An Interview with Javier Goyeneche

An Interview with Javier Goyeneche

About Javier Goyeneche, president and founder of ECOALF

Born in Madrid, Javier studied in Spain, London and Paris. In 1995, he founded Fun & Basics, specializing in contemporary fashion handbags and accessories.  Within 10 years, Javier grew the business to 350 points of sale and 70 branded retail stores. Javier gradually grew frustrated with the amount of waste he saw being produced by the fashion industry. He embarked on a mission to create an entirely new concept that would combine his design sensibility and understanding of the fashion consumer with the latest in recycled materials.  In 2012 he launched ECOALF, named after his son Alfredo. Under his leadership, the company has grown steadily and now produces a full lifestyle collection of outerwear, swimwear, casual apparel, shoes and accessories.

The core idea is, to inspire all businesses to compete not only to be the best in the world, but to be the best for the world.

Questions to Javier Goyeneche

You spent a few days in Berlin for Fashion Fashion Week – what were your impressions? Where do you think it is going?

We’ve been present at Neonyt and for the first time at PREMIUM Exhibitions with a booth. We’ve got the impression that sustainability is becoming crucial in the industry. It’s great to see this transition. The people start to be more aware of the production and the environmental impact behind the garments. It’s time to ACT and we must unify forces and show to the world that there is a way to do things differently, and to be responsible for the people and the planet.  

Sustainability is more and more important for fashion labels, but especially here in Berlin, where there are a lot of events around sustainability. What do you think are the next milestones?

Our ACT NOW events take place monthly in our stores and give voice to other players and projects. The objective is to raise awareness and further strengthen the community.  Next milestones will be based on innovation and design. Beside that education is extremely important, thus we want to put further efforts into education in schools and universities.

You did an art installation with the artist Juan Garaizabal. What was it about?

Juan Garaizabal is well-known for his monumental public sculptures and he now joined forces with us to spread the message about the negative impact that we all have on the environment and to call upon the PREMIUM Exhibitions visitors to be aware of their responsibility. The people have been invited to deposit waste inside the installation, to ingrain the idea of proper waste disposal into their everyday lives. The installation is an exercise to share, teach and educate knowledge in order to speed up the sustainability process.

You also met the Berlin mayor – what was his impression of your work/label, booth and the installation?

I was very proud of his visit and that we had the chance to take him to the BECAUSE THERE IS NO PLANET B installation, it’s a great example for the Berlin community, and we hope it will reflect a best practice.   

There is a Berlin Ecoalf-store, one in Madrid and you open up a new one in Barcelona. Will there be more stores coming?

Yes, we have an expansion plan for the coming years, but we continue to be very focused on our core markets Spain and Germany.   

What is your perspective on online retail?

It’s crucial for us and it also helps to raise awareness and reach out to a wider audience. How can we make online retail more sustainable? There are many ways to be more sustainable, for Ecoalf we are focusing on responsible purchases.  

 You are now B CORP certified. What does that mean?

Certified B Corporations meet higher standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability.  Ecoalf is actually the first fashion brand in Spain, which became B CorpTM – a fact we are proud of. The core idea is, to inspire all businesses to compete not only to be the best in the world, but to be the best for the world.  Ecoalf transforms ideas into actions and this is the highest certified standard we could get.

You also got a PETA award for the Felder Felder capsule collection. 

We received the PETA UK FASHION AWARD for our collaboration with the design duo Felder Felder. The capsule collection includes 100 per cent vegan, ultra-light and waterproof coats made with recycled nylon. A collaboration that proofs sustainability and style work together.

Your upcycling the oceans project is focused on Spain and Thailand. Will it be rolled out in other countries as well?

We are very focused on the Mediterranean and would love to further extend the project.  We started in 2015 and today we work with over 3.000 fisherman across Spain and Thailand so far and our goal is to work with partners in all Mediterranean countries.

Are you planning anything for collecting trash on land?

Our main goal is at the moment the bottom of the oceans. In 2017 we took over 300 tons of waste from the bottom of the ocean and worked therefore with over 3000 fishermen. In Thailand we do have support from the scuba diver community and from beach walkers to pursue our ambitious plan for Upcycling the Oceans.