An interview with Alex Albini

The Sustainable Brand Platform (SBP) is a new platform which uses its own algorithm and block-chain technology to offer an environmental and ethical evaluation of emerging brands at an international level and puts them in contact with buyers. Its aim is to create an international community of sustainable fashion brands and suppliers on a single platform. Each brand has its own virtual page on SBP containing all the information and images regarding its sustainability and a rating based on a survey and the certifications which the brand must provide. We speak about it to Alex Albini, the founder of SBP.

How did the need to evaluate and measure brand sustainability come about?

(Alex Albini) We work a lot with emerging independent brands, both in our commercial management activities and in the showroom, and we have received an increasing number of requests from the market, including buyers and end consumers, for collections characterised by the sustainability of their products as well as the brand’s working processes. At the same time, we have found a massive gap between what is sustainable and the design content. As a result, we started thinking about a platform which could support these emerging brands, from their design content to communicating their level of sustainability and we have been working on reducing this divide for over a year. This research process was intensified during the lockdown months and since then, we have launched the platform’s first algorithm and implemented the block-chain technology.

 Who do you consider to be your competitors on the b2b or b2c markets?

Rather than a competitor, our benchmark today would be Good On You, the Australian platform, which evaluates over 2,000 brands. However, unlike Good On You, our targets are buyers and other industry professionals rather than end consumers. Moreover, we only look at brands which want to be put on the platform so it’s more of a journey we go on together than a mere evaluation of what the brand does. Perhaps the greatest difference between us and the other players in the market is the blockchain technology we use to trace all the information the brand and their suppliers give us. In a perspective of transparency and data traceability, this means that this information can never be modified or cancelled but only updated.

Which brands have joined the platform?

At the moment, we have about twenty emerging designer brands from all over the world, including Les Petits Basics, a French T-shirt brand, Bonchey, a Dutch-Bolivian bag brand and Eticlò, an Italian ready-to-wear brand. We have also just negotiated two important international partnerships, one of which is with Moda Lisboa, the organiser of Lisbon Fashion Week, which will boost the platform with almost a hundred brands in the coming quarter.

What feedback have you had from the buyers?

The buyers who have found the SBP meter logo on the brands’ pages in the digital showroom have defined it as an excellent tool to complete a rapid and effective evaluation of the brand’s sustainability.

Your parameters also include communication. How does this relate to sustainability?

As far as communication is concerned, we are asking our brands to use the SBP meter logo on their online pages as a way of highlighting their sustainability. For SBP, this is a way of growing our community and increasing visibility.

How do you envisage the development of the sustainable fashion market now that it is in the limelight?

SBP’s mission is to unify the fashion industry with the world of sustainability, which must become one of the pillars of the fashion industry without any sacrifice of its creative spirit. This will only happen when great designers accept the challenge of pushing their creativity beyond the limits which sustainability may appear to impose on them in terms of the materials and methods they use to build their collections.

Which stereotypes have to be overcome in this sector?

Collections defined as sustainable are often accused of being less creative. There is some truth in this due to the higher price of sustainable raw materials and limits to certain processes. However, the new boundaries are those which will lead to change and progress. Sustainable fashion collections have to be seen through different eyes: we have to realise that fashion cannot proceed without being sustainable. In this way it can find inspiration to innovate and grow as it always has in the past.


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