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Zero waste for the planet

We learn that 2020 will have been the hottest year in ages.

In my “branch”, the textile industry, the observation no longer leaves any room for doubt. This activity ranks among the top polluters. Each stage of a garment's life cycle contributes to our environment. Extraction of raw materials, cultivation of natural fibers, harvesting, packaging and shipping... especially if the raw materials are synthetic, which means extraction of hydrocarbons and chemical transformations to create a yarn. The making of fabric is massively mechanized, leading to transport and waste. Distribution generates packaging (even less virtuous, if it is plastic and disposable), transport that consumes a lot of hydrocarbons (planes, boats, trucks). The use of the garment once purchased, washing cycles, incineration, etc. complete the energy-consuming sequence.


What to do and how to do it?

More than ever, our companies must resonate with the aspirations of customers who have become citizens, users and actors in the formidable play that is being played out. We can, collectively, bend the curve of global warming by each taking, day after day, an action, even tiny, which breaks with our stratified routines of compulsive purchasing of disposable products.

Mister K aims to apply this equation, based on the quest for meaning and commitment, without compromising with the aspiration of women to assume elegance and singularity. Isn't self-esteem the best ally to break through the glass ceiling? but that is another debate, let's get back to our topic: what is my Brand doing, concretely, to reverse the curve of all polluting actions in the textile sector? Here is a non-exhaustive list of the areas that underlie our action.

“Zero stock, zero waste” is much more than a slogan, but a deep conviction

This conviction appeals to the fundamental notions of the circular economy, which advocates the recycling of waste, their transformation into energy or the judicious use of just what is necessary for production. The time has come to realize that our earth and its oceans are suffocating under the mass of emissions and waste that billions of humans abandon.

Those whose only objective is to feed themselves and survive at the end of the day – the 3 billion or so who only have $2 per day in their pocket to live on [source: ADT Fourth World], these have some excuses of not having an acute and priority awareness of the environmental issues and the risks of which they are the first unarmed victims... but the others, we, who have the luxury of reasoning with knowledge of the facts, we have the moral imperative to reverse the course of this shift for which the next generation will ask us to account without mercy.

In all modesty, it is this ethic of action that guides me. Before designing and launching a collection. I am not throwing myself capriciously onto the drawing board by speculating that the stewardship will necessarily have to follow: supplies, "pifometric" measurements of fabrics, estimated production volumes, manufacturing at the ends of the world, return by cargo plane, merchandising at little luck, aggressive advertising... and then if the collection doesn't work, we stock up while waiting for a second round of sales or Black Friday... No! We proceed in a different way, breaking with such practices.

The collections are developed in an almost interactive manner by listening to the aspirations of the customer community.

From this moment on, a dedicated network of partner informants reports all dormant stocks of footage and materials always coming from major luxury brands. Upcycling, that is to say, literally, overcycling, is an underlying trend born from the awareness that luxury that has become affordable has all the virtues. The “snobbery” effect is an economic law now undermined by upcycling. Many still consider that buying an exceptional product from a luxury brand at a high price is a way of accessing a sort of privileged and rewarding social status. The desire for recognition is human. And then these major brands constitute an ecosystem which supports an entire network of talents, creators, artisans, shadow workers... this is no small thing, luxury brands even constituting the flagship of the country's reputation.

These large groups are obviously aware of the deep trends in society and climate issues; they will necessarily adapt.

On the occasion of the G.7 in Biarritz in 2019, François-Henri Pinault, CEO of Kering (ie: Gucci, Saint-Laurent, Balenciaga, Boucheron… no less!) took the initiative to launch the “Pact of la Mode” which aims in particular to switch to 100% renewable energies across the entire supply chain by 2030, that is to say tomorrow! While waiting for these heavy vessels to successfully complete the ambitious maneuver, the small motorboats of our young brands are much more agile in changing course.

I do not feel any inferiority complex or parasitism in recycling and exploiting the dormant stock, doomed to probable destruction, of a luxury brand. On the contrary, I see it as a manifesto and the sharing of convictions with a community of clients in search of meaning. It would be inconsistent to think that beauty is necessarily expensive! Transparency and sincerity must be at the heart of the composition of the price. The act of purchasing itself becomes a civic commitment, as soon as we adhere to the calculation of prices and margins. In this vein, we refrain from artificially inflating prices to reduce them on sales day or Black Friday. We do not participate in these events, as a matter of principle. On the other hand, we sell our collections through a pre-order system. In other words, our customers are invited and interested in following the development of their clothes on our site, in real time. Fair prices, affordable luxury, patience, savoring the moment that comes... it's good to wander off the beaten track of consumerist neurosis.

Precisely, the other axis of my brand boils down to “Make beautiful, Do good, Do it well”. It is a whole. No clever marketing strategy is hidden behind this formula, which is not one.

No guru made a shimmering and conceptual Power Point presentation in front of available brains, before I started. No ! I instinctively and through the force of circumstances discovered and experienced all the underground force of serendipity. This term, full of mystery and magic, designates the process which transforms an accident into fortuitous innovation. The Tatin tart, initially a culinary failure, was quickly transformed into a delicious dessert. I often remind myself that it symbolizes a bit of my personal journey as an entrepreneur. My life accident, illness, allowed me to metabolize in me the ardent desire to “do something beautiful, do good, do it well”, as revenge on bad luck. I am convinced that the environmental threat, like the villain virus, has triggered a phenomenon of serendipity which will, slowly but surely, open up new horizons.

Everything is not going to go like a dream, we will have to push the walls! But always in consensus and the stubborn search for the useful effect of each little bit of actions and small gestures which will create momentum, like a groundswell.

To illustrate this, we are campaigning to only use alternatives to the ultra-polluting dyes in our jeans. We prohibit the use of metal rivets on these jeans or any clothing, so as not to hinder their recycling. The tanning of our leathers is exclusively vegetable. Obviously these leathers come from already dead animals, intended for food. Faux vegetable leather carries an ideal that I respect, but its transformation process requires a lot of operations which do not have all the ecological virtues... between two evils, choose the lesser. We are campaigning for the use of recyclable hangers to replace the plastic hangers from our suppliers that are thrown away by the tons in the trash. The same goes for packaging, which must ban plastic film in favor of recyclable packaging. All these common sense micro actions are part of a global and unifying approach. We have good hope of making our suppliers and factories adhere to an ethical charter by which we will all agree to collaborate only on the condition that human, social and environmental rights are respected at each sequence of the process that goes from the board drawing until the product is put on sale.

In this respect, manufacturing in France, or at least within the European Union, no further, is preferred.

There is no nationalist or chauvinistic impulse behind this petition. There is application of a reality principle. The shortest circuits limit frictional costs and our country has capitalized on exceptional artisanal know-how which dates back to Louis transmission, in the etymological sense, instead of seeing it as cowardly folklore. When I visit our partner workshops, who know how to bring our silk fabrics back to life to make beautiful blouses, or who have the talent to awaken the dormant leathers of great Maisons to make our exceptional jackets and bags, I feel , physically, all the vibrations of companionship and the pride of a job well done. It's so much more endearing and durable than a nylon elastane poplin blouse or a soulless, disposable leatherette accessory.

However, the fate of the workers, or worse, the children, who are practically chained to mass produce these low-cost items, obsesses me. They are entitled to so much more dignity and comfort. It is by resolutely applying the Fashion Pact and breaking the string of cynical intermediaries perpetuating this system of exploitation of poverty that their fate will change. Terribly contradictory logic: on the one hand we need to relocate our production for many virtuous reasons, including the fight against global warming, on the other, by the same token, we are stopping the low-cost productivist system which nourishes, sparingly, but which feeds entire families of poor people. I reason by saying that reversing the disastrous warming curve will make it possible to avoid the total submergence of the banks of the Ganges delta, whose seasonal floods already take far too many lives.

I refuse to believe that it would already be too late to change the course of history. The friend Albert Einstein, who knew about relativity and the dilation of time, had this insight: The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.

CH