Ethical Designs: Port de Bras

by Celia Shatzman

These eco-conscious lines prove that you don’t have to sacrifice ethics to make a fashion statement

Port de Bras

When Clarissa Egaña became pregnant, she started to pay attention to sustainability. She had previously overseen a swimwear brand, Bamboo Mare, but wanted to create something that was safe for people’s health and the planet. That’s how Port de Bras, an ethical athleisure line, was born.

“I believe that overall health has to do with physical and spiritual alignment,” says Egaña, the founder and designer of Port de Bras. “Dressing is part of our everyday choices and being conscious about these things makes us be in the now and in unison with the world. Choosing clothing that is ethical, toxin-free, eco-friendly and positively impacting society will definitely empower you to keep making better choices altogether.”

Though Egaña had been living and working in the U.S. for over 10 years, she decided to return to her native Caracas, Venezuela, to launch Port de Bras. “I fell in love with the process of helping so many people who needed it very badly and we finally moved to set up our own atelier and change our team’s lives in the process,” she says. 

“Port de Bras is sustainable in many ways beside the fact that the product is very high quality, eco-friendly and adds to a smart, timeless closet that allows you to reduce your shopping needs. We aim not to create less negative impact, but to create more positive impact. That means employing where it is most needed and financing sewing machines for a team of women instead of paying low wages to use your own machinery; donating your scraps so other women can make doll clothes, bows and other things they can sell and make money; supporting local charities; donating face masks during a pandemic; teaching a trade; making people feel safe and valued; and creating a sense of belonging and security inyour industry.”

Port de Bras exclusively works with nontoxic fabrics, specifically biodegradable polyamide, which is a new technology. “We chose this because we focus on bringing the opposite of what big brands offer—a real, well-thought, transparent and sustainable option women can actually relate to,” Egaña says. The brand has a zero-waste policy. 

The clothes are designed to be worn both in and out of the gym. “I like our pieces to be feminine and flattering but I also design very relaxed and oversized pieces to style them with, which is something to do with the classic rehearsal ballerina style,” Egaña says. The line’s name comes from the French ballet term for the movement of the arms. “I found it to be feminine and timeless like the brand I envisioned and also meaningful as we aim to become a movement in fashion!”

“We want to see Port de Bras continue to grow organically among the community that choses it over big brands because of what it stands for. That’s the biggest goal, to keep connecting to conscious minds and impact those who make everyday choices, to make better ones day by day.” portdebras.com 

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