Tough news for pioneering eco fashion platform Ecouterre as it announces it will merge with parent company Inhabitat.com, a website covering the latest in design, green technology innovations and architecture.
“We would like to share with you today the fact that the Ecouterre website will be folding back into our original mothership, Inhabitat.com,” announced Jill Fehrenbacher, founder of Ecouterre and Inhabitat in a formal letter to readers published on the site on February 24.
Ecouterre launched in 2009 and broke ground, becoming the world’s first platform dedicated to ethical and eco-fashion. “We helped to start the conversation about “eco fashion” when that term was fairly unknown, and left most in the fashion industry and general public scratching their heads,” continues Jill Fehrenbacher. Feeling the need for a separate space for the eco-fashion conversation, Ecouterre was originally built as a separate website instead of being incorporated into parent website Inhabitat.
Sustainable fashion is increasingly a part of the fashion conversation as I myself have observed since launching Eco Warrior Princess back in 2010. During this time, fashion companies such as ASOS, H&M and Inditex have introduced environmental practices into their production, some fashion schools have incorporated sustainability-focussed subjects into its curriculums and more independent labels are offering ‘conscious fashion’.
But while the eco-fashion conversation deepens, the unstable digital publishing landscape signalled trouble for Ecouterre. “While this separate conversation for fashion still feels so necessary, the rapidly changing dynamics of internet publishing has fundamentally altered Ecouterre’s audience, our revenue and the long-term viability of our business operations as an independent website,” admits Jill Fehrenbacher in her statement. “Because of this, we need to fold Ecouterre back into Inhabitat.com., in order to sustain the content and mission of our work.”
This announcement comes on the heels of online publishing platform Medium laying off 50 employees and closing two offices in New York City and Washington D.C. and online news sites such as The Guardian struggling to find ways to increase ad revenue and remain profitable.
It is a precarious time for online publishing platforms, I should know, I’ve publicly admitted my own struggles with trying to continue to provide free content that educates readers on the things that matter – sustainability, consumerism, ethical business, minimalism, green politics etc – with the increasing running costs of this fast-growing website. It’s why when a reader suggested I start a Patreon account, I did. Anything to help us continue providing relevant, informative content that helps people transform their lives.
The broken system is ad-driven media on the internet… The vast majority of articles, videos, and other “content” we all consume on a daily basis is paid for—directly or indirectly—by corporations who are funding it in order to advance their goals. And it is measured, amplified, and rewarded based on its ability to do that… And it’s getting worse.” – Evan Williams, CEO of Medium
Ecouterre is expected to migrate with Inhabitat.com in the coming months. While the brand will maintain its logo and overall look and feel, the content will be hosted on Inhabitat and will be filed under the category “Ecouterre” on the navigation bar. All its urls will be forwarded to new locations on Inhabitat.com.
“We want to thank our dedicated readers for taking this journey with us, and we hope you will join us over on Inhabitat.com for our next chapter in fighting the good fight for sustainable design,” signs off Fehrenbacher. I have turned to Ecouterre countless times for breaking news in the sustainable fashion industry and I will continue to do so – I can’t think of a team that does the job better.
I reached out to Ecouterre for further comment and have yet to receive a reply.