Fashion has always been Mercedes Escoda and Claudia Magriñá‘s passion. Who are they? They are the founders of Almasanta, an online sustainable fashion store with an exquisite selection of fashion brands that care for the planet and workers’ rights. Based on what they told us, fashion is in their DNA, it’s their way of expressing themselves and communicating with the world.
After working for seven years in Corporate Social Responsibility, they noticed that a number of large companies lacked production transparency, especially in the fashion industry, and decided to be part of the change.
We use fashion to communicate, but we can’t be transparent if we don’t know where the product comes from. Through this experience we decided to use the growing e-commerce industry to merge our passion for fashion with sustainability, while remaining hand in hand with the latest trends. These words were enough for us at Luxiders Magazine to want to sit with these two fashion lovers and ask them everything our readers want to know.
Starting was never easy
The first thing we ask them was their opinion on the current fashion system. It’s amazing how the fashion industry has come to this. We are overwhelmed by the amount of fashion brands on the market, and annoyed by the lack of transparency in the fashion system, that’s why we decided to create a place where sustainability and style go hand in hand.
They told us that starting Almasanta wasn’t easy, especially in a developing sector such as sustainable fashion. For them, opening their way in the world of fashion has been an adventure, as well as finding that market niche that is sensitized by ecological fashion. We are the link for the consumer who seeks to find the latest trends, look different and who’s begun to become aware about sustainable aspects.
Searching for brands is a complex process because, on the one hand, we look for different products that follows the latest trends and, on the other, that meet our sustainability requirements.
The brands sold in the Almasanta online store come from all over the world, such as South America, Australia, the United States, Bali, Korea, France, England and Spain. We are interested in knowing how they created the beautiful selection of brands they sell in their e-shop. They confess that they only support brands that have sustainability in their DNA and that at least comply with one of their eight pillars: craftsmanship, organic, fair trade, recycled, certified, ecological, local production and social integration.
Currently, there have 60 brands available in their online store. What differentiates them from other brands is, in addition to their sustainable concept, their style and the fact that the product is fashionable. Nowadays the consumer is motivated by style, but this is starting to change and people are more aware and more worried about where the pieces come from as well as the brand’s philosophy – and we totally agree with that.
Women with a conscience
Normally, Almasanta’s clients are women between the ages of 25-55 who look for a quality product, that is durable and in the latest fashion. Nowadays their most assiduous buyers come from Germany and the United Kingdom, as they’re more conscientious with conservation and online purchasing.
It’s no secret that organic food, yoga, mindfulness, are becoming the latest trends. Consumers are changing their habits to enjoy a healthier life, and we want to close that cycle with the way they dress, which after all is the way you show yourself to the world.
Fast fashion is a danger to the ecosystem and society. We only need to reflect on the following: “When a consumer is paying € 7 for a T-shirt, are they paying for the production cost? How many clothes are thrown out every year if 200 tonnes are made every day? Brands and governmental organizations should be responsible for educating consumers and communicate their ethical messages more effectively by providing availability, visibility, affordability, quality and a clear communication on ethical products and services – this interview is getting interesting.
According to Claudia Magriñá and Mercedes Escoda, there are several alarming factors that put the fashion industry on alert. We already know (and we can’t stop repeating it) that the fashion industry is the second industry that produces more CO2, after the oil industry. And also that they spend 2,650 liters of water to produce one 250 grams cotton t-shirt. These are extremely worrying data that shouldn’t go unnoticed. The system is already changing, though slowly, but the industry is changing and is becoming more aware.
The problem is the price? A sustainable T-shirt has a very different price than a normal t-shirt…– we ask them: It’s true, price is one of the decisive factors when making a purchase. But it’s also true that consumers are slowly becoming more aware, they’re more educated and more curious. Which is better, buying three jerseys for the season in fast fashion companies or getting a good cashmere sweater that will last you for years? In the end, you’ll spend less buying something of quality than buying a low quality jersey every season.
We care about everything. The climate change we’re suffering is noticeable, and in the working world there was a before and after when the Rana Plaza collapsed in April 2013. Unfortunately, the consumer still doesn’t know the whole story, but this new generation of millennials is more aware, and consider the company’s values and in their purchasing decisions.
Currently, several international organizations are doing a very good job. For example, Claudia and Mercedes talk about The Better Cotton Initiative, which involves more than 50 companies and brands and about 700 suppliers who work in setting environmental, social and economic responsibility standards for cotton production, or the British Fashion Council, which promotes brands and designers who work sustainably. They also applaud the Sustainable Fashion Days or various green fashion shows, such as the one recently held in Los Angeles.
The new sustainable style
Speaking of style, Almasanta’s creators claim that green is the new black. This means that organic fashion is a trend. For those who think like them, they propose Almasanta’s style: a smart, casual style, based on quality sustainable products.
We ask them to name their favorite garments on their website for this season. It’s hard to choose a single garment. A perfect match for the 2017 Spring Summer season would be tight Redone jeans, with comfortable Stateside T-shirts, and Carrie Forbes handmade sandals, and for the beach, Faithfull the brand‘s dresses with Mara Hoffman‘s colorful swimsuits.
There are many incredible fashion designers, but in ethical and sustainable terms, there are less than we thought. However, thanks to Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow and Stella Mccartney‘s work, substance has become more visible and powerful.
In addition to the store, have you thought about launching your own brand? – we asked: At the moment we aren’t looking into that option. We prefer to provide new, different, high-quality brands and that have sustainability in their DNA. However, we don’t rule it out for the future.
What they have launched are temporary stores in several fashion capitals: Berlin, London and, recently, Barcelona. The result has been amazing. People congratulated us on our project and said that there were no similarly shops in London or Berlin. They were specially amazed by the collection when we explained the story behind each brand and when they touched and noticed the clothes’s quality. Many of them followed us on Instagram and came expressly to see the collection – we are so glad for this success.
Currently, Almasanta has well consolidated foundations and is looking to expand beyond the European market. We’re getting lots of requests from other continents and want to offer them this service – they say, and then continue: Without a doubt, large luxury brands are already trying to incorporate more ethical and sustainable processes. Little by little the fashion industry is moving towards this trend. We can’t compare sustainable fashion brands from 5 years ago with the ones we see today. The fashion industry is recognizing sustainability as its guide for growth and new brands are basing their business on ethical values, without forgetting style and trends.