Scandale: Eco-friendly Lingerie That’s Both Stylish and Really Impressive

Scandale: Eco-friendly Lingerie That’s Both Stylish and Really Impressive

26.11.2021 Off By manager_1

woman in black brassiere and panty

We spoke with Edouard Roche (CEO and co-founder) of Scandale eco lingerie to learn more about the brand’s recent push towards sustainability. Edouard Roche says, “I believe that we are far from the destination. If ever there can be one.”

Roche admits that his brand “tried to move it” in the lingerie market, but he doesn’t want to rest on his laurels. Roche says that there is more to be done. Scandale has taken steps to be more sustainable, but the work isn’t over.

A brand that is innovative from the beginning

While the brand is modern in its focus of carbon reduction, certification and transparency in supply chains, it was built on the foundations almost 100 years worth of history.

Robert Perrier founded Scandale in 1932. He was the first to develop an elastic girdle using latex yarn. This freed women from uncomfortable and immovable corsetry.

The brand innovated over the next decades. They sold in Dior stores, manufactured the first Lycra underwear and collaborated with Rene Gruau, a renowned fashion illustrator, to create a bold brand palette. Scandale was in and out of business between the 1970s and the aughts. Hop Lun, a Hong Kong-based company, acquired it in 2016.

Lingerie is about women feeling confident in their own skin. Roche is relaunching the brand with a renewed sense for purpose. Roche has previously been at the helm brands like Ralph Lauren and Burberry. He was careful to build on Scandale’s legacy rather than start over.

Roche explained that it was important to preserve the DNA and handwriting from being a French, sensual brand of lingerie. “We have been working with the head designer to make the handwriting look sleek, minimalist and beautiful. This is due to the exclusive fabrics that we developed together with our suppliers.”

He continues, “It’s all a matter of looking back at illustrations by Scandale.” “We decided that the line needed to be viewed from a different perspective, and not just another brand doing the same thing over and over again.”

Paris’s new ethical fashion designer: “There is hope that […] has managed to surpass the finish line of having zero waste on the cutting table.”

Scandale moves towards proximity sourcing

Values were also needed to complement the French sense of sensuality. Roche and his associates took a methodological approach and focused on three KPIs: transparency, social responsibility, and environmental responsibility.

Roche described the development as an “helicopter view” that Roche obtained from 155 luxury brands to see what was happening and how brands were doing against these three criteria. The brand used the same matrix to score potential suppliers starting at 0 and ending up with those that scored at least three.

The brand uses proximity sourcing to minimize the impact of its garments. This means that suppliers and manufacturers are in close proximity to each other to reduce the back and forth between fibres, fabrics and components. These can sometimes travel thousands of miles.

Roche says that when we compared the pros and cons to this big idea about decarbonisation it became very clear that we needed to be as far as possible from our supply chains. “So, we developed a trusting relationship with our two fabric factories which are responsible for the recyclability and they found materials close to their factories. Then their factory was not too far from where we manufacture or assemble.”

Scandale works with conscious suppliers to reduce carbon emissions

Some compromises have been made because of the necessity of being close. The brand explored the possibility of using Lyocell bamboo fabric but the factories of the manufacturer were located in Europe.

“We all know that there isn’t a lot bamboo in the UK and Europe. So basically, we would have taken bamboo from Asia, transformed it in Europe, and then returned it to Asia. We realized all the back-and-forth, and we decided to say no.”

Scandale doesn’t have the option of using eco-friendly materials that might not be available in their area.

Fabrics and dyes that are eco-developed

To maximize resource efficiency and resist the ever-changing churn of fast fashion trends, a permanent collection of 105 pieces was created.

Roche, just like Perrier was pushing the boundaries with Lycra and latex, was keen to do the exact same thing when it came down to sustainable fabrics and fiber. Roche says, “We put on a piece of blank paper a dreamof 100% eco fabric.”

The brand is currently at 80% of its goal, with 80% of its fibres being recycled. They are keen to be precise with their figures and list the recycled content percentage of each fabric on their website.

Scandale is open about what recyclable materials it uses

It is also important to use dyes. Chemical dyes can be water-intensive, polluting, toxic, and harmful to aquatic life. This is why Scandale designed an undyed collection.

Roche says that if you want your lingerie to not fade under UV light or in washing processes, you need to use chemicals. “But we were very excited to see the undyed pieces because it has a bit Comme des Garcons feel. Off-white, not matchy/matchy. We started the collection with 20% of it undyed.”

Roche knows that 20% is not enough so the brand will be launching a capsule collection next year with a “new type of black”. It will expand the range if it is successful.

Fabric is the most tangible ecodevelopment Scandale customers can do, but it was necessary to take into account all angles in order to meet those original KPIs. “We put on a piece of paper a vision of 100% eco fabric.”

The transparency pledge

Roche says that 18 months ago was the beginning of our story. “We signed a transparency promise, and we are very close the BSR-HER project, so that companies will understand women more than just as workers.” BCOME was also used by the brand to evaluate and score each product’s impact.

The Scandale website provides access to the information as well as the QR codes included with every garment. For example, the “le plunge side-sling bra” in Scandale Red scores 9.1 in circularity, 7.7 in planet in mind, 7.3 in people in mind and 8.2 in transparency.

Scandale was awarded Pending B Corporation Status due to its transparency, third-party validation, transparency and work with BSR. Roche says, “It was very positive because it happened before our launch.” He says that there are still more things to do – you may be sensing a theme.

Scandale currently guarantees 100% traceability for its Tier one and Tier two suppliers and 49% for Tier 3. “Tier 3 is moving forward. We are making sure that we have the data and the certifications as well as all the elements that will give credence to our project.” Roche says it is not an easy task.

Closing the loop in lingerie production

Closing the loop is also on the “must do better” list. What’s the first thing? Zero waste at the cutting table. Roche says, “The question is: What do you do about the waste?”. “The first idea, although it wasn’t very sharp, was to use some waste as filler for mannequins or mattresses.”

“But we were unhappy with that decision, so we cancelled it and asked a supplier to see if they could convert the scrap fabrics into ‘chips,’ then the chips into material.”

“We don’t know whether it will be frames, or another product type.” He says that there is a great chance that we can announce that we have eliminated all waste from the cutting board.

But there is another question: What to do about the end of your life?

Roche explains that a bra could contain 20, 30, 40 pieces of fabric, some with tiny metallic parts such as the wire or hook and eye. Initially, Scandale was able to locate one supplier who might have been able separate the metal from fabric to recycle them. However, the brand believed it was a crazy idea to ship products from Europe to America.

It’s encouraging to see brands trying to solve end-of life problems where others may not even consider it. “But we failed. We failed. We aren’t happy to admit it.” It is working on a better solution to the product’s end-of-life.

A CEO who talks about failure and not being happy is rare and something that the industry needs more of. Roche is not content with the achievements of Scandale, but rather than expect praise, Roche is pushing for even more.

Roche’s goal of zero CO2 is not only to emit 55% less CO2 than traditional lingerie, but also to achieve this level of emission. It’s not enough to have 80% of recycled fibres. The goal is 100%. Not having 49% transparency in Tier 3 is not enough. Having no options for end-of life is not enough.

Scandale rejects complacency and asks for more. This shifts the focus away from achievements to the necessity for continued progress. Scandale’s founding value is still relevant today.