s world and to give a sense to the products that can be vibrated when using them. .
Where can we find your parts?
We currently sell at Net a Porter, Luisa Via Roma, Matches, Galléries Lafayette Champs Elysées, 24 Sevres, to name a few. We are also part of other locations in Europe, Asia and the United States.
What is the future you envision for the brand?
We are putting together our online sales page, which is a very important project for us. There we will also have a KEEP MOVING sector and we will sell products from previous collections, to continue with our objective of reducing stock and working towards sustainability.