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Natural and recycled components from Brazilian Ecofashion Project
ImageEcofashion Project was created at the end of 2007 with the mission to promote and commercialize Brazilian components of natural and recycled origin for shoes, accessories and apparels in the international market. Supported by Apex (Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency) and Assintecal (Brazilian...

...Association of Manufacturers of Components for Leather, Footwear and Related Goods), Ecofashion involves nine different companies from the south and southeastern regions of Brazil. The first step in the international market was taken in Europe, during the spring/summer edition of Le Cuir à Paris, followed by APLF (Asian Pacific Leather Fair) during M,M&T. So far the results are very good, with partnership opportunities with important international brands, mostly European and North-American.

Companies involved
All companies from Ecofashion not only search for new natural and recycled materials but also search for ways of production that are not harmful in both approaches, environmental and social. For instance, Knorr, a company from Novo Hamburgo, an important pole for shoes components, in conjunction with local artisan communities, is transforming the “waste” of the banana extraction into flowers made of banana paper. A natural element transformed into a fashionable ornament that has a good durability and also a good price for a unique hand-made material.

Decorative Banana Paper Flowers - by Knorr

Recycling is also very important for companies like CS Fibracouro, which produces recycled leather from the waste of the shoe industry and also treats the water used in the production process in order to reuse part of it and give back to nature the other part as clean as it was in the beginning of the cycle.

The components
Not only banana can become eye-caching components. Other natural fibers such as buriti and jute, can be transformed into bags, packages as well as fabrics for decoration. Very common in the north region of Brazil, buriti is a native palm tree which usage dates back to ancient Indians, who used to manufacture roofs, containers and also ornaments with it. It’s as widely used as jute, presenting good resistance and high tensile strength, important characteristics for shoe and bag components.

Amazonlife commercializes the laminate of natural rubber, a natural and biodegradable component that many people call the “vegetal leather”. It consists in a cotton basis with rubber (latex) extracted from rubber trees (the Seringueiras) on top, vulcanized manually by local communities of Indians and rubber gatherers (the Seringueiros) that live inside the Amazon Forest. The project has the FSC certification that guarantees that all rubber tree is in an area protected from deforestation. This laminate can be used in all types of accessories also and besides being eco-friendly, its resistance and durability is as good as the animal leather.

Recycled Leather Material - by Fibracouro

Recycled rubber and latex are also transformed into soles, heels and components for the feet comfort, like insoles. Evatec and NCG, the companies that manufacture these products, acquire waste from other companies and also reuse their own waste mixing it with non-recycled material in order to keep the same characteristics of a non-recycled component. “Every case of recycling has a maximum percentage of recycled material in the composition (50 to 60%). If you pass this number your product will loose quality compared to a non-recycled component and that is not our aim”, says Luciana Oliver, Evatec´s director. “The prices are the same as those of non-recycled materials because so far the process of recycling is not so easy and cheap”, adds Nadia, NCG´s director.

NCG Insole - Made from Recycled Latex

… And this is just the beginning
Our intention for the near future is to extend the range of companies and components promoted and commercialized through this channel, becoming a reference to researchers, designers and international buyers. This initiative promotes not only the preservation of the planet, but also guarantee the sustainment of many local people involved in the process. And this is exactly what the world needs from us.

Cork Heel - by Evatec


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