Tokyo (SCCIJ) – Ecological, sustainable, and locally produced is becoming the mantra of more and more Swiss companies despite the high costs often associated with such products. For example, Freitag from Zurich produces bags from used truck tarpaulins. Following Freitag’s footsteps is the sportswear label Revario by creating high-performance, eco-friendly, locally produced trail running clothes, achieving maximum sustainability.
Trail running clothes
An environmentally conscious trail running enthusiast founded the start-up in the canton Vaud: His 30-hour-long mountain trails of 140 km prepared Michael Ingram for a project that is no less daunting: launching a high-profile brand of clothing for this demanding discipline while ensuring that its production respects the environment. Ingram sees trail running as deeply nestled in nature, which often becomes this sport’s victim.
Michael grew up in the heart of the Vaudois Alps, in the small village of Huémoz. He has been unwaveringly passionate about mountain sports since his childhood. He ran his first trail at the age of 12. “When I learned of the gap between this connection and the recklessness of the textile industry in worsening pollution and global warming, I decided I wanted to create an alternative,” he told the Swiss newspaper Le Temps.
The mechanical engineer trained at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) puts every spare minute into this alternative – Revario. In 2019, having purchased a relatively costly trail article marketed as a Swiss brand, he was very disappointed to find out that the product was not made in Switzerland and the company had not even tried to produce in Europe.
So he decided to create a brand reflecting his values, serving up what he longs for as a trail lover and conveying the spirit of the trail: people respecting and helping each other, living their love of nature, and expressing who they are and what they care about.
In 2019, he turned to innovative textile suppliers no further than 600 km away from Geneva. On his way, he discovered Econyl, ecological nylon made from fishing nets recovered from the Adriatic Sea. Also, he replaced polyester with equivalent materials that are biodegradable or made of recycled plastic bottles.
Supporters in Switzerland
“However, eco-friendliness alone isn’t going to win over enough customers – to get ahead, the quality of our apparel has to outdo conventional clothing,” he says. But finding skilled labor with high-volume production capacity in Switzerland is a truly tall order. Lamentably, the once flourishing Swiss textile and sewing industry has faded away over time, little by little.
Through research and perseverance, he found his way to Caritas Geneva’s manager, who shared the same goal of revitalizing the local sewing industry, on the verge of vanishing. Developed with the support of the innovation-boosting association Genilem and the expertise of Caritas ateliers, the first collection was sold in spring via a crowdfunding campaign. The sales start of the second collection is just coming up. And to top it all off, Revario packages its products using recycled old paragliders and repairs its apparel lifelong for free.