Having largely conquered the cold, sustainability-minded countries of Europe, Ecoalf is now upping its fashion credentials and visibility by opening a boutique in central Paris — with Milan and Los Angeles locations also coming soon.
The Spanish brand, known for its holistic approach to green fashion, took a bright 1,600-square-foot space a stone’s throw from the BHV in the buzzy Marais district, troweling the walls, floors and fixtures with a concrete mixture containing old, shredded T-shirts.
“In France, the brand is not known, and the store will help,” brand founder and president Javier Goyeneche said in an interview at the boutique, which has a vibe somewhere between contemporary art gallery and surf shack. “Paris is very important, and the location is fantastic.”
Although the brand is sold in almost 2,000 wholesale doors in Europe, with Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Scandinavia the most established markets, it is only sold in about 70 doors in France.
Goyeneche said its new premium line Ecoalf 1.0, which debuted for fall 2021 retailing, is helping garner the brand attention and appreciation with its minimalist allure in the vein of old Celine or current Cos, but with the highest sustainability credentials.
“It’s not basic, it’s timeless, which is a key component of sustainable fashion,” he noted.
Touring the bifurcated space at 14 Rue du Temple, the executive pointed to polo shirts which shed hardly any micro-plastics when laundered; a sleek tote bag made of plastics retrieved from the bottom of the ocean; and sleek sweatpants made of Kapok, a natural cellulose fiber sourced from the dried fruits of the kapok tree.
The brand is also pursuing collaborations that are bound to heighten its profile, including one with Gwyneth Paltrow’s apparel and lifestyle brand Goop, landing at retail in October, and another, streetwear-driven tie-up with Spanish model Jon Kortajarena, slated for February 2023, Goyeneche said.
At present, about 60 percent of the Ecoalf business is wholesale, 20 percent retail and 20 percent online, he noted.
The next retail opening will likely be Milan, followed by Los Angeles this fall, in tandem with a full-court press into the North American market. In fact, Goyeneche plans to relocate from Madrid to California to set up the office, warehouse and flagship store. Wholesale distribution in North America will be handled by the M5 showroom in New York, which has launched the likes of Stone Island, Woolrich and Herno in the market.
The brand also counts flagships in Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin and Tokyo.
Ecoalf logged 67 percent growth in 2021, and is targeting revenues of 40 million euros this year, and 60 million euros in 2023, according to Goyeneche.
Sneakers account for about 25 percent of sales, with the outerwear category preeminent in winter collections, and T-shirts, sweatshirts and swimwear for the summer. The brand will next stretch into apparel for yoga, jogging and other active pursuits.
Founded in 2009, the company is turning its attention to the end of its products’ life cycle by focusing mainly on mono-filament garments, rather than ones made of blended materials. Goyeneche noted already 94 percent of its fabrics are mono-filament, including organic cotton and cashmere as well as plant-based polymers Sorona by DuPont and Solotex.