Here at Playtime, we take pride in celebrating the sustainable and game-changing brands that are part of our Marketplace and/or our trade shows. Today, let us introduce you to the new, innovative, zero-waste, and Green Milk Award winner at Playtime Paris, Unie & co! Learn how they have centered their business around upcycling and the circular economy.
To introduce you to this amazing brand, the founder of Unie & co herself, Géraldine Adam, has answered some questions for us!
How would you describe Unie & co?
Unie & co is a new kidswear brand whose specialty is to reuse garments that already exist to create collections for children ages 0-8. These existing garments can be vintage, second hand, or deadstock.
The overall concept of Unie & co is to reemploy textiles and find solutions to be as responsible as possible. We are proof that a new brand can be formed with a strong creative identity and profitable production methods that are completely different from what is traditionally done today by using upcycling.
What are your sustainability initiatives?
We are betting on eco-responsibility via upcycling while still being able to respond to the demands of buyers thanks to a mass production method. Ecological revolution is part of our brand DNA! Of course, there are always constraints that make it challenging for zero-waste production and unfortunately we also have waste, but we use our waste and scraps to the maximum degree as lining or to create pieces like our patched jeans.
We turn the constraints of production into aesthetic forces. For example, our best-seller is a reversible, bi-material jacket which was initially thought of with flannel shirts and sweats (this summer it will be made with jeans and sweats). When we received sweats that were dirty or had weak exteriors, we turned them inside out and used the fleece side as the exterior to create cocooning pieces that were perfect for winter! We also met the textile optimization company Studio Abi at Playtime Paris and decided to collaborate with them to salvage certain pieces of clothing that we can rework, like buttons, to further limit our waste.
We aim to make our production a sustainable solution because it is also the solution with the lowest carbon footprint. Among other things, there is no technological or chemical reprocessing of our materials, contrary to recycled fibers.
As a kidswear brand, why do you find it especially important to produce sustainably?
In the children's world, we find that there is this idea of transmission, which is part of what motivated us to create our brand in the first place. We would like to teach children the value of beauty. We believe that this value is not only passed along through the brand, but above all through the cut and quality of the materials. This also makes it possible to educate and empower children with the importance of what surrounds us.
Where do you find inspiration?
I work with a fashion designer and together our creative inspiration comes from minimalism and timeless things. We work with a repertoire of cuts that we add tones of the season to via the fabrics and patterns we use. Our designs are simple, but through the textiles and the volumes we play with we add character to them. For next summer, we have been inspired by Japanese and Korean garments. We are taking very simple dresses in terms of volume and giving them a strong personality through tie-dying. We also use a lot of primary colors to give our pieces an artsy feel.
What did you think of your first experience at Playtime Paris?
It was a great first experience! We were a part of the NEW NOW space, won the Green Milk Award, met with important players from the kidswear industry, and formed relationships with international buyers and press organizations. We had an amazing time and are excited to work with those we met there.
Today, we would like to spread the values of Unie & co everywhere in France, and are looking for French boutiques to sell our collections! We would love to hear from any boutiques that are interested in Unie & co and invite them to reach out to us at any time.
What are your ambitions for Unie & co?
We have two main ambitions: to popularize and show that our production method can lead the market tomorrow, and to develop our international distribution. We want to continue increasing the value of reusing materials and to develop more collaborations with brands to use their deadstock to create something new.
What news do you have at Unie & co?
We currently have a pop-up on the 5th floor of Printemps Haussmann in Paris that will be there until mid-May. For the launch of Printemps' new identity, we also created green tie-dyed pieces to celebrate their new color, which you can find in the green pop-up in "L'Atrium" (first basement).
Thank you so much to Géraldine for taking the time to share these wonderful insights into her brand! Be sure to visit Unie & co's pop-up in Printemps before it leaves in May, and to see their collections at Kiliwatch Paris.
If you couldn't visit Unie & co in the NEW NOW space at Playtime Paris in January, why not sign in to your Marketplace account to visit their booth virtually? You can also find Studio Abi's booth and [re]explore the whole show anytime, anywhere!