Montreal-based fashion brand jeane & jax, by entrepreneur Silvia Gallo, has launched a new luxury outerwear jacket made entirely from repurposed materials, using excess car interior textiles donated by Ultrafabrics.
The zero-waste initiative is focused on luxury fashion and environmental sustainability, showcasing how fashion and a respect for the planet can produce high-quality, high-end items.
The Zero-Waste Initiative Focuses on Luxury Fashion & Environmental Sustainability
The company, which was founded in 2014, is dedicated to sustainable style and fashion. It designs luxury vegan handbags, footwear, and has now expanded its collection to outerwear with a limited edition moto jacket.
Prior to starting the retailer, Gallo worked in the fashion industry for many years.
“My background role was brand management. So I was always managing, selling, promoting, marketing other brands and everyone else’s product and vision,” she said. “I really wanted to push my message and push my products and vision. So I decided to start a company where I also want to do something where I could make kind of an impact.
“At that time, there wasn’t very many options for vegan and ethical fashion. That’s why I decided to go into that.
“Basically we started with handbags. Everything is vegan and ethically sourced. We are now even pushing more so beyond the vegan products but on the sustainability side. So even if we are using non-animal leather materials we’re using more materials that have been recycled. The majority of my products are handbags and we launched footwear in spring and for this project we wanted to get together and collaborate with Ultrafabrics who are one of the biggest, if not the biggest, vegan automotive industry material provider. It’s not only automotive. They also do aeronautics. They have other divisions and they have beautiful fabrics. When they produce for companies, for these brands, a lot of times there’s extra yardage. They can’t resell it because it’s specifically made for that brand and because it’s not enough to yield any other purpose for that automotive industry. So obviously neither of us want this to end up in the landfill or to get thrown away.”
jeane & jax designs luxury vegan handbags and footwear crafted from the highest quality polyurethane or recycled materials — all ethically sourced, with low environmental impact, and free of hazardous chemicals.
The company’s products are sold in various fashion boutiques and stores across Canada and the U.S. as well as selling online throughout North America. There are more than 150 locations in Canada that carry jeane & jax’s products.
“Most entrepreneurial ventures don’t make it past the first year and we are still here and going steady despite taking a bit of a hit due to the economic impacts from the pandemic. This can be attributed to the brand’s loyal client base and solid relationships with our vendors,” said Gallo, who started working in the fashion industry as a brand manager for international brands such as Michael Kors and Puma.
“I started the company with the desire to make a positive impact and shift the future of fashion, redefining what luxury can be by designing something that was missing from the industry – high-end fashion pieces using sustainable materials that are meant for everyone.”
Gallo said it will continue to do some more outerwear pieces with Ultrafabrics.
“We’re working on some products for the future together,” she said.
“I think with the millennials and the next generation they don’t always buy a product for the product itself but for what the company stands for. They’re very much involved in the planet and carbon footprint. They’re more educated on that side in the sense that there’s also a lot more material out there that we can have as consumers where we can make an informed decision. It’s not only about the fashion side of it. It’s also about the carbon footprint on the planet.
“Also people are going vegan and vegetarian and they see also whether it’s the cattle industry, the dairy industry, the leather industry, how it impacts water usage and other things. . . It’s information that is more available to the consumer nowadays. It’s the newer generation that really wants to help the planet for future years because they’re the ones that are going to be here and further generations where we need to start thinking more sustainable. We need to start thinking more cleaner energy. What will help us save the planet if you will. With that extra information that’s available, I think consumers are making the shift towards more vegan products, sustainable products and the ethically-sourced side too.”
Jeane & Jax Focused on Ecommerce Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
When asked if Gallo envisions opening up her own retail store in the future, she replied that it’s hard to say right now because physical retail stores are challenged these days due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For sure online is becoming more and more of a focus for us as a retail point,” said Gallo. “We’re going to have a lot of our energy focusing on our own online retail. Perhaps in the near future not a physical retail store but maybe in the form of a pop up.
“I know that a lot of retail locations in Montreal we have major shopping streets that have empty locations. And with the cost of rents and how the economy’s been hit with COVID we see a lot of empty pockets and it would be really nice for the city to refresh those locations and actually have people and product there.”
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