In the five short years since Javier Goyeneche founded Ecoalf, the Madrid-based clothing company has become a global leader in the burgeoning field of sustainable fashion. With a robust commitment to R&D, Ecoalf creates full collections using sophisticated recycling processes on waste products like fishing nets, tires, post-industrial cotton, coffee, and PET bottles. We had a chance to meet Javier recently and followed up with a quick email exchange. Read the interview below:
It's been over five years since Ecoalf launched. How has the sustainable fashion industry evolved since then? What do you see for the future?
The industry has has evolved a lot since Ecoalf launched five years ago. I believe that there is a new generation of companies that really believe in changing the industry -- companies that want to demonstrate it is possible to create fashionable products but in a sustainable way. More and more people want to consume products of companies that represent certain values they feel comfortable with.
Ecoalf has innovated recycling processes for PET plastic, coffee grinds, and fishing nets. What other waste resources do you think might find applications in fashion?
I think that recycled cotton mixed with recycled PET yarns will be very interesting. We need to find substitutes for cotton -- both organic and normal cotton need too much water. Also, we are working with a new generation of fabrics recycled from used stones which is starting to look amazing!
Ecoalf has done a number of product collaborations with high profile brands, including Apple, Barney's, and YMC. How important are co-branding projects to your business?
We love to collaborate with companies/brands/designers we like and that represent certain values we feel comfortable with. We invest a lot of resources in research and development and we think it is very important that we share all our developments with people that have a similar way of understanding life.
Any future projects that we can look forward to?
In one month, we will debut the flip-flop sample at Pitti Uomo in June and at Capsule in NYC in July. The flip-flop will officially launch next summer. We have been working on this product for more than two years along with SIGNUS (company that belongs to Bridgestone, Firestone, Goodyear and Dunlop -- they recycle 90% of the used tires in Spain) and The Technological Shoe Center of Spain. The flip-flop is recycled from used tires and we haven't used any glue nor conglomerates in the process of fixing microparticules. In addition, we are developing over 30 new 100% recycled fabrics for next season.