Marcia de Carvalho: The thread of success


Recycling is its radius! With her brand Orphan Socks, the Brazilian designer combines creative work, social approach and environmental concerns. Portrait of an extraordinary woman.

According to an article Paris Match Australia de Dominique Vigna

What do you do with your inappropriate socks? Throw them away? I don’t think so. Send them to Orphan socks, which recovers two tonnes per year. Alone, new or worn, they come from Europe to the workshops of Marcia de Carvalho, which gives them life back. Ethical and sustainable fashion is his struggle: ” Textiles are one of the most polluting industries in the world. We must tackle waste. The major recycling players sell their clothing stocks, which then go to AfriThe. It will be the textile waste bin of the world.”

The story of Marcia de Carvalho begins in Sao Paulo. From birth, it falls into the pot of fashion. Her mother sniffs out trendy designers. Marcia mainly has the social fiber that is tied to the body. She first turned to sociology studies. But there is no creative dimension. Change. It is the end of the 1980s: the young student goes to Paris to train as a stylist. After Popy Moreni, she joined the La Maille-style office in 1991. There she was invited to present a parade in Canada. So she launched her first collection. Marcia likes Paris, she works on her mesh brand while chaining contracts for reputable houses (Chloé, Paule Ka…). Then she meets the future father of her children. There is no way back to Brazil!

I saw all these different socks… I thought it was fun to knit sweaters with them.

In 2008 she was invited by the City of Paris to present a collection at the Grand Prix de la Création. She came up with an original idea… by opening the drawers of his children’s chest! “I saw all these different socks… I thought it was funny to knit sweaters with them.” It meets a contractor who owns machines that can recycle yarns: orphaned socks can be made. Based in the Goutte d’Or district, she is looking for a way to include women in reintegration (99% of African women). It is decided they will sort the socks. To this end, she works with the Esperance Centre, a subsidiary of Emmaus. The project must now be made viable. “My meeting with Sandrine Raffin, President of the LinkUp Factory, was crucial. It has brought a strategy.”.

The strength of Orphan Socks is to be both a company and above all a club. A total of about ten people (including trainees) work there. Not to mention the 30 jobs in social integration at the Esperance Centre. On the one hand, the company creates, produces and distributes the collections at the right price (it has the ESS label, social and solidarity economy) and makes profits. On the other hand, the association, which lives on donations, takes care of the recovery and sorting of socks: those who are in good condition are distributed to hospitals and the homeless; lonely and those in poor condition are categorized by colors (to avoid dyes and thus the waste of water) and then recycled in clothing or accessories.

Read also – Recycled materials are still not used as raw materials in Belgium

Thanks to individuals, companies (such as L’Oréal) and social networks, it receives thousands of them. In partnership with Les Enfants de la Goutte d’Or, Marcia organises free workshops: once a week they learn craft techniques to promote their concentration. In 2016, Marcia was awarded the Knight’s Medal of the National Order of Merit. Three years later, Orphan Socks takes to the magnificent backdrop of Paris City Hall during Fashion Week. What’s next? After the collaborations with Ekyog And The little Dakarois, why not a sweater with Saint James or socks with Agnes b.? Another ambitious project: parade through the stables of the Palace of Versailles. A dream come true in June. And while the Brazilian stylist plays guitar, the models will parade on their songs.