From an idea to a way of life

Javier Goyeneche, Founder and President of the sustainable lifestyle brand Ecoalf had been working in the fashion industry when, with the birth of his two sons, Alfredo and Alvaro, he thought about the planet he would leave them. It was there that he began her journey to create a truly sustainable fashion brand, Ecoalf, with “Eco” coming from “ecological” and “Alf” from the names of his sons Alvaro and Alfredo.

His vision was to stop indiscriminately using the planet’s natural resources to guarantee those of future generations. He thought recycling could be a solution, but only if he could create a new generation of recycled products with the same quality and design as the best non-recycled products. And although sustainability is now a concept assimilated by everyone 15 years ago, this was not the case.

In 2009, it was very different; people needed to understand what it meant to wear clothes made from recycled materials. Sustainability was not associated with design, and recycling had a negative connotation. People associated something that was recycled with poor quality. The big challenge then was to change that perception through innovative products with the same or even better design and quality than conventional ones.

Unfortunately, there were no attractive recycled materials then, and very little was available, so the quality could have been better. Javier began to travel the world searching for materials that met the standards he had set for the brand when he met a woman in Taipei who recycled plastic bottles into backpacks. Together, they developed the first three recycled fabrics to become Ecoalf’s first collection of four jackets and two backpacks.

Now, Ecoalf has developed more than 623 innovative fabrics, recycling more than 300 million plastic bottles, discarded fishing nets, used tyres, and cotton, one of the most water-intensive materials in the industry. Their Spring-Summer 2024 collection has saved more than 250 million litres of water.

As news spread that Ecoalf was recycling plastic bottles and fishing nets into clothing, the Spanish government contacted Javier to start a project to recycle the ocean waste that Spanish fishermen encountered daily.

He went fishing for 12 hours with one of the fishermen and found himself surprised by the amount of waste that the nets trapped every time they pulled them out. After the day’s fishing, he convinced three fishermen in the southern port of Villajoyosa (Alicante) to deposit the waste they pulled up from the bottom of the sea in containers in the port instead of returning it to the sea. That is where the Upcycling the Oceans project was born through the Ecoalf Foundation in 2015.

What started with 3 anglers has expanded to Spain, France, Greece, Italy and even Thailand, collaborating with 4,000 fishermen. In total, the project has collected more than 1,700 tonnes of waste. It aims to expand into the Mediterranean Sea with ports in Egypt.

For the past 15 years, Ecoalf has been a true pioneer sustainably under its slogan Because There Is No Planet B®, which has united more than a million people. And for every garment that carries this message, Ecoalf donates 10% to the Ecoalf Foundation to further support the expansion of the Upcycling the Oceans project.

As Ecoalf continues to expand its reach and impact into new lines such as a new generation of sustainable sportswear, Ecoalf Sports, and a new line of wellness products (waterless, plastic-free and circular) Ecoalf Wellness, the brand is sending a message of hope that it is possible to do things sustainably and be profitable at the same time. They do not claim to be the biggest, but the best for the planet.

With every recycled bottle or fishing net, Ecoalf is rewriting the narrative that acting, however complicated it may be, is possible and starts with a single idea, or perhaps, in this case, a single recycled material.

Javier Goyeneche, founder and CEO of EcoAlf
Javier Goyeneche, founder and CEO of EcoAlf
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