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Spotlight on bio-based textiles: 5 Minutes With…Veronica Chou from Everybody & Everyone

“Everybody & Everyone is sustainable down to its buttons.”

Sustainability remains more than just a buzzword, with brands, retailers and innovative companies working hard to make sure that their products have a positive impact on the environment. US-headquartered Everybody & Everyone is one of those companies. In fact, it is an eco-innovative, size inclusive, essential womenswear multifunctional brand.

Here, Bio Market Insights’ Liz Gyekye catches up with Veronica Chou, founder of eco apparel brand Everybody & Everyone(@evrybdyevryone).

Liz Gyekye (LG): The fashion industry is going through a transformation at the moment. How is Everybody & Everyone positioning itself to be a part of this journey?

Veronica Chou (VC): As of now, due to Covid-19, we have temporarily paused our business to protect people from exposure, and we are preparing for a better and stronger return. This virus has showed us that all people are connected, so let’s truly be connected. Let’s communicate and collaborate to solve problems and to build a sustainable future for Everybody & Everyone.

LG: How do you see the customer becoming a part of Everybody & Everyone’s sustainability journey?

VC: A lot of our materials are completely new to the market, or our functionality is unique, and we need our community to actively give us feedback so that we can make even better products. Sustainability is so new, and a lot of test IRL is needed! We’re all in this together to make carbon-neutral, non-toxic eco life a reality for everyone!

LG: Looking back over since you started the business, what has been the greatest achievement?

VC: Although we have only been in business for four months, and of course our business is small, we have had a lot of little wins. For example, we have developed our own proprietary materials, produced every single style in an inclusive size range, and have been selling to every state in America! Consumers everywhere want sustainable products!

LG: And, what are the biggest lessons learned?

VC: There are so many cool and promising new sciences out there, but unfortunately a lot of them are not yet commercialised, including many recycling technologies. I will continue to test them with Everybody & Everyone and help to raise awareness and capital to the magnificent things that we can achieve with technology.

LG: What’s your opinion on chemical recycling and mechanical recycling?

VC: This is the next near-term frontier! For me, sustainability means 1) Carbon neutral (or better yet carbon negative) 2) no toxic chemicals released or used, and 3) biodegradable or keeping in circularity.

Currently, 80% of American clothing has polyester in it. A majority of this material is mixed with cotton and polyester. Essentially, we have to develop chemical recycling in order to separate naturals and synthetics to be able to reuse our materials. We should be aiming not use virgin materials as that usually depletes our planet. We should also be aiming to divert waste from landfill. Circularity is the key. For example, footwear brand Thousand Fell has created the world’s first ‘circular’ sneaker made from sustainable and recyclable materials. My cousin created her own proprietary mechanical recycling system which can clean without water, separate and break down clothing and re-spin it back into knitwear yarn. These are the types of technology that will help create a closed-loop system, that minimises our negative impact on the planet. However, circularity can only happen if it starts in the design stage, and designers design with circularity in mind. We should also avoid using toxic chemicals. As Cradle2Cradle pioneer William McDonough says “we can’t do bad cycling, we have to do good cycling”.

LG: How is Everybody and Everyone forging ahead with sustainability?

VC: Everybody & Everyone is sustainable down to its buttons – we consider all things, from our trims to the locations of our raw materials and factories. We also try to do all the important research to make it easy for the everyday consumer to buy sustainably. In addition to this, we hope to spread sustainability to a wider audience, not just to the people already in the know.

LG: Post-Covid-19, do you think that consumers and brands will continue to stick to the sustainability message?

VC: I sure hope so! It’s more important than ever. I also hope this time of brief pause, allows brands and companies to think and plan for coming back more sustainably than ever before.

LG: Post-Covid-19, do you think you will see more material that you can use from recycled materials as more people get rid of their old clothes during their lockdowns?

VC: That’s a great idea! As a brand, we use a lot of recycled materials already, from recycled plastic bottles to cotton, we also have a clothing recycling programme.

LG: Where do you see Everybody and Everyone’s in five years’ time?

VC: I do hope we will continue to lead on materials science and technology and that we can help spread sustainability to more people around the globe, achieving our goal of maximising the life of clothes and minimising our impact on the planet.

If you were interested in reading this story, you may also be interested in the ones below. 

Read: Spotlight on bio-based textiles: Sustainable innovation – don’t be blinkered by large brands

Read: Spotlight on bio-based textiles: #whatsinmyclothes – The truth behind the label

Read: Expert view: Will ‘greenwashing’ work out to be good for textiles?

Read: Spotlight on bio-based textiles: How to make sure modern slavery is not embedded in your sustainable cotton products

Read: Deputy editor’s view: Cleaning out one’s closet 

Read: Spotlight on bio-based textiles: Regenerative materials sourced from plants, not petroleum-based synthetic plastics

Read:  Introducing bio-based and sustainable components to long-standing supply chains.

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