Europe’s Top 6 Sustainable Fashion Start-Ups

With the fashion industry being the second-largest polluter after the oil industry, Ashley Norris, Editor of Transition Earth, looks at companies trying to make fashion more sustainable….

Sustainability has become a more mainstream life goal in recent years. If we look at the fashion industry in particular, we can see the emergence of more sustainable fashion startups entering the market. Not only are these newer brands/initiatives looking to lead the way in making an industry change, but they’re also establishing a new model for buying clothes. 

The environmental benefits of sustainable fashion are significant, especially taking into consideration that the fashion industry is the world’s second-largest polluter (oil being the first) and sources 60% of fabric fibres from fossil fuels while being responsible for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions. Here are some of the fashion startups which are revolutionising the fashion world.

Project Cece (The Netherlands)

The largest website for sustainable clothing in Europe. Having identified one major problem for conscious clothes shoppers – it’s hard to find sustainable brands  – Project Cece created a platform that gathers all sustainable fashion in one online marketplace. Started by Marcella Vineyards, Noor Veenhoven and Melissa Vineyards, Project Cece puts transparency high on its agenda, admitting that it’s still impossible to fully control the process of production to sale. They have therefore developed their own web tech that is capable of collecting as much information as possible – from the brands directly but also third parties and industry benchmarks –  for the consumer to make the most conscious decision. Not only are the clothes categorised by sustainability, but Project Cece provides details on the brands’ ethical position and company values. 

Ressortecs (Belgium)

The removal of items such as zippers and buttons from clothing creates a huge barrier for clothes recycling or reuse, as it often requires human intervention, making it expensive and time-consuming. Resortecs® has come up with a solution by creating a thread system, which dissolves at a high temperature. This means that whole pieces of clothing can be broken down.

When used for regular seams, the whole piece of clothing can easily be broken up and reused over and over again. With their sights set on becoming an industry leader in the fashion world,  Ressortecs recently qualified for the semi-finals of The European Social Innovation Competition

Buena Onda (Spain)

This premium lifestyle brand releases three designs every summer. The newest collection always links back to previous designs, allowing conscious consumers to build a fully sustainable summer wardrobe in slow fashion style. Buena Onda founder Farah Ragheb was motivated to start her own ethical fashion label after 13 years of working in retail and seeing first-hand the problematic reality of fast fashion.

The apparel is designed by a select team of expert designers in both Copenhagen and Hong Kong, with the majority of fabrics sourced from South Korea and Japan. The brand also donates 10% of its annual profit to youth-empowerment charities or organisations, which they would eventually like to increase by 20%.

Easysize (Denmark)

Easysize has developed a tool that works to reduce size-related clothing returns. The amount of returned items per year creates around 4.7 million metric tons of CO2 emissions. The Easysize engineers have acquired experience within the online fashion sector to create an algorithm capable of tracking real-time returns from all over the world in order to identify consumer patterns. Easysize then helps brands provide their online shoppers with a ‘fit quiz’ to accurately capture their sizing information, which then generates clothing recommendations based on the results. At the start of this year, Easysize had already managed to reduce brand return rates by 14%. 

Armedangels (Germany)

Armedangels is a PETA-approved clothes brand that is not only sustainable but also vegan. Created in 2007, it aimed to make conscious, vegan fashion more desirable. Using only renewable resources and recycled materials, such as GOTS certified organic cotton, linen, recycled or organic wool, Armedangels designs look good, are easy to wear and durable. Concerning how the clothes are made, Armedangels production is in compliance with the eight main workers’ rights conventions, as established by the ILO governing body and the company pays regular visits to its production sites in Portugal, India and Turkey. They’re one of the first European brands to tackle the negative impact of denim on the environment, before correcting the issue with their #DetoxDenim initiative

Reflaunt (Singapore and U.K.)

Reflaunt aims to shake up luxury shopping habits by way of a circular economy approach that will also reduce the stigma around consumerism. Their platform technology allows users to “resell, donate or recycle their past purchases directly from the e-commerce site of the brand with the click of a button.” Reflaunt shoppers get the satisfaction of knowing that no luxury item will go to waste and brands can connect directly to younger, more conscious consumers while retaining ownership of their products. Reflaunt’s success is sure to be boosted by big-name supporters such as Cedric Charbit (CEO, Balenciaga) and Giovanna Battaglia (Vogue Fashion Editor).

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Chris Price