08 Sep 2020
Madrid, Spain
Sustainable Textiles and Clothing

Sharing clothes can bring people together. We learned this much from the beloved novel “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” in which four friends overcome being separated over summer by sharing a magical pair of jeans. Mercedes Garcia has brought this communal streak to Spain’s fashion scene with Ecodicta, a subscription-based online service for clothes sharing.

Ecodicta’s model is beautiful in its simplicity. Users select their favourite items from Ecodicta’s “secret shared closet” and then receive those clothes via home delivery. After 30 days, Ecodicta takes the clothes back, washes and disinfects them, and sends them out to another customer.  “This system helps users refresh their closet at a cheaper cost, while also extending the life of existing textiles,” said Garcia, Ecodicta’s chief marketing officer.

Through Ecodicta, Garcia has entered a fascinating contest for customers against some of the world’s largest fashion labels. Yet her idea had more humble origins. “When I moved to Spain, I missed the clothing swap parties I used to organise with friends,” she explained. 

Garcia did not know anybody in Spain, and there were no existing services or mobile apps for fashion sharing. Garcia — along with a team experienced in IT, marketing, and (of course) fashion — established Ecodicta to fill this gap.

“We decided to do it ourselves and create an online service for people who enjoy swapping and trying new brands,” recalled Garcia.

Of course, Ecodicta stands for important environmental goals too. Around the world, many consumers follow “fast fashion” trends, which encourage consumers to constantly refresh their wardrobes by purchasing new clothes.

Garcia reports that this unsustainable phenomenon is a formidable obstacle in Spain, the home of global fast fashion house Zara. “Our main challenge is introducing a new concept, based on sharing and reusing, while big fashion industry players are constantly calling on consumerism.”

However, the tide may be turning. Little by little, Ecodicta is reaching more customers who identify with the company’s sustainable values. “At first, some customers find it weird, as it is not very common to share fashion items in Spain,” Garcia said. “But they have started to love it.”

These shifting mindsets in Spain reflect promising indications worldwide, which suggest that consumers may finally be considering the environmental impact of their shopping habits

It does not hurt Ecodicta’s appeal that the company builds sustainable consumption into a fun, cool product. Customers, who tend to be women between 25 and 50 years old, can receive advice on “total looks” from Ecodicta’s in-house stylists. The clothes themselves often come from up-and-coming local designers, who enjoy brand exposure through Ecodicta.

Ecodicta’s marriage of style and sustainability is gaining market traction. In its first year, the company has attracted over 400 regular subscribers and distributed around 1,000 fashion sharing boxes.

According to Garcia, customer feedback also shows that Ecodicta is heading in the right direction: “Sometimes we receive thank you notes from our users, saying that we offer a solution that helps them enjoy fashion while upholding their environmental values.”

Ecodicta has made this much progress in its first few months. At this rate, one can hardly imagine how many more Spaniards will be happily — and sustainably — swapping clothes in the years to come.

 

Learn more about Ecodicta through the website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Photos courtesy of Ecodicta

David Wood is a freelance writer and researcher based in Beirut. He previously worked in Cairo.David Wood
Sharing is caring — Spanish fashion company refreshes closets and reduces environmental harm | The Switchers
Ecodicta Sustainable Textiles and Clothing
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