Bright young things: Focus on Impact and the new generation of eco-friendly brands
They all agree: sustainability today is no longer a sole added value, but a basic requirement for any starting fashion brand that wishes to secure a long-term spot within the market.
This season, Who’s Next’s Impact space gathered these rising stars of eco-fashion under the same banner, a dedicated space for the most promising projects.
THE MORE PROJECT
Supported by We Jump - Panafrica’s incubator for young talents – Théo Lambert introduces his “Gender More” wardrobe for the first time. Rather than suggesting the erasure of gender codes, he offers to lead his customers towards a more complete, more fluid fashion. The garments – which are made from a blend of hemp, of organic cotton and of lyocell made in the French region of Lyon – thus adapt to each person’s morphology. To carry his message, he invites artists to use his pieces as blank canvas, as he did this week-end with painter Julien Delcourt, who live-drew his hypnotic patterns on a shirt. My product is premium, that is why I wish to find retailers and offer my clients the possibility to see the pieces before buying them. At the end of the day, the environmental aspect is not even at the heart of my discourse, because I consider it a top condition to launch a brand today. Being here at Impact is a good way of showing it. For him, sustainability is a solid base on which to build his creative and inclusive ambitions.
Born in 2009, Ecoalf is a pioneer. In almost 15 years of existence, it already collected more than a thousand tons of garbage along the Mediterranean coast, which are then recycled and transformed into technical fabrics to produce outerwear pieces. Featured at Who’s Next for the first time, the brand opened two stores in Paris last year and intends to keep on spreading its virtuous message on the French market.
Our role as pioneers is to show to the market that things can be done otherwise, and still survive in the long term says Marcos Perez, Sales Director.
His strategy: being surrounded with heavy partners in order to better be heard. The brand recently signed collaborations with Goop, with Michelin and Cordura, and more is to come for the year 2023. Having the support of such brands is a really nice way of spreading our message. The wholesale part of the industry is starting to understand that soon, consumers will no longer ignore transparency, and that this tendency will only grow in the upcoming years.
Innovation, upcycling, education, those are the pillars of the sunglasses Spanish brand Parafina. Since 2014, it produces glasses out of plastic bottles, soda cans or recycled rubber. It already collected 4 million pieces of garbage, and is currently launching a new line that blends recycled plastic and coffee grounds. Its motto: to always look a little further than the fashion industry. 5% of its revenue are thus used to finance scholarships for children in Paraguay. We are witnessing the building of a consumer culture that is oriented towards the protection of the Earth, but also of its people says Alvaro Alves, Marketing Director. According to him, the Covid crises has accelerated the movement. Fashion can have a true impact and this is why we are here: to find new partners of course, but also to communicate on our successes, among brands that suit us, to show that working within such a line of values has a real impact today.
Kaly Ora is a young swimwear and activewear brand that offers reversible, versatile pieces. Made in supple and recycled materials, they can be worn in different manners and adapt to each body type without the constraint of the traditional adjustment systems. For its founders, Flore Carlier and Trang Nguyen, durability is an added value to pieces whose design and production are rooted in virtuous practices. It’s not only about using sustainable fabrics, but about conceiving pieces with flexible fits, working with factories that defend ethical social principles and maintaining human relationships along a meaningful supply chain. Launched in B2C, the brand is present at Who’s Next for the first time – its founders thus hope to find new retailers to reach a next step and offer their clients new buying experiences.
Being here also allows us to meet with other brands, to see how others work, to exchange some advice… It’s like a boot-camp!
Mariona Puig, co-founder and designer of Caribu, gained her experience at Loewe and Bimba y Lola – among others, at the crossroads of style and business. She now develops her own line of bags, hand-made in the Barcelona region out of surplus leather from the luxury industry. A way of making without producing more, but also of supporting the local artisans of her region, while maintaining a reasonable carbon footprint. Being here is for us a way of showing that you can offer leather products that are responsibly made. And sometimes even more than some brands that call themselves ‘sustainable’, whose fabrics may be natural but who have a big carbon footprint, or who use plastic ‘vegan’ leather. According to her, educating the consumers is a major stake, especially for the Spanish market. We count on our presence here at Impact to find partners in new European countries, such as Germany.A plural and complementary vision carried by Who’s Next Impact space, and that puts sustainability as a foundation for the future of fashion, while offering new creative and commercial perspectives.