In recent years, a real need has arisen among consumers to respect the environment in almost every sphere of daily life. Eco-sustainable fashion is rapidly growing and the era of disposable collections are gone. The future of fashion is sustainable fashion.
During their last year of the ESCP Bachelor in Management, that brought them to study in London, Turin, and Berlin, four young Italian entrepreneurs rode this trend by founding the first sustainable fashion marketplace that merges aesthetics, sustainability, and AI-technology: Staiy.
The startup was born in 2019 in Berlin from an idea that came to Ludovico Durante, Chiara Latini, Adrian Leue and Alessandro Nora, who wanted to create something tangible regarding responsibility in the fashion system, in terms of ethics and innovation.
We had a chat with the young founders of the fast-growing and innovative start-up dedicated to eco-friendly brands and designers, among the Top 10 FashionTech worldwide by StartupBootcamp and finalist at the Vogue YOOX Challenge.
What is Staiy and what is its vision?
Staiy is the online destination for a sustainable lifestyle and culture. Our vision is to make sustainability a norm through a progressive and editorial-driven retail concept rooted in refined aesthetics, ethics and innovation with the purpose of giving a new face to sustainability. By presenting a platform where the modern consumer meets over 160 international brands and designers shaping a better tomorrow, Staiy displays its own, most authentic interpretation of sustainability to change the culture of consumption.
How did the idea to found a sustainable fashion start-up come up?
It all started when we moved to Berlin 2 years ago. Berlin is the epitome of trendy so we were exposed to many innovative solutions and a great consciousness of environmental and social issues. We were inspired by the culture and we wanted to have a positive impact at all costs. We were particularly interested in the fashion industry, and we discovered many up-and-coming brands and designers motivated to shape the second largest polluting industry in the world and we took it to heart, so we created an online destination to promote the efforts of these smaller brands, by telling their stories and let people like us get to know them.
How did what you learned at ESCP help you achieve your goals?
It has been a rollercoaster, so far. The startup environment has a very steep learning curve because you find yourself in the position to create from 0 without supervision from anybody else. ESCP really helped us get this far, and besides the knowledge acquired which was applicable to our reality, what really helped us was the mindset and soft-skills developed throughout the programme. Problem-solving, communication, presentation and management skills made a difference and were key to our success. Many universities focus on hard skills and theoretical knowledge whereas ESCP taught us how to approach problems and find solutions in a practical way.
How do you choose the brands you work with?
Staiy has a very rigorous methodology to decide which brands to work with. Besides the branding and styling which is an essential part of creating a coherent online platform, it takes extreme care in evaluating the practices of the brands. We have developed our own sustainability assessment to grade each brand joining our marketplace. By analyzing the whole value chain of fashion and cosmetics, we determined the 5 pillars which resemble the drivers of production: water, air, materials, working conditions and supply chain. Across these 5 pillars, we created a survey with 124 questions each linked to the SDGs. Moreover, we complete the assessment by relying on international certifications for workers’ conditions, materials and the processes of production such as GOTS, FWF, ISO standards as well as well-known indexes like Higg’s. The result is a quantitative score for each brand and we have a pre-defined threshold to determine whether a brand is sustainable enough to join Staiy.
What is your view on the future of fashion and e-commerce?
E-commerce and sustainability are the two main trends in fashion. Covid has taken a toll on the overall fashion market size, but it has boosted e-commerce immensely. Moreover, we have seen a rise in fashion-tech related startups, and we see a lot of potential. We believe the industry is set for disruption as it’s moving toward transparency and sustainability. We would keep a close eye on closing the loop through recycling and second-hand, new sustainable materials, and manufacturing technologies. It’s going to be interesting!
What's next for Staiy?
Being an early stage startup, we look forward to expanding our community in Germany and across Europe while raising awareness in the industry through education. We recently launched our cosmetics section and a progressive retail concept store in Berlin. Hopefully, we will expand it after Covid. Moreover, because we are aiming to be one of the most sustainable companies in Europe, we are actively putting together a community of like-minded people who pursue a sustainable lifestyle among artists, influencers, and other businesses who innovate, advocate for the shared core values of Staiy and help us shape the lifestyle industry.
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