Last week I paid a visit to the Venture Café in Rotterdam where every Thursday a gathering is held filled with interesting programs for innovators, entrepreneurs, students and other interested peeps. Two weeks ago the program was about focus in data science and last week all about sustainability in fashion! Claudia from Qure Clothing, with whom I had a fun meeting before the event, notified me about these events and showed me around at the Café. Thanks Claudia! At the event we listened to several discussion, met interesting people and got to know innovating start-ups. Here are some of the inspiring businesses and people I met.
After getting some lemonade from the bar, we went to pay a visit to start-up ELM. ELM is short for Eco Leather Movement and is founded by Kaarmuhilan Kalaiyarasan, ex-student at the TU Delft and originally from India. After his Mechanical Engineering studies Kaarmuhilan went back to India work in the leather tanning industry. There he found out that the production process of tanning the leather was awfully unsustainable. Every day more than 50 million litres of wasteful water pour out of local tanneries. Chromium, a chemical used for the treatment, flows into public waters and the soil. As a result of this, the local agriculture industry is struggling because the soil can’t be used and locals have serious health issues because (drinking) water is contaminated. Kaarmuhilan wanted to change this by making a deal with some of the local tanneries where he offered them businesses if they would ensure him to produce sustainable. Two local tanneries agreed with this deal and back in the Netherlands Kaarmuhilan founded designer platform ELM where the designers of his products receive 10 percent of the selling price. At the moment ELM offers minimalistic key chains which can also be used as a phone holder and thin cardholders. The inside of the key chains and cardholders are made from recycled leather. Great right?
You probably know about stain and odour repellent sportswear, but do you also know that this exists for men shirts? LABFRESH has accomplished this and offers antibacterial, stain and odour repellent button-downs. Because the cotton fibres of the shirt block out fluids and bacteria while still retaining a natural feeling and breathability, LABFRESH’s shirts have to be washed 3 to 4 times less than a normal shirt. The shirts are available in white and blue and are €109,95 per shirt. Sounds expensive compared to a normal shirt right? Not if you think about how much more years you can keep their shirts compared to normal shirts and the comfort and simplicity it will bring to your life. You don’t have to wash as much, you can wear the shirt for a whole week and nobody will see sweat stains after cycling to work. Awesome!
Designer Pauline van Dongen’s newest project ISSHO aims to encourage the customers to be in the present moment. She has done this by designing an intelligent denim jacket that tracks the wearers online social interaction. The jacket encourages the wearer to be more in the present moment by giving them a hint in the form of a gentle stroke on the upper back. Last year Pauline together with the Wadden Sea Society and Blue LOOP Originals has designed a solar-powered jacket which can provide the tour guides of the Wadden Sea Sociaty both comfort and functionality. The coloured fabric of the jackets are made from up-cycled denim yarns with a recycled polysester and a waterproof finish. Talking about innovation!
About 70% of the conscious collection of Monique Collignon is made by producer Vision Textiles. This is a sustainable and social responsible company with ‘green’ solutions for the textile industry. They do this by recycling plastic bottles under the brand Waste2Wear and producing high quality fabrics. One piece of clothing is made of an average of fifteen bottles. In every clothing item, it can be found how many plastic bottles have been used. At the end of the event, a lottery was held for where I have won something for the first time in my life! A lovely scarf from the Monique Collignon’s collection that feels like silk but has been made from 2 plastic bottles. High quality, fine designs and sustainability; what could a woman want more?
I had a lovely time at the event and have been truly inspired by all the innovators and action takers being present. If you feel uninspired and want to meet interesting people, I truly recommend you to visit the Venture café Rotterdam every Thursday night!