On the back of the launch of Desigual’s sustainable ‘Love the World’ collection, Retail Times hosts a Q&A with Desigual product director, Clara Delmuns
1. How important is sustainability to Desigual as a brand?
For Desigual, sustainability has been one of the main priorities of our business strategy since its origins. In fact, our first garment created in 1984 by Thomas Meyer, Desigual’s founder, was the Iconic Jacket, a denim jacket made from pieces of vintage jeans that can be considered one of the fashion industry’s first upcycled pieces. From then on, sustainability has been integrated in the brand’s operations and philosophy under the name “Love the World”. It encompasses all the actions performed by Desigual in line with its social and environmental commitments.
In 2020, aiming to accelerate these commitments, Desigual launched its 2020-2023 Sustainability and CSR strategic Plan. It focuses on six working areas: product, suppliers, environment, human resources, customers, and community; and is aligned with the UN SDGs.
This plan brought new objectives for the next three years in terms of our carbon footprint, the use of sustainable fibres, plastics and the supply chain.
With regard to our carbon footprint, we aim to make a 25% reduction by 2025 and become a carbon neutral company by 2050. As for sustainable fibres, Desigual is working to incorporate up to 30% sustainable fibres in its collections by the end of 2021, increasing the percentage to 50% by 2023. Moreover, the brand is committed to removing single-use plastics from product packaging by 2021 and to using 100% more-sustainable cotton by 2025. Also, with the objective of achieving a responsible supply chain, in 2021 we will continue to increase our transparency by making our list of Tier 2 factories public (in 2020 we published our list of Tier 1 factories).
2. Is this the first 100% sustainable collection from Desigual? Why now? Why launch in 2021?
No, Desigual has launched other sustainable collections before. In 2019, Desigual partnered with Ecoalf, another Spanish fashion brand, to launch an entire collection made from recycled materials. Also, as part of the spring-summer 2020 collection, we launched a capsule collection designed in collaboration with Spanish artist Miranda Makaroff which was made from 100% organic fabrics. The main part of this collection was also comprised of 11% sustainable fibres. This percentage rose to 20% in the fall-winter 2020 collection.
The Love The World collection is aligned with Desigual’s strategy of increasing the sustainable materials used in its collections, while also incorporating sustainable criteria in the entire life cycle of the brand’s products. A declaration of principles which establishes the company’s future objectives as part of its commitment to a sustainable fashion production model that respects both people and the planet. And, at the same time, a collection that’s 100% committed to sustainability.
3. Is sourcing 100% sustainable fabrics/trims a challenge?
Desigual’s commitment to manufacturing a 100% sustainable product range includes the selection process for raw materials, which is why the company has a Raw Material Department. It aims to supervise and ensure that both the selected suppliers and the materials being used meet the brand’s requirements.
Desigual also collaborates with international organisations, like the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI). We are also part of The Fashion Pact. Through these alliances, the brand is strengthening sustainable and ethical production and increasing the use of sustainable fibres and materials, such as more-sustainable cotton.
4. What new sustainability innovations should we expect from this collection?
Desigual’s new collection is composed of 100% sustainable garments that are made from organic, eco-friendly and recycled fibres. It is a permanent collection that will be renewed during the year. This means that Desigual will be adding new sustainably produced garments under “Love the World” name.
Another new feature is that all the Upcycling capsule collection’s garments (part of the Love The World collection) are denim patchwork, inspired by the Iconic Jacket, the first Desigual garment which was made in the same way and from the same materials.
Desigual has also recently manufactured other sustainable collections, such as the Camoflower capsule made entirely from Tencel and the beachwear collection made almost completely from recycled fibres. In addition, the brand has launched its “Better Cotton Initiative denim” made from more sustainable cotton.