Sunday 19 November 2017

Duo dressing Silicon Valley entrepreneurs in t-shirts launch new ethical accessories range

Oskar Zieba (left) and Guerric de Ternay - both wearing GoudronBlanc T-shirts
Oskar Zieba (left) and Guerric de Ternay - both wearing GoudronBlanc T-shirts
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

A small start-up is attempting to change the way consumers think about accessories - and about ethical fashion as a whole.

Blackwood's mission statement differs from many other burgeoning firms in that profit is not one of their highest concerns.

But co-founders Guerric de Ternay and Oskar Zieba have the luxury of realising their vision, with the success of their e-commerce-driven apparel company already established.

Their GoudronBlanc T-shirts are worn by top Sillicon Valley entrepreneurs such as Sam Altman, Seth Godin, and Nathan Blecharczyk.

Blackwood product
Blackwood product

Establishing the new brand distinct from GoudronBlanc was important for the duo in terms of clear positioning as, according to de Ternay, Blackwood is about offering the best natural alternative to animal leather.

"Fashion is one of the most polluting industries," he told independent.ie.

"Style shouldn’t come at the expense of the environment. We want to reconcile the pleasure of having great accessories, with the awareness that you’re respecting the environment and the people who make the goods."

Blackwood has chosen cork leather for their products as they maintain that is the most sustainable and natural type of vegan leather - with the most unique look.

"There are two types of vegan leather - natural and non-natural. The latter is the most popular, as for now, but it is made of plastic - not the best and sustainable solution," said de Ternay.

Blackwood hopes that their approach will encourage more brands to be "fully committed to adopt the ethical approach" but believe "too many of them limit their commitment to a few collections, if they choose to do anything".

Blackwood product
Blackwood product
Blackwood product

Currently a team of just four, Blackwood are still in stealth mode and funded by its founders - but the company will soon be offering its customers to take part in a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.

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