Aluc: the Upcycling Fashion Brand from Berlin
Arianna Nicoletti, Carina Bischof, Luise Barsch and Jonathan Leupert, the team behind German upcycling label aluc, are a force in fashion. Since launching aluc in 2010, they have gone on to open Berlin’s first concept store for upcycling fashion, the Upcycling Fashion Store (2011), launch the monthly networking event ‘Strich und Faden Modestammtisch’ (Fashion Roundtable), create the Upcycling Roadmap and the “Green Fashion Tours Berlin.” Plus, they created a second-hand material source project (Water to Wine) for upcycling designers.
The team also coordinates the German network for Fashion Revolution Day, and in 2015, together with other committed sustainable fashion professionals, they founded the non-profit association Future Fashion Forward e.V.
We sat down with co-founder Arianna, fashion designer and activist (who met her co-founders while working at London’s “From Somewhere”) and asked her about aluc and her passions:
- What does ethical/sustainable mean to you and the brand?
Once you know about the social and environmental catastrophes hiding behind the fashion industry, there is no way back. Why produce new fabrics, even if organic, when mountains of textiles end up in landfills every day? Using the principle of upcycling and therefore buying left-over fabrics, we are not causing any extra CO2 emissions and no extra water or energy is needed. At the same time we save valuable materials from landfilling or incineration.
- What should Magnifeco readers know about your products?
With our label we want to oppose the crazy, fast-paced rhythm of the fashion system. Our fashion lasts longer than one season and the design is matched to the wishes of the customers. We concentrate on one of the most important and evergreen mens fashion items: the shirt. Mainly because, when we started, most of the sustainable fashion labels were offering just womens fashion and we wanted to give an opportunity to men to wear consciously made clothes too. All our shirts have a detachable collar, which can be exchanged or took of, depending on mood, season, occasion. In this way our customer becomes designer himself. Plus, they are stylish. They are unique. They are made from deadstock material and on top of that they are long lasting and toxic free.
- What do you think the biggest issue in fashion is at the moment – or what are you most passionate about?
Waste is the issue that concerns me the most. On one side we have the pre-consumer waste emerging along the fashion supply chain and involving around 10% of products on every production step (from fibers to finished garments). On the other side there is the huge amount of second-hand clothes, mostly of low quality, which are either burned, landfilled or sent overseas to developing countries, contributing to the ruin of local traditional manufactory.
The third type of ‘fashion trash’, that we create through our fast-fashion habits, is the huge amount of micro plastic and toxic chemicals, which end up in the oceans, through the washing of our contaminated clothes.
- What’s the future for aluc?
We are planning to grow organically and work in the future with more local textile suppliers and manufactories. We also want to active campaign in different directions in order to reach more conscious consumers. We would love to see politicians, entrepreneurs, professors, architects, etc.. not just talking about social and environmental sustainability, but also coherently wearing sustainable business clothes!