Eco-à-porter enters the universe of ethical fashion for children for the first time thanks to the ‘nomination’ of Daniel Tocca, the founder of Re-bello we interviewed last November. Daniel was afraid of being accused of nepotism, because he had ‘nominated’ his sister Elizabeth but we thank him, precisely, because Elizabeth is the founder of CORA Happywear, a sustainable clothing brand for children.
So we discovered a world, which despite being aimed at children, essentially has some of the peculiarities of ethical fashion for adults, that is, the search for quality materials that are good for the skin, produced responsibly and with particular attention to design. Then Elizabeth Tocca told us everything else.
So Elizabeth, as I did with Daniel and as I usually do with all my guests, I ask you first of all to tell us how you came to found CORA Happywear, because we at eco-à-porter like stories.
The birth of my first daughter Leni, now 15 years ago, represented the initial impulse; after the arrival of the second child, the thought of having my own company that had an impact, not only on the lives of my children, but also on the planet where they live and will also live, has turned into reality. I took courage (CORA from Italian ‘CORA’ggio that is courage) and left the ‘safe’ position as an employee, I embarked on the ‘startup’ adventure. In 2014 in Italy we were certainly pioneers in the eco-sustainable textile sector; the path to date has been a rollercoaster of small and big hits and small and big lessons to learn.
Congratulations on the courage Elizabeth! On the CORA website I found a part dedicated to the values that inspired the birth of the brand; can you summarize them for me, deepening above all the part dedicated to sustainability, which is the one that interests us most?
After the birth of my children I asked myself more and more what the job could be with which I could invest my time in an optimal way doing good to myself and at the same time giving a good example to my children and above all thinking about the world in which we live. The world of fashion is a world in which you express your personality like in no other sector, although unfortunately we know that it is also one of the most polluting sectors on our planet. When a t-shirt costs little more than a cappuccino, you realize that there is something deeply rotten. Thus CORA was born as a reality that dresses and educates the little ones already to a more respectful option for the planet, in addition to the people involved in the production process and their own body. We would like to change something. But this does not mean that fashion should not be fun or beautiful. Our goal is to combine comfort with style and eco-sustainability.
Cora is mainly dedicated to childhood, that is not an area that eco-à-porter still deals with but there is always a first time and who knows that in the future we will not also dedicate a section to babies. But it is interesting to investigate and understand what is at the basis of a brand for children that aims at sustainability. I imagine that there is first of all a particular attention to the composition of the materials, isn’t it? And then?
As already mentioned, the material is the basis. In fact, CORA happywear produces only garments that are in direct contact with the skin. So the first criterion of choice is: what is good for and protects our skin. The second criterion is the softness and comfort of a garment made with particularly soft fabrics that bring various benefits to the skin; for example, bamboo is thermal and has natural UV protection. Then there is the eucalyptus fiber which is highly breathable and antibacterial and therefore suitable especially for garments in contact with the most intimate parts of our body. The beech fiber, on the other hand, is very soft, warm and resistant, we use it to make trousers and leggings.
Raw materials such as bamboo, beech, eucalyptus grow quickly and vertically. Furthermore, they do not need artificial irrigation, pesticides and fertilizers, therefore aquifers are not polluted and food cultivation is not taken up. Even more important is the awareness of us moms and dads. We educators are the basis for future generations. Those who sow good, harvest good.
Holy words. I know that Cora also has a women’s line: what are the characteristics and style?
The softness that pampers the skin, ensuring freedom of movement and contributing to well-being and pleasure in feeling comfortable every day, has prompted many of our customers to request a line for them too. Our style is a style that emphasizes the playful aspect of life: simple, fun and for all moments. Different looks are available in mini-me version (coordinated mom and daughter look).
A curiosity: the territorial proximity to Austria and Germany, where culture linked to respect for the environment is more rooted and advanced, do you think it has influenced you in any way?
Of course, culturally we are very influenced by Northern Europe. Our bridge function in the eco-sustainable textile sector can also have an impact on the development of the sector in Italy. But we still have a long way to go.
I am aware of this. Now, as you may already know, the interview calls for you to ‘nominate’ my next guest. Who will be and why?
I ‘nominate’ Anna Fiscale, founder of Progetto Quid, for me a fantastic, strong and inspiring woman for many little and big women in Italy.
Well, it will be a pleasure to have her as our guest, we know her project! Thank you very much Elizabeth, nice to also have hosted a brand for children, who knows if it won’t be a start to talk about baby fashion in the future too!