MARES' commitment to sustainable fashion
Short description
More than 200 people participated in the Sustainable Fashion Week organized by the European project MARES de Madrid on the 23rd, 24th, 25th and 28th of October. The main objective of this event was to promote sustainable fashion, also known as “slow fashion”, as an alternative for one of the world’s most polluting industries.

RECYCLING MAR has launched several awareness and support activities for entrepreneurs, in order to showcase slow fashion or ethical fashion, as an alternative industry that uses sustainable materials, eliminates polluting dyes, defends decent working conditions, and promotes transparent and sustainable management throughout the production chain.

Some of the training activities have been, for instance, the workshop "How to revalue my products", directed by Gema Gómez, from Slow Fashion Next, aimed to provide fashion entrepreneurs the necessary knowledge and skills to prepare their product for sale and commercialization.

In addition, a workshop directed by the cooperative Customizando was held with the Vicalvaro District neighbors, in order to show them how to avoid using plastic bags by making their own bags using disposable cloths.

Another cooperative, Altrapolab, led a sustainable fashion trip across the city of Madrid for twenty people, to visit entrepreneural projects from this industry that are already creating employment from the social and solidarity economy. 

A showroom was also held at the Somos El Puente Foundation, with more than a dozen exhibitors of sustainable fashion products. These initiatives, mostly led by women, are being accompanied by the RECYCLING MAR to help them reach the market and to be economically sustainable. 

One of the highlights of the Fashion Week was the event "creating a sustainable future for the fashion sector", in collaboration with Impact Hub Madrid, in order to debate how to minimize the negative consequences of textile industry. During the event, more than 70 people had the opportunity to reflect on the co-existence of the sustainable fashion with the so-called ‘fast fashion’, and the way sustainable fashion could keep competitiveness by producing clothing under sustainability criteria.

The day began with an inspiring talk by businessperson Mikel Feijoo Elzo, CEO and founder of Skunkfunk, a firm that made more than 400,000 garments last year in the field of ethical fashion. Feijoo highlighted some key points for entrepreneurs: 
1) "When starting a business, you have to be aware of what new products you are bringing to the sector"
2) "Association is always needed: Creative people are not usually very good managers. You will need specialists in finance, marketing, communication" 
3) "My advice is to focus on recycled and regenerated fabrics and look beyond creating new brands, since the chain is very large and there are market opportunities everywhere" 
4) "Take a look at the many grants and subsidies available for circular economy”

The meeting continued with a very interesting round table moderated by Gema Gómez, CEO of Slow Fashion Next, with Mònica Noguero, from the Sustainable Fashion Association of Barcelona, Susana Vela Covisa, coordinator of Sustainable Fashion-Sustainable Experience in the international fair MOMAD, Beatriz Segura, co-founder of Ética Market and Lucía de Gustín, a social entrepreneur from the MAR Recycling. 

All of them agreed in pointing out that "sustainable fashion is fashion", thus demystifying the wrong thought that those textile industries that use recycled or regenerated materials are not categorized as “fashion”.

Due to the great interest generated, MARES de Madrid, through its MAR Recycling, launched on the 7th, 8th and 9th of December, the first edition of the “Sustainable Fashion Market” together with a group of brands whose products are local, 100% traceable, social, fair trade, eco-designed, handcrafted and/or made with recycled or recovered materials. The main objective of this event was to promote a social/responsible consumption regarding Christmas.

Eleven incubated initiatives from the MAR Recycling had the opportunity to showcase their products during these three days in Espacio El Puente (Paseo de la Chopera 10, Madrid).

In addition to the sale of products, these eleven initiatives, together with MAR Recycling, organized a complete program around sustainable fashion. This included workshops, talks and colloquia on "how to make a woven carpet with old cloths”(cooperative Customizando); “how to give a new style to old sweaters” (Gregal Ecodesign and Fashion Changemakers); sustainable ways to enjoy fashion (Ecodicta); artisan espadrilles (Teresa Entretejidos); sewing tricks for children's fashion (Pequeña Fashionista); organic fabrics; (Biocracia), new accessories (Lucía de Gustín); and serigraphy for T-shirts (Crudo Sostenible), among others.

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