It was a very special year for all of us. A year that was filled with social, economic and scientific challenges on a global level. The last few months have allowed us to experience a wide variety of emotions. To us, it almost feels like the year is coming to an end before it even really started. While preparing our annual review, we realized once again how much we can be thankful for this year, despite the challenges we faced due to the Covid-19 health crisis.
Melika Sghiar of the CARPASUS crew asked a few questions to René, founder and enterpreneurial force behind the brand and prepared a review of our year 2020!
Reading time: 5 minutes
René, what was the “greatest challenge” for CAPRASUS in 2020?
René: It won't surprise anyone that the biggest challenge for us since March has been the Covid-19 situation. Like everyone else, we suddenly faced an enormous uncertainty. The lockdown came just before we received our spring collection from our suppliers. We were still able to deliver to most of our retail partners. A few wanted to postpone the delivery or were already closed when we wanted to ship. At that moment, we didn't know what the situation would look like in the next few months. Will we be able to maintain deliver the shirts we produced? Will we be able to maintain our business? How long will our suppliers be able to keep running their factories and workshops? These kind of questions were in our heads.
The world was still in order in January 2020 when we showcased our collection at the NEONYT fair in Berlin. A few weeks later, things were turned upside down.
Was there a “moment of despair”?
There have been a few moments of despair. In Portugal where most of our suppliers are based, local and global restrictions and protective measures had a major impact on producers. They generally had fewer orders, deliveries of material were delayed, some employees did not come to work out of fear or because they had to look after their children because schools were closed, or the producers switched their productions from shirts to masks and other medical material. At first we were no longer able to visit our suppliers in Portugal, which made the coordination of the shirt production more difficult. In Summer, one of our suppliers told us that they were no longer able to manufacture our Autumn collection. That was a moment of despair. Yet, since this year we are working with an agent in Portugal who coordinates our productions. Fortunately, with her help we were able to find two alternative suppliers relatively quickly, who finally stepped in and with whom we will continue to work in the future.
Global supply chains were under pressure due to the Covid-19 health crisis and the regulations taken by numerous governments. We could travel to our suppliers fewer times than usual. But with the help of our agent Anabela we managed to coordinate all our our productions and shippments successfully.
Now let's switch from one extreme to the other. In contrast to moments of despair, were there also «moments of happiness»?
Of course. I would definitely like to state that, despite all the challenges, we can be very grateful and optimistic. On the one hand, unlike many others, we were able to continue selling our shirts during the lockdown thanks to our online store. We received a great response from our regular customers. Our linen and flannel collections in particular were very well received. We can be very grateful that the colaborations with our retail partners work so well, that we could deliver all pre-orders and that we were able to start many new colaborations with retailers this year. It was wonderful to see how people in our sustainable fashion industry stuck together and supported each other and stayed positive. In general, we feel that the issues of sustainability, local production and transparency are becoming more and more important.
Our Autumn/Winter 2020 collection with a wide range of flannel shirts was received very well by existing and new CARPASUS fans.
CARPASUS was featured in various papers and magazines in 2020!
Of these moments of happiness just mentioned, is there one big “highlight” among them?
The first thing that comes to mind is this already mentioned encouragement and the loyalty that we have received from our existing customers. We also felt that word of our brand got around and that we were reaching more and more people. That even meant that we were able to continue growing in these difficult times. That is of course incredibly beautiful. We are grateful and humble at the same time because we know that not everyone feels the same way.
The CARPASUS Photoshooting team after the successfull shooting of our upcoming Spring/Summer collection 2021.
Can you also give us a “glimpse into the future” of CARPASUS?
It is clear to us that we want to continue driving the CARPASUS vision of a more sustainable fashion industry. We would like to maintain and expand our range of shirts and reach more customers in Switzerland and abroad. It is important to me that we constantly question our own actions and look for and find ways in which we can make our products even more sustainable. There is still potential here, too.
In 2020 we used around 400kg of organic cotton and around 200kg of organic linen for our shirt production and were thus able to save water and pesticides compared to conventionally grown materials.
For the first time we have used recycled organic cotton yarn for our fabrics. This enables us to reduce the need for new fibers.
For the first time our shirts were delivered in reusable polybags to our retailers. In this way, the shirts remain protected and we have contributed to reducing plastic consumption.
In 2020 we shipped to customers in 18 countries!
Thank you René for the brief review.
I would like to thank all of our customers and partners on behalf of CARPASUS. Thank you for your support, for your solidarity, for your loyalty and for your trust. We are very happy about the growing interest in CARPASUS and the support of our vision. I wish everyone a Happy New Year. I am sure that 2021 holds a lot of good things for all of us.
René and the CARPASUS team