Arnaud Brunois: Head of Communications & Sustainable Developments
“We support recycling and the use of vegetal ingredients – and we have less of an environmental impact than animal-origin fabrics.”
The Marketplace recently caught up with Ecopel, one of the global leaders in fake fur, which presented us its AW 21_22 and other lines for the next season. Arnaud Brunois, Head of Communications and Sustainable Developments, took a moment to talk to us about the company, especially its latest innovations and strong eco-responsible commitments.
Arnaud, please introduce yourself and tell us about your specific role at Ecopel.
I’ve been head of communications at Ecopel for the past two years. It’s a multifaceted job – I communicate information about the new collections and our company’s commitments, and I also liaise with our factories in China and France. Recently I was made head of sustainable developments too, which is an exciting challenge because eco-responsibility is very much part of our DNA.
How would you define what makes your company and its products different?
Ecopel is a Franco-Chinese company specializing in luxury fake furs. We have 2 factories in China and have acquired a stake in Peltex, a quite historic factory in this industry, which is located in the Vosges region of France. We make faux furs made of synthetic fibers, produced from Oeko Tex© certified modacrylic or polyester (for the basic fiber), which are designed to last.
To further expand its eco-responsible approach, the group has adopted stringent measures in its factories, particularly in terms of the conservation of resources such as water, which is now treated in a closed circuit.
Tell us about your clients. What kinds of markets are you targeting with your faux furs?
Our faux furs are intended for brands in the mid- to high-end range. Our clients include big traditional fashion houses that share our same vision of the future of fashion. A growing number of leading fashion houses, mindful of the need for animal conservation, have recently taken very clear positions regarding the use of animal skins and furs and have decided to renounce them. Our aim is to provide a solution that meets this demand, without any concessions in terms of quality or creativity.
Our clients are true partners – we establish a relationship with them based on trust, listening and transparency.
We see ourselves as a laboratory of new ideas – ideas that bubble up and come together, so we can offer our clients tangible solutions
Last September we launched a collaboration with Stella McCartney, who shares our commitment to animal protection. The outcome of this collaboration led to the first faux fur made in part with vegetal ingredients. Some 37% of this fiber, which was developed by DuPont©, is made from corn residue.
What are the highlights of the AW 21-22 collection? What was your creative team inspired by for next season?
The great thing about fake fur is that it can be developed in so many different ways.
A big part of our next collection is dedicated to the animal kingdom. It’s bucolic, authentic, and evokes farm animals and a pastoral world, like kid skins and cow skins.
Preview Collection AW 21/22
But that didn’t stop us from indulging in playful and extravagant themes on the entirely opposite end of the spectrum. Here you find colors are bolder, more distinct, even verging on the artificial, but always handled in a very confident way.
Preview Collection AW 21/22
But nature remains our principal source of inspiration throughout.
Can you give us a preview of one of the ideas you’ll be introducing for the next season opening?
Our key new ideas are closely entwined with our ongoing search for innovation. We are developing a range of new tools to allow us to improve fibers on both a creative and eco-responsible level.
We’ve recently launched a new “non-animal” wool produced from hemp and recycled fibers that’s made in France. This new material falls in with the plush trend and is a good product for brands that are looking to reduce their consumption of animal products while remaining eco-friendly. It’s one of the star products we are looking to promote at the upcoming edition of Première Vision Paris.
Ecopel puts a real premium on innovation, and innovation is always at the heart of your collections. How is this reflected in the company?
As we were discussing, innovation is truly the central focus of our collections. All our partnership-relationships with our clients bring together our open-mindedness with their specific requests, and that gives rise to a genuine creative energy.
For example, this summer we are starting an exciting project with the Kering group to experiment with a new ecological way of dyeing our polyester-based fake furs.
That is also why we just joined the non-profit “Textile Exchange” organization.
Ecopel also pays particular attention to animal protection. What are your projects in this area, and who are your collaborating with?
We are involved in the Furs for Life project set up by Panthera, an American NGO. We have recently offered to provide meters of fake leopard fur at no charge. The project aims to replace the real leopard furs used by religious communities in South Africa with fake furs.
This is doubly symbolic for us. First because the leopard has unfortunately become one of the symbols of animal extinction, but also because leopard is a timeless print, never out of fashion and reinterpreted every season by fashion designers.
We were thrilled to learn that today, thanks to fake furs and the work of this magnificent NGO, the lives of 5,000 leopards have already been saved since 2013.
Generally speaking, more and more suppliers are committing to an eco-responsible approach. What is Ecopel doing to meet this important challenge?
All the actions we have been speaking about are part of a more global strategy.
And the aim of this strategy, which we have dubbed “Make a change”, is to propose concrete solutions to the many grey areas in the textile industry.
Which is, in essence, the DNA of our company since, thanks to our fake fur, brands can stop using animal furs without putting any limitations on their collection’s creativity and quality.
To do this, we are increasing our partnerships to undertake positive initiatives that will be implemented over the next 5 years. The collaborations mentioned above are only the beginnings of a strategy we envision as being both pragmatic and ambitious.
You’re very active on the Marketplace. What do you view as the advantages of this platform? Have you seen any results?
The Marketplace is a tremendous tool and a unique opportunity for us to benefit from both a permanent international showcase and the undeniable influence of Première Vision in the international fashion industry.
Preview Ecopel’s new products on the Marketplace.
For over 15 years, ECOPEL has been a manufacturer of polyester and modacrylic fake furs as well as fake furs produced from recycled or vegetal ingredients. The company is primarily targeted to mid-to-high-end and cutting-edge brands.