Momad rethinks concept and amps up sustainability focus
Just "Momad": Dropping "Metropolis" and "Shoes" from its name, the Madrid trade fair celebrated its first unified edition and a revamped image on 8-10 February at Ifema. With a lineup of about 800 brands, the new format aims to offer a more attractive proposition, putting diversification, design and sustainability at the centre of the event.
“As we continue to work on the event, I would like to incorporate more sectors such as men’s fashion or swimwear, as well as more catwalk designers,” said Charo Izquierdo, who was appointed director of fashion fairs at Ifema in April last year, at a press conference.
Since taking up the new role, her main goal has been to unite manufacturing and design companies, creating partnerships with the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Madrid, of which she is also a director. As a result, this edition counted with the presence of Hannibal Laguna and Modesto Lomba, whose Devota & Lomba brand has recently announced its entry into ready-to-wear.
The launch of a new event dedicated to footwear, ShoesRoom by Momad, taking place on 1-3 March, didn’t seem to affect the number of visitors attending Momad throughout the weekend. With new brands accounting for 35% of the line-up, there was a positive atmosphere in Ifema’s halls, further boosted by the opening of Intergift and Bisutex, two events which take place in the same venue during the same weekend. And Momad hopes to surpass the number of visitors it reported in September, when 15,120 visitors attended the summer edition.
Meanwhile, Izquierdo is willing to continue reviewing the foundations of the event with the aim of generating more instances to interact with the end consumer. “We don’t know how, but we would like to reach both professionals and individuals to promote the brands,” she said.
SUSTAINABLE FASHION AS A BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY
“You would have to be blind to believe that we can continue like this for much longer. We see our work in sustainable fashion as an opportunity to differentiate ourselves. I refuse to think that because products are sustainable, they must be more expensive. Our products are in line with market prices,” said Guillermo Iñiguez, co-founder of One Oak, which sells watches and accessories made from wood.
Currently working on a reforestation project in the area of As Neves in Pontevedra, which was strongly affected by the fires of October 2017, the brand asks shoppers to plan a tree in their name after each purchase. The goal is to reach 10,000 trees. “We have managed to create a great connection between the brand, our projects and the customers,” the entrepreneur said proudly.
Marina López, president of the Sustainable Fashion Association of Spain, thinks it’s essential to improve a product’s environmental impact, from design to recycling. Paula Gorini, from the Association of Sustainable Fashion of Murcia, agrees: “Ecodesign is fundamental. It’s necessary to pay attention to materials and keep in mind the impact of garments from the first stage of creation,” she said.
Neither hesitates to name some of the industry’s culprits. “Large companies think that putting a clothing collection container in their stores constitutes embracing the circular economy. They have to change the model to go further,” Gorini says, while Lopez presents a white Pull & Bear t-shirt with a slogan that reads, "My generation will save the planet" as an example.
“It’s important that we don’t let ourselves be fooled by some companies which use messages as a way of greenwashing,” she warned.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
Two years ago, BBC footage revealed the shocking case of stray dogs in India that had turned blue after swimming in and drinking from a polluted river. A telling image, that prompted Paula Gorini to question the fashion system: “We are in a careless society that doesn't ask where things come from or where they go,” she said. “We must stop using and throwing things because we are reaching a point of no return.
“It is necessary to reduce consumption, buy with stores and brands that respect the environment, take care of our clothes, repair or trade them. We have to take responsibility for the fate of our clothes once we decide not to use them again,” she added on the role of the consumer.
But, what about the role of companies? “They should reduce their production levels, make less clothing and of higher quality; develop green designs and train their designers; avoid using chemicals and heavy metals in their dyeing and production processes; take charge of their waste management and do awareness campaigns… real campaigns,” Lopez said.
Optimistic, she pointed out that the European Union will make authorities collect textiles separately from other waste by 2025, while the Murcia representative promotes “the introduction of a pollution and waste standard, just as it applies to other industries.”
TECHNOLOGY: A POSSIBLE SOLUTION?
“We all have our share of responsibility," said Fernando Cardona, creative director of Valencian company Jeanologia. "Brands have to give more information; the consumer has to ask for it and request that rules which shape other sectors are applied here, and the industry must be able to offer sustainable products.”
Founded in 1994 and specialised in the development of sustainable technologies for the denim finishing industry, Jeanologia has invested significantly in this segment. “Like other industries, the textile sector needs to use innovation and research. Working with technology simplifies processes and their complexity, improves production capacity and scalability, increases speed and promotes sustainability,” Cardona continued.
The production of 3,000-5,000 million units of denim per year puts more than 2 million people in danger of exposure to harmful chemical hazards. Aiming to protect workers’ health and safety, Cardona said these circumstances could change with the help of technology, “working with design and engineering” to ensure a company faces the challenges of “eliminating harmful substances and the risk of damaging the health of workers”.
However, there is a fear that multiple jobs will be lost when new technology is embraced. “In my view, technology will eliminate dangerous jobs. Technology will create other opportunities, particularly in design and engineering. It is a reconversion,” he continued, highlighting the pioneering apprenticeship in laser design launched by Jeanologia in Valencia.
A further fear in the sector in related to the economics of a business, a topic Cardona is happy to address. “In this part of the industry, producing sustainably is cheaper, as it saves water and energy. It requires an investment in technology, but the return on investment is very fast: from six months to two years,” he said, adding that consumer measurement tools, such as the one developed by Jeanologia, EIM (Environmental Impact Measurement), helps companies assess their processes and identify elements to be improved.
Jeanologia currently operates in 50 countries, employs more than 200 people and, in 2017, generated 61 million euros in revenue. The maker of textile machinery, which aims to make 100 million euros in the 2018 financial year, has partnerships with Uniqlo, Gap and Tommy Hilfiger, among others. Theirs is a success story of a company Made in Spain, which demonstrates that sustainability can be possible as well as profitable.
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