Javier Goyeneche, the 44-year-old Spanish entrepreneur behind ECOALF, is using trash to create high-end, durable fashion. NPR reports:
The company — named after Goyeneche’s first son, Alfredo — was only a concept five years ago, but today, two years after its first line hit the stores, the brand has had an early boost from limited-edition products for some high-profile partners and friends, like Apple, Barneys and the queen of eco-friendly high living,Gwyneth Paltrow.
What exactly is ECOALF using in its sustainable fashion offerings? Some pretty gnarly refuse, reports NPR, “discarded tires, leftover coffee grounds, even old fishing nets from the sea.” Those fishing nets can be massive–more than a mile long and made from high quality nylon. And ECOALF turns every pound of fishing net into about two yards of fabric. The company has recycled 24 tons of fishing nets so far along with 24 million plastic bottles. It’s working with Will.i.am on developing a line of outdoor accessories for Ekocycle, his new company which is in a partnership with Coca-Cola to upcycle its plastic beverage bottles.
While recycling and upcylcing trash like soda bottles into new clothes is nothing new—Patagonia has been doing it for years— Goyeneche is setting ECOALF apart from the rest of the sustainable fashion industry by using 80 to 100 percent recycled materials compared with 15 or 20 percent, the industry norm.
The ECOALF collection isn’t cheap–$250 for a coat and $105 for shoes—but it’s not outrageously expensive either. “ECOALF is one of the very few [sustainable fashion] brands which are, style-wise, very mass-market compatible. This is a very big advantage,” German fashion designer Magdalena Schaffrin told NPR. But if you are tired of fast fashion that doesn’t last and isn’t doing the environment any good and you’re looking to up your wardrobe with investment pieces that have fantastic origin stories, ECOALF might be right up your alley.
Fishing net image via Shutterstock