CharlieMary: a circular fashion brand that goes the extra mile

We've known CharlieMary (and especially Charlotte van Waes) for quite a few years now.  At least twice a year we visit this warm and welcoming sustainable fashion agency, representing six of the most forward-thinking labels around.  With their history of being creatives in fashion and the expertise in sustainability as well as circular design & production they've built over the years, it was only a matter of time before a collection of their own would see the light of day.  And boy, are we happy it did. 


Garments that last
CharlieMary aims to create clothing that lasts.  That you will treasure for a long time, and maybe even pass on to a new owner.  Staying far away from temporary trends, Charlotte and Marieke design timeless, classic pieces that will become indispensable in your wardrobe in no time. 
Taking the lifespan of their clothing very much into account, increasing the quality is part of every step in the design and developing process. And even after they have lived one or several lives, the garments can be easily returned into the circular fashion. An easy recycling process starts.. with the design, and CharlieMary knows!

Why use resources when there is already so much out there?
Circular, we said.  And circular we mean.  CharlieMary doesn't use new, virgin material.  All the fabrics in the collection are 'dead stock’ fabrics (leftover inventory from other fashion houses), or recycled fabrics from the textile waste collected in The Netherlands and turn these into new pieces of clothing.  


From sample to... avatar

3d sampling

We were very intrigued by this new technology Charlie told us about on our last buying trip. You see, traditionally, for every piece in a collection, one or more samples are made.  Sometimes even in all the colours and prints the style is available in. Depending on how big the brand, these samples are flown all over the world, for fashion fairs and shows, and to agencies, where retailers come to choose and buy.  Easy to understand, this tradition of sampling has a massive carbon footprint.

Charlotte and Marieke resolutely wanted to tackle this problem.  Along with a partner, they work on a 3D sampling pilot. An avatar of the fitting model is created, on which they can design and simulate the clothing, till it's perfect.  No samples are physically made beforehand, which enables CharlieMary to work digitally and save lots of resources... and time.  Afterwards, real life like images of the pieces in different fabrics can be shown digitally to interested buyers, for example.  No need to sample the styles in all different fabrics.


Returning to good old craftsmanship... where it originated

Have you already seen the Sarah pants? There's a story behind that absolutely stunning fabric.  It was made in Enschede, where they have a history of producing textiles.  Up until the late ’60s, it even was one of the largest textile producing cities in Europe. A lot of textile factories were located in the city centre and a lot of the population worked in the textile industry.  When it got known that it was cheaper to take production abroad, a lot of the factories had to close the doors. Enter Enschede Textielstad. Founded in 2013, they aim to bring textile production back to where there is knowledge and tradition on the subject.  

And they choose to move forward, in a sustainable way! All of their fabrics are produced from recycled resources, such as recycled denim, recycled workwear and upcycled cotton. Since dyeing is one of the most polluting steps in textile production, none of the Enschede Textielstad fabrics are dyed. The fabric gets its colour from the recycled content in the yarns.

Enschede Textielstad works with a production on-demand model, which helps them lower their environmental impact even more. It prevents them from producing waste and enables them to adjust the fabrics to their customer’s needs.


CharlieMary and co

Interested in reading even more on how Charlotte and Marieke try to work as circular as possible?  Go meet a few other of their production partners:

- Loop.A life is a female-owned business, that was the first to make a collection out of upcycled post-consumer textile waste.
- Several items of the CharlieMary collection are made very locally, in Amsterdam!  They work with Makers Unite,  a creative agency with a big social mission.





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