There are no coincidences. At least that is what the theory of synchronicity claims. But of all the endless possibilities you say open up Maria Almazan It seems she picked the most successful until she became what she is today, a national benchmark for sustainable fashion and co-founder of her own brand: Broad .
His sentence is repeated at all presentations of new sustainable fashion brands: “China’s rivers are the same color as fashionable jeans”. She delivered it at a Green Peace event, but that wasn’t the trigger that prompted her to step down from a position of responsibility at the helm of a prestigious fashion group. “It was when I walked into a Chinese factory on a Saturday and saw them full of 16-year-olds sewing. Then I returned to Spain and it happened that at the weekend I went to a shopping center that was also full of 16-year-olds shopping. I felt sorry for both. But what do we do? I asked myself. And the next day I presented the resignation to the company.”
María Almazán was 26 years old at the time. She left behind a promising professional career and many friends who thought she was crazy. “It was a complex and painful decision, a leap into the void because I left without unemployment or anything like that,” he recalls. Not even his parents, ardent environmental activists, understood the leap at the time. “I thought maybe I need to be a baker,” but it wasn’t necessary.
Convinced that the fashion industry she’s so passionate about needed radical change for the benefit of its workers and the environment – it’s the second most polluting industry in the world – she looked to Spain for a benchmark that shared her vision. Not being able to find it, he decided to travel the world and investigate what was being done in other markets. She switched on the lightbulb at the tunnel exit Patagoniathe American brand for sustainable sportswear.
The first phase
On his return to Spain he joined the Sybilla Foundation, also a pioneer in these matters, and during the two years he stayed there Almazán outlined his plan of action. The goal was to fundamentally change the fashion industry in this order, starting with the workshops that embraced the environment and people as core principles. To facilitate the transformation, it has developed its own working methodology that affects the entire value chain. Back in 2013, María Almazán, along with 4 other partners, founded Latitude, sponsored by two venture capital funds from the Xunta de Galicia. “The truth is that initially we didn’t think about starting a business, it was the Xunta that called us.”
The mission was to transform textile mills by providing advice and helping brands implement sustainability lines. “We met with everyone,” he says. The other role was to act as suppliers of the required materials. In three years they managed to create a network of 6 sustainable fashion factories in Spain and have more than 700 material references in their catalogue.
And they were in them when María received an invitation from the journalist Jordy Evole on a report on the ‘fashion victim‘ (victims of fashion) in her Salvados program. The media echo was enormous, albeit somewhat erroneously. Many understood that it was Amancio Ortega (she had never met him) left standing by this Galician (she is from Madrid and her family is from Soria) who had created a sustainable fashion brand (she was a supplier).
When the supplier becomes a brand
In any case, the confusion of the audience is welcome, because what takes several years costs María Almazán some nerves in front of the cameras. He left the shoot with the mark. “A supplier, no matter how innovative his model is, never comes to light. It’s the brand that’s gaining prestige, but the opposite happened to us.” Then, in 2016, the second phase begins, which Latitude is now in.
To start the famous sustainable fashion brand that didn’t exist yet, they had to raise more money. It took them nearly a year to find a US fund that would back the project and allow the Xunta to capitalize on the initial investment. What María Almazán doesn’t count is the money invested so far, under the guise of a confidentiality agreement between the partners and the investors.
This is Latitude’s fourth year and it’s already fair to say that it’s a sustainable fashion brand that designs, manufactures and distributes in-house. They work in Galicia, although the desire is “to do 80% Galicia and 20% in projects that are added to this other way of making fashion and that have increasing volumes to help all the workshops that dare to chip switch”.
As a brand they have just launched their first collection with a very specific and quite top niche. “We decided not to make clothes that were already on the market because they were more affordable, so we went to a look totally for people who demand sustainable fashion but sometimes find themselves in situations where they need to be well dressed, people who want to change the world and do impactful things without having to dress in ethnic clothing.” The collection is small, for both genders, with minimalist garments and many of them timeless, to avoid buying and throwing away. “What we’re going to do is a system to complement the wardrobe without playing with the seasons.”
In terms of distribution, they have great faith in the Internet, not only to define the profiles of their clientele, but also because they know that many of them will be resident outside of Spain. However, María does not want to give up the dream of one day opening her own shop. It is more cautious in the billing forecasts, which it estimates at around 1.5 million euros by the end of this year. Not bad for a new project that “started modestly and quietly”.
“I would be happy if the next investor were someone from the textile industry”
But what would happen if demand skyrocketed? “Well, we’re excited, although we’d have to look for more funding. I’d love for someone from the textile industry to come on board,” he says, and while he doesn’t name names now either, he always seems to jump to the top. If he is successful, his win would mean shifting to a new paradigm in which María Almazán has become the main prescriber. “You have no idea how many emails I receive every day asking for help.”
And if you consider that all this started because María Almazán wanted to work in cinema. says already Jesus Heron in one of his posts In good company that “opportunities are neither created nor destroyed, only transformed”.
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