With a decade of up-cycled brilliance under their belt – turning (fisher)men’s trash into fashion lovers’ treasure – and having just launched their sustainable yoga collection and a new store in Amsterdam, this high impact brand should be on every discerning reader’s radar.
Born in 2009 out of frustration with the excessive use of natural resources, and named after the founder’s then newly-arrived son Alfredo, Ecoalf has since been turning would-be-waste materials into timeless premium products “because there is no planet B”.
From travel and wash bags, to swimwear, hoodies, coats and boots, if you don’t know this label you’ll be astonished at what goes into these colourful wearables (you really can’t call them basics with such sophisticated R&D behind them). Cutting-edge upcycling programmes turn discarded fishing nets and used coffee grounds into slick water-repellent jackets; old car tyres into snazzy flip flops; plastic bottles (they’ve transformed more than 200 million so far) into accessories and sneaker laces, to name but a few. And they’re all combined with a dedication to good design that ensures you can be proud to show off the finished pieces even in the coolest of capitals.
According to founder and president Javier Goyeneche, the brand’s goal is to integrate “breakthrough technology to create clothing and accessories made entirely from recycled materials… without actually looking like it.” As part of their ongoing work, they’ve also developed their own recycled cotton and wool, a biodegradable algae alternative for footwear soles, and saved more than 38 million litres of water in their production processes. As they remind us, it takes a staggering 2,700 litres of water – roughly what one person drinks in two-and-a-half years – to make one standard cotton shirt.
Heavyweight collaborators include Cool Hunting, Apple, will.i.am and Ekocycle, Swatch and Camper. Their most notable collaboration is with the 3,000 voluntary fishermen who work with EcoAlf Foundation’s ‘Upcycling the Oceans’ initiative. Along with their 550 boats across 32 ports, they’ve been recovering marine litter (more than 300 tons of it since 2015) from the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. And the model caught on in Thailand too; check out the swimwear line produced with waste plastic from the seas around Phuket.
If conscious consumerism is about buying into the change you want to see in the world, and ethical fashion is about wearing that change, Ecoalf is a strong and stylish vote for progressive philanthropy and zero waste.