Montse, an expert in environmental consultancy, and Núria, who works in environmental education, are the heart and soul of Back to Eco. After several years working together on different educational and sustainable awareness projects, they decided to launch their own sustainable fashion brand.
Why Back to Eco? One day, Montse’s mother made a bag out of old jeans. She saw the potential of a material that she was going to throw away and decided to use it. This simple action, carried out so naturally, made them realise that we have a lot to learn from our parents and grandparents about leading a more sustainable life. That’s why Back to Eco represents the rediscovery of traditional “sustainability” know-how, with a socio-environmental perspective from the product’s collection to its sale and use.
Raw material was never an issue. Every day, thousands of tons of clothes are thrown away. In fact, all the jeans they use come from Catalonia, where the Solidança association, which forms part of Roba Amiga, collects and sorts them.
In order to create the designs and patterns, they work with various eco-designers. From the outset, they knew they wanted simple designs that were easy to create, made the most of the material and were functional and long-lasting.
Back to Eco is a clear example of a cyclical economy where waste doesn’t exist: material changes its original use and becomes a resource in the creation of a new object so as to maintain the cycle of recyclable materials.
Another of the project’s essential aspects is its social element, as the bags are made in social and labour inclusion workshops. Currently, they are mainly working with Estel Tapia, which works with people with mental disabilities, and Ared, which works with people at risk of social exclusion, mainly women coming from prison facilities and social-service centres.
In addition, through a Cáritas project called “Feina amb Cor”, a programme of labour insertion for the long-term unemployed, they recruited Hanane, a girl who sews some of the products and helps them sort materials and cut patterns to send to the workshops.
But the project doesn’t end there. Montse and Núria are already working to become more and more eco-friendly and social, making the most of more material, reducing the use of metal and bringing more value to society. Research and continuous development form a part of the soul of the project, and of course of its founders too.