Founded in 2009, BIBICO is an award-winning women’s ethical clothing label that specializes in designing women’s clothing made from quality natural materials. Bibico’s collection is produced in fair trade certified cooperatives. Designed by Nieves Ruiz Ramos (Snow), the Founder of BIBICO and made ethically by producers she knows and trust. The company’s vision is to push the fashion industry in a more sustainable and ethical direction, where success is based on more than just offering the cheapest price, a direction that not only values beautiful designs but the producer and the planet just as much as the end consumer.
BIBICO values the safety and well-being of its producers and takes seriously its environmental impact. Its two main producers are certified by the WFTO (World Fair Trade Organization) who audit its members regularly, checking to see if the suppliers are meeting with the 10 Fair Trade principles set out by the WFTO including fair payment, good working conditions, no child or forced labor. In addition, the company meets with its suppliers once a year to check that these principles are being upheld.
In terms of its commitment to the environment BIBICO always tries to use sustainable fabrics where it can. For example it uses GOTS certified organic cotton which means no chemicals are used in its production. The company has recently added Tencel to its collections, a fabric made from regenerated wood cellulose.
In order to highlight the impact of fabric choices on environment, Snow refers to an important statement from the report of International Union For Conservation Of Nature, that is, “Clothes and textiles are a major source of primary micro plastic to the oceans, accounting for 35% of the global total.”. These micro plastics come from the synthetic fibres used to make clothes. Fast fashion has heralded a huge growth of cheaper clothes that use synthetic fabrics which in turn has heavily contributed to the influx of micro plastics in the oceans. At BIBICO less than 5% of all of the collections include synthetic fabrics and the rest is made from natural, biodegradable fabrics. The company’s aim is exclude all synthetic fibres from our clothing thereby becoming plastic free by 2020.
From the first Sketch
The Idea behind BIBICO originated by Snow when walked through the door of the women’s cooperative in Mumbai. She realized that her idea of creating a more sustainable clothing company was going to be possible. Inspired by the things that matter to her the most including her love of the outdoors, simple, family pleasures and her home in Northern Spain, she sat down to sketch her first Bibico collection.
However, the journey of BIBICO started a year before when Snow and her husband Tim had taken a holiday in a small farmhouse in Menorca, Spain. She had been designing for major clothing brands for over 10 years and had become disillusioned by the industry and how it had changed in 10 years from producing 4 collections per year to churning out new collections every week. The clothes were cheaper but the quality was worse and there was no consideration for the people producing these clothes.
Snow’s background designing for some of the world’s leading high street retailers has allowed her to create collections that appeal to so many customers. She also maintains close relationships with suppliers and as mentioned above, visits them at least once every year.
Adapting the ethical approach of production has been quite challenging for BIBICO. The company is aware of the consequences of producing certain items at a cheaper price with other suppliers, or by using cheaper synthetic materials that are bad for the planet rather than sustainable or natural fabrics. Hence it is not interested in short term gains. BIBICO describes itself as a “slow fashion company” which means it is focused on producing clothing in a more sustainable way. This may mean producing less but it also means producing better quality garments. Consumers are starting to wake up to the fact that over consumption is having a huge effect on the planet.
Aspiring a Better Future
BIBICO believes that there is a growing consumer movement for brands to become more transparent. Recent changes in the industry have highlighted the need of brands and retailers to improve working conditions for the people who make their clothes. Since its launch BIBICO has been one of the main supporters of improving the lives and wellbeing of garment workers so its long term growth is nurturing and growing this transparency. This will also enable growth of brands that are doing the right thing.
Emblem of Excellence
“Love your company’s ethics and will keep being repeat customer.” – Tanya
“Your clothing range is exactly what I’ve been looking for. It’s smart, classic designs and supports fair trade. I’m past this fast fashion mentality. I want my clothing to last more than one season.” – Louise