Our better brand for this week, is a little different from the usual apparel brand, so please bear with us. It’s a really interesting concept.
Wear-Abouts is a new and innovative children’s brand supported by the Worth Project and the EU Cosme program, and is the brainchild of Laetitia Barbu and Ruxandra Lupu.They are based in Paris, but their team includes members from other European countries, including Italy and Finland.
They are creating apparel and accessories that have an educational, augmented reality feature, which can be read through a dedicated smartphone app.
The app reads the interactive content embedded in the apparel’s patterns.
This is pretty cool, as it results in a mix of education, sustainability, and technology.
For example, their first collection, Wear-Abouts x Baltic Sea, teaches kids and adults about “wild” foods, inspired by the Nordic diet, and the widely spread culture of picking wild foods in the Nordic and Baltic countries.
This theme has been chosen in order to help children and the adults around them, reconsider the contents of their plates, the origin of the products consumed, the manufacturing and distribution chains, and the link between the consumer and the source of the products. For example, picking yourself, cultivation, and local supply.
From a sustainability perspective, this is important, as we know, that supporting local suppliers and manufacturers, is generally more sustainable, than long multinational supply chains.
The augmented reality helps to educate children and adults in a fun way, and gives them tips and information about other places in the countries around the Baltic Sea where they can find local product, wild food picking activities, alternative restaurants and even more.
So, another important aspect of Wear-Abouts, is to use technology to get kids away from their “screens” by suggesting alternative and educational fun experiences.
It may sound a bit ironic to use laptops, tablets, and smartphones to get kids away from laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
However, it is a unique approach, especially as it combines educational and fun activities with more sustainable apparel.
This is important, as too many kids spend their days stuck to a screen, instead of benefiting from actual physical experiences.
Wear-Abouts is using the screen as a way to encourage kids to get out there and do meaningful things.
“Our vision of sustainability is a holistic one. This means that while it touches upon materials and processes, it tries to go further and think about social and ethical implications of our designs.
In this respect, we aim to develop solutions that make children an important part of the design process, by taking into account ‘their voices’ and how their own interests and aspirations are reflected in our products.
Moreover, our solutions aim to foster mental and physical wellbeing through the use of alternative education principles. By educating in a playful way, our collections encourage children to spend more time outdoors and stay active while discovering their natural surroundings.”
When we talk about sustainability, our views are often narrowed due to what we are subjected to by the media, including social and professional.
Even those with a broader view of apparel sustainability, often look at three specific criteria,
At Sourcing Playground, we have always maintained education of consumers, or in this case future consumers, is an aspect of sustainability often missed by more mainstream brands. So, we really like this mission statement.
On top of the educational element, we are really happy to see it is designed to be fun for kids and adults alike, and encourages actual physical and mental interaction between children and their parents.
We feel too many kids today, simply disconnect with others, or are encouraged to disconnect. Need to keep your kid occupied? Give them a smartphone to play a game on.
So, two thumbs up to Wear-Abouts for breaking this habit.
Wear-Abouts is still in prototyping phase, although their first beta collection has already been manufactured and available for purchase.
Currently Wear-Abouts is producing in small quantities, and uses GOTS organic gauze for scarves and GOTS organic cotton for tote bags.
They also use a cotton spandex fabric for some of their apparel, but their goal is to ditch the spandex, and use only organic fabric in 2020.
Wear-Abouts wants to ensure all their production is done by manufacturers located in the region of the project (the countries around the Baltic Sea), like Poland and the Baltic countries.
As mentioned before, keeping your manufacturing and supply chain local, is a more sustainable outcome, that benefits local communities.
We are coming across this localization more and more, with our “Better Br and” initiative, and we really like it!
Wear-Abouts is also considering the use of recycled fabric in future projects, as well as more innovative fabrics and materials, such as fabric made from paper.
Through their app, Wear-Abouts provide their customers with information on how to recycle their products, extend the life cycle of their products, the ability to get products repaired, and links to online or physical marketplaces where they can sell their products as second hand, as well as the addresses of places where their products can eventually be recycled.
Wear-Abouts also has some really interesting upcoming projects in their line-up, such as garments designed in a way that they grow with children.
Additionally, the app contents will be regularly updated, to ensure the kids that wear their apparel do not lose interest in the garment, thereby extending its life cycle.
We are really excited about this brand, as the educational element is not static, like with so many other brands (think of the common bland sustainability message you often see on a hangtag, or in the media), but constantly evolving and updating.
Keep an eye out for Wear-Abouts. They are really going to be disruptive!
For more click here.