Paris, France: Have you ever thought that shopping online for ethical clothing was hard? Have you ever felt discouraged after spending hours researching a pair of jeans or a coat that matched your values but never found what you were looking for?
Well, it’s happened to me.
Shopping ethically can be difficult and often time-consuming. But thankfully, entrepreneurs passionate about sustainability want to make it easier for consumers to spend their money on brands with a conscience and wear fashion that is kind to the planet and to its inhabitants. I had the opportunity to have a chat with one of these entrepreneurs. Claudia Angeli, who just launched thegreenlabels.com, a Netherlands based webshop that offers some of the coolest ethical brands out there and enables you to shop according to the values you feel most important to you. Sounds pretty cool right? We recently got to chatting about all things sustainable fashion, and here’s what we talked about…
EWP: Hi Claudia, thanks for talking to me! Could you let me know what led you to launch a project about sustainable fashion?
Claudia Angeli: Yes, of course! Actually, my background doesn’t include in any ways eco-fashion. I am an engineer and a former business school student but I have worked in the digital sector for three years and always pictured myself launching an online project at some point.
For the environmental side, I guess I have always been aware of what’s at stake thanks to my parents who were very conscious. Then, I’ve lived in Shanghai for a year and that was the first time I truly realized the impact of human activity on the planet, as in China the pollution is very present and you find yourself spending days without seeing the sun or the sky. That was three years ago.
When it comes to launching a project, I’ve always believed that you need the right context and conditions and I came across those a year ago when I felt I was digitally ready and surrounded by the right people such as the Impact Hub that allowed me to meet me like-minded individuals and entrepreneurs.
I started this specific project when I returned to Amsterdam from China and started being very restrictive when it came to my fashion consumption, to the point where I felt guilty buying anything. I had never heard about eco-fashion and started researching brands for myself. Then I met two partners who felt the same way about eco-fashion and how it can sometimes be a long process to find brands that are eco-conscious and ethical. That’s how the idea of the green labels was born!
EWP: If you had to describe thegreenlabels.com to someone who has never heard of it what would you say?
CA: We are an online webshop offering a range of labels that are stylish and coherent for urban and active people. We also produce a lot of content, news about eco-fashion, interviews, behind-the-scenes and we selected parcel providers that are the most sustainable as possible, while our packaging is made of recycled paper and recycled organic cotton tee shirts.
Moreover, on the website itself, each person can choose brands that match their own individual values that are: vegan, waste reduction, clean processes and local. Each label must at least fit one value but most correspond to several.
EWP: Why do you think many people are still reluctant to buy eco-fashion today?
CA: Consumers of thegreenlabels.com have actually replied to that question and according to them, the three main reasons are: “the need to search and dig a lot of information before finding what you want” then “expensive pricing”, and the “limited feeling in the offer and assortment”.
Eco-fashion is still a bubble and the lack of information is the major issue that prevents mainstream consumers to turn to more ethical and eco-friendly alternatives.
EWP: How do you think we could increase the visibility of eco fashion?
CA: I think a combination of small initiatives and actions from larger brands could work. At first, when I saw another similar site launch, I was worried about competition but now I see it as an opportunity to promote eco-fashion and increase the size of the market. Every initiative is a good initiative.
We also need to show that people are unaware of eco-fashion such as mainstream influencers can wear these products rather than remain in the eco “niche”, this is an important challenge. When it comes to major retailers, I think that if they truly have long-term objectives towards sustainability, it could be a good thing but if they only want to surf the “green wave” for a few collections, then there’s obviously no point.
EWP: As a green entrepreneur what are the mains difficulties you encounter?
CA: Well I really do feel that when you launch a project that goes beyond simple profits, you get so much more support as people nowadays want to help projects with a purpose that they feel connected to. I’ve already received unexpected help during this journey for which I am very grateful so I feel its probably easier than it was a decade ago.
EWP: Where do you see thegreenlabels.com in 5 years?
CA: I would love for it to have grown into an online concept store offering female and male fashion, interior design. I want to increase the number of brands we offer, become even more sustainable in all our practices, give back one percent of our profits to charities and overall be able to witness the rise of eco-fashion into a mainstream phenomenon, that’d be great!
thegreenlabels.com is now live and you can shop here. The brand also offers free shipping worldwide for every order over 100€ with the code “LAUNCHTGL“!