Home Style Adiff’s Fashion Cookbook: Meet the Clothing Brand That Wants You to Make Their Clothes Yourself

Adiff’s Fashion Cookbook: Meet the Clothing Brand That Wants You to Make Their Clothes Yourself

Adiff’s Fashion Cookbook: Meet the Clothing Brand That Wants You to Make Their Clothes Yourself

Think of all the detritus filling up your apartment: a busted old umbrella, a ruler from high school geometry, a shower curtain. You probably think it’s trash, but Angela Luna and Loulwa Al Saad, the cofounders of fashion brand ADIFF, want you to see them as raw materials. Or, better yet, as ingredients. With a little savvy and some sewing tools, that umbrella can become a jacket. That shower curtain is a few steps from being a bucket hat. Luna and Al Saad want to show you how.

ADIFF’s Open Source Fashion Cookbook, published last month, is exactly what the cover advertises. It’s The Art of Simple Food, but for clothes, and like open source software, anyone can use and modify the raw code inside. Practically, that means it includes designs and instructions for 10 original ADIFF designs, plus five designs from similarly socially-conscious and sustainability-focused brands. In one sense, the project is nothing new from a brand that’s always put ethics at its center (ADIFF is a riff on “making a difference”), but it’s also something that could only have come from the social movements and economic disruption of 2020. “We wanted to create a collection at the end of 2020, but what’s the point in creating a collection if everyone’s unemployed and can’t afford the items?” said Luna. Instead, their cookbook argues that the most sustainable way to consume their work is to make it yourself.

An ADIFF “blanket jacket,” complete with snack pockets, the pattern for which appears in the brand’s new cookbook.

Courtesy of ADIFF

Buzzwords and rhetoric about sustainability run rampant through the industry, though you’re more likely to see them in marketing decks than in practice in the world. That’s what makes the issue as thorny as it is important. “We saw a lot of greenwashing from brands not just regarding the planet, but also regarding social movements,” said Luna. “You donate money to this tree-planting nonprofit, but you undo all those funds by the production of your second collection.”

It’s easy to condemn bad faith advertising, though; it’s harder to actually execute on these ideas in a way that makes ethical fashion broadly accessible. If you make your clothes well and pay people fairly, prices go up, and fewer people can afford to wear them—it’s a concerning paradox that Luna, Al Saad, and their peers have found tough to crack. “Across the board, there seemed to be a general consensus that a large percentage of the population is unable to participate with their brand,” said Luna. “They wanted to create opportunities for everyone regardless of their income level.”

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