Mar Chova, CEO and Founder of OASEAS, originally studied law, but she always felt a big vocation towards the fashion industry. When she was 9 years old she would sit in her bedroom for hours and designs would flow into her mind. At 13 she was already daydreaming about becoming a fashion entrepreneur. After years of inspiration and passion driven decisions, she finally decided to fulfill her lifelong dream by creating and offering an inner piece of herself, which is currently the vision and design that OASEAS represents.
OASEAS is an online marketplace that provides access to the world's largest selection of high-quality, sustainable products, in a well-curated, operationally excellent, and high-tech manner. OASEAS was born when Mar became frustrated after not being able to find high-quality, sustainable garments as an alternative to conventional fashion.
OASEAS aims to represent, serve, and promote a growing global community of demanding sustainable fashion consumers, enabling them to discover the very best in sustainable fashion. By intersecting sustainability, fashion, and technology, OASEAS is a unique marketplace where people can have a fully sustainable shopping experience. OASEAS unlocks opportunities for suppliers and businesses, creating a thriving ecosystem where everyone participates in the broader economy.
OASEAS transmits a promise to women, new generations, and the fashion industry as a whole - a promise to reflect and capture the real value of garments. They will never compromise in design or quality at any point in the production chain, so that people can be proud not only of how they wear and style, but of what they wear and style.
When asked about who inspires her in the industry, Mar mentions Ellie Dinh - Co-Founder of Girlfriend Collective, Javier Goyeneche - Founder of Ecoalf, Amalia Stevens - Founder of Vitamin A, Yael Aflalo - Founder of Reformation, and Stella McCartney. These pioneers in the sustainable fashion industry have played an important part in inspiring the creation of OASEAS.
“Consumers are becoming increasingly aware and concerned about social and environmental responsibility within the fashion industry,” acknowledges Mar. “Proprietary research by Boston Consulting Group shows that 75% of consumers view sustainability as extremely or very important. This is further substantiated by an increase in sustainability mentions on social media, which was a third higher than the overall growth of social media posts. As the growth of positive mentions of sustainability is more than proportional, brands have an opportunity to leverage their work toward better practices, contribute to the positive momentum, and maintain a competitive edge with consumers.”
“The current economic fashion model is linear, following the same pattern of produce, use, and throw-away. Sustainability is no longer an option, but a necessity.” Mar says that a lack of awareness and consumerism are the biggest problems of the current fashion system. “We live in a consumerist society that strives always to have the last version of every collection, and this is definitely not sustainable. I personally advocate for quality rather than quantity, and that’s what OASEAS is all about. The vast majority of people are not aware of the shocking stats that appear after checking out for the fashion industries’ contribution to climate change, pollution and wage inequalities, between many others. Consequently, the lack of knowledge derives in a lack of action.”
OASEAS is against everything that fast fashion relies on: mass production, low prices, and large volumes of sales. “Consumers should change their consumption patterns in order to stop aggravating pollution and start preserving a better world for our future generations. People should start acknowledging the immense damage we are causing and stop looking elsewhere for answers, valuing quality over quantity,” she affirms.
OASEAS tries their best to respect the three pillars of sustainability (economic, social, and environmental) when choosing brands to work with. They verify that brands have traceable production processes, and that the brands know how and with what their clothes are being made. They also created a sustainability form for brands to fulfill in order to evaluate their efforts, and reward and support them in their sustainable achievements.
The brands they work with also go through quality assessments to ensure the durability of their products. Most of their brands are careful about their production methods and avoid harmful chemicals, using natural alternatives like olive oil for leather tanning. Some of their products are also upcycled or can be recycled after they’re used instead of being incinerated, which is what happens to many clothes in the fashion industry. If a brand doesn’t live up to OASEAS standards and values, they aren’t afraid to stop working with them or refuse a partnership with them.
Ethics in the fashion industry relies on four predominant issues. These include the quality of working conditions, the degree of environmental pollution produced as a by-product of the industry, the number of natural resources used, and the degree of consumerism linked to the purchase of new collections/garments. The main focus of OASEAS is to provide a wide base of customers with clothes and accessories that have been ethically made. OASEAS is proud to onboard brands that can be transparent and sustainable, and they provide them with a platform to actively share their messages. OASEAS makes a significant effort to stay as close as possible to innovative sustainability; they partner with producers that use raw materials like coffee, hazelnuts, or cherries to produce their garments and push sustainability in every aspect of operations.
OASEAS has the goal of combining the best sustainable designs and latest materials to create a crossroads between design, technology, and art. They try to select brands that continuously try to improve all the different stages involved in their creation processes - design, raw material selection, production, manufacturing, transporting, storage and marketing.
All the factories of the brands OASEAS works with are certified, and they respect fair wages and good working conditions. They also try to promote craftsmanship as much as possible and to preserve traditional manufacturing methods.
In addition to selling ethically and sustainably made products online, OASEAS is also onboarding carefully selected ambassadors to create a program of strong, lasting relationships centered around economic and environmental sustainability. “We highly value when Ambassadors take inner initiative and are as motivated as us about the project,” they quote.
OASEAS is also trying to open up a pop-up store in the heart of Zurich. “It is one of our priorities to make this happen since we will love our clients to come and see for themselves the quality we offer. People will be baffled by the quality of the garments and this is something which they cannot do by just scrolling through our web...one of our main objectives with this initiative is to tell our garment’s stories and make them discover an infinity of emotional and exciting anecdotes! Last but not least, we have amazing event-news coming soon, that we can’t wait to disclose!”
Despite the huge amount of work and long hours that are required to build up OASEAS, the team enjoys every step of the journey. The market has warmly welcomed OASEAS, and all of their efforts have been gratified by customer satisfaction. OASEAS is based in the Start-up Hub at Technopark Zürich, and after receiving a high initial committed investment in their first seed round, they’re looking forward to creating a disruptive change in the retail industry. They hope to drastically increase the amount of consumers that are committed to buying sustainably, while simultaneously helping sustainable brands increase their customer base.