Ethical laborMade in Europe
Decoding the Made in Europe label with Matteo Ward
We had the opportunity to talk with Matteo Ward, founder of WRÅD – a Made in Europe brand – on the deeper meaning of local production and its relationship with sustainability. More on the brand’s values and opinions on production and ethical labour as well as some basics on the creation process of a sustainable product.
What is the meaning behind the label Made in Europe? On our IG we discussed it with Matteo, founder of the Italian activist brand WRÅD, to learn more about his perception and what “Made in Europe” means to him and his label.
Born in Italy: the origins
For Matteo, WRÅD is not just a brand, it is way more than that!
Three impact areas: Education, Innovation, Design
One promise: challenging the status quo of fashion industry.
Matteo and team are based in Vicenza, Italy, a top location to kick off a textile start-up as it is a fashion hub.
In a recent interview, Matteo explains why he founded the brand: “I began my career in the world of retail and clothing, I was part of the problem without realizing it. In fact, before starting WRÅD, I worked for 6 years as Sr. Manager and Co-Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Council for Abercrombie and Fitch. In 2012-2013, I began to metabolize for the first time what the real social and environmental cost of our sector was – a truth that scared me and became increasingly difficult for me to ignore.”
Together with other two founders, WRÅD first began in 2015 as an educational platform starting a program to raise awareness about the true cost of fashion. Then, in 2016, they became a startup and one of the first to use a new mineral dying technology to dye textiles with recycled graphite: The G_PWDR technology.
Finally, in 2017 WRÅD launched its brand as an experimental canvas to test the new technology and educational tools.
Is Made in Europe a synonym of sustainability?
WRÅD is 100% Made in Europe but in reality the label is only used because it sounds like a proof of guarantee about a healthy and ethical supply chain. Actually, to the brand it is not enough to prove ethical work and resources as this issue doesn’t depend on the country but on the production.
“To really know if a brand like WRÅD has ethical production, transparency is key! Telling us how the supply chain of the brand works and why: that is what we strive to do!” says Matteo. Their Made in Europe came as a result of a philosophy of product making that started with a 100% made in Italy and naturally evolved into Made in Europe through partners.
“Ethical labor, production, packaging, transport, life cycle of the product, what happens to the product after it is used and most importantly if the product is worth making: that is the real meaning of sustainability to us.”
When is a product worth making, then?
For WRÅD, making a new product is worth it if we create more value by creating the product than we take from the ecosystem during production. WRÅD searches and wants only certified supply chain in every single step and cares about avoiding chemicals as well as natural and human resource abuse.
The chain of value
Supply chain is the chain of value that processes natural resources into a product with the help of human touch. The fashion industry takes natural resources from the environment and then through work transforms it into something else.
There are a lot of steps in a supply chain, but it always ends with us and how we use the item.
“To me and us as a brand, the sustainability of a product is the combination of all steps and can’t be brought down to only one. That’s what eco-friendly fashion is all about, being ethical from making to buying while being honest with you.” – ends Matteo.
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