STAND Up!: Zerow, a digital platform to connect best practices on circular economy in the fashion and textile industry
“Our society is based on waste, from foods to clothes. Less than 20% of fashion industrial leftovers are recycled, the rest goes to waste”. Gabriele and Leonardo, who are aware of this reality, are the young founders of Zerow, one of the 4 fashion and textile green ventures engaged in Italy within the incubation phase of the STAND UP! project.
“We decided to take a stand against this situation approaching with a new point of view: promoting the circular economy in reusing production waste”, they stated. Sustainability, craftiness and creativity are the three ideas that made Zerow see the light.
Zerow is a collaborative platform that covers three major fields. The first one is a digital marketplace where it is possible to find sustainable goods and where artisans can sell productions leftovers. The second one is a search engine where artisans, crafters and students can find sustainable raw materials based on their needs and helped by the artificial intelligence. Last but not least, the third field is a circular network where all the stakeholders involved can share their expertise and create connections.
“Only 20% of artisans sell online and the 16% don’t even have a digital presence” says Leonardo Eclizietta, holding behind his shoulders an economic and marketing background. “We really felt the need to create new kind of connections in the practices of the circular economy, starting from leather scraps waste, looking forward to dealing other types of wastes, such as textiles and fabrics” he says, new-born in the field of sustainability.
How STAND Up! is supporting them?
"The discovery of STAND Up! and the selection for the Green Business Model training was the real added value to our journey," says Gabriele Rorandelli. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering and learning experience in multi-cultural contexts. “Thanks to the training we deepened lot of skills that helped to manage a green start-up like ours and especially now, going through the incubation process, the project is giving us valuable support both in terms of knowledge and services", he adds.
Selected by the Prato Textile Museum to join the incubation support, Zerow is benefiting from expert mentoring in consolidating its business status and approaching the market, creating a well-positioned digital space and implementing its network.
“Our biggest accomplishment until now was building a strong team composed by people under 30 that shares the same values and goals on sustainability in the field” says Leonardo. “People think that the problem is not real, therefore we had difficulties on being perceived as a solid reality that can leave an important footprint in our society”, adds Gabriele.
The future of Zerow, focused towards digital selling
In the upcoming months Zerow wants to strengthen itself in the e-commerce sector. To do so, they aim at promoting quality, solutions and handcrafted recycled leather and textile products coming from circular and highly environmentally sustainable practices. “It was important to meet on our way a project like STAND Up! willing to understand our and many other young green ideas and visions but mostly to support them in meeting the challenges of the market.” they conclude.
In fact, by the first quarter of 2022, the Early Stage Incubation Programme of STAND Up! aims at facilitating market access to about 20 sustainable start-ups in the fashion and textile sector, established in the five Mediterranean countries involved in the project: Italy, Spain, Tunisia, Egypt and Lebanon.
STAND Up! is an EU-funded project within the ENI CBC MED Programme that counts on with a total budget of 3,7 million €, from which 3,3 million € is an Eu contribution, deeply focused on fostering circular economy towards the Mediterranean.