Sustainability in the fashion industry is a hot topic these days, but in 2015, it was not so front of mind, especially in China. Fueled by a passion to make a positive impact in the wasteful fashion industry, Spanish entrepreneur, Monica Muriel, based in Shanghai, took the plunge and set up her own business, ZURITA. Her unique business model builds a new paradigm for the fashion industry breaking the wheel of commoditization to make better business through efficiency and sustainability.
ZURITA encourages smart sustainable consumption where high quality and versatile clothing leads to enduring wardrobe choices. They have recently collaborated with Waste2Wear as both companies have similar ideals about being a force for good in the fashion industry. The quality fibers created by Waste2Wear result in fabrics that have a soft hand feel and are comfortable to wear.
They do not compromise the health of the ecosystem and society at large, concentrating instead on fostering supply chain integrity to reduce harmful, unnecessary and abusive methods of production. The transparency of the Waste2Wear blockchain technology is of particular interest to Monica and her team at ZURITA. The traceability element provides confidence in every aspect of production from bottle collection to finished garment. The ZURITA concisely crafted collection is proudly part of the slow fashion movement and is a lifestyle decision for their conscious consumers. There has been an awakening in consumer demand for sustainable fashion in response to Covid-19 and Monica sees this as a fresh opportunity to impact and educate an even wider audience.
Waste2Wear has been producing fabric, garments, bags and other products from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles (RPET) since 2007. Working with local and global brands, their years of experience and expertise means they are unparalleled in the sustainable fashion industry. The basic raw materials for all production is post-consumer plastic bottles and the process strictly follows on-demand production based on a big data model to ensure the minimum inventory that strives for zero waste in production.
Waste2Wear creates RPET fabrics that consume 86% less water, 75% less CO2 and 70% less energy than non-recycled fabrics. Every quarter ZURITA creates a sustainable development report, with the accurate measurement of carbon footprint, water usage and compensations through tree planting projects to offset emissions. Monica supports grants to assist environmentalists who collect the sea waste in China, and she also works to make this waste into environmentally friendly materials in an effort to close the circular sustainable loop.
When ZURITA started in 2015, the concept of sustainability was new in China and hardly talked about. It was a brave decision to enter this space in the fashion world. Monica was determined to make her dream of sustainable fashion in China a reality. At the time, Chinese people did not understand or were not interested in making the effort to live more sustainably. Now, everything is different and Chinese consumers are following the positive global trend.
Waste2Wear shares blockchain information with end users through QR codes on the product labels. These QR codes provide the customer with valuable environmental savings information.
This technology is relatively new outside of China but has been common there for years. This provides ZURITA with an adapted audience who understood the technology but were slower to accept the concept of sustainability. Once consumers learn that there is no quality difference between virgin polyester and RPET it gives them the confidence to choose the sustainable option.
During the worst period of the pandemic, ZURITA was severely impacted. This did not stop Monica from sticking with her principles and embracing the Chinese people. She led her team to design a ‘refueled’ hoodie that they sold in store. All profits from the sales went directly to Wuhan to buy local medical supplies. This initiative not only helped those in need, it also consolidated her team by working towards a valuable goal under difficult circumstances.
As a Spanish woman working and living in Shanghai, Monica embraces the culture and the traditional belief that success never comes through a single step alone, you have to continue to improve, continue to evolve, to become more and more beautiful. ZURITA strives to live up to that belief.
Photos by 瑞丽伊人风尚