Sustainability and innovation come together at Cyclothes, the winning start-up at Fashion Weekend Lab Madrid 17

Once again, Fashion Weekend Lab Madrid brings together creatives, designers, style designers, web developers, professionals and those who are interested in the communications and fashion sector with a single purpose: to create a fashion start-up. The third edition of the event has concluded with nine start-ups and more than 70 participants, with Cyclothes becoming the winning project.

Cyclothes, winner of the first prize at FWL Madrid 2017, is a project which brings together fashion, design and sustainability; creating new products from used garments with the help of the talent of emerging designers. A project of which forms part Juan Pablo Castañeda, a student of the Master of Communication Design Labs.

Fashion Weekend Lab (FWL) is an initiative by the community Unstopp. Three days in which young talents, along with mentors specialising in fashion, design, innovation, marketing, sustainability and business development come together with a single aim: to create successful fashion start-ups.

The event has been sponsored by companies and institutions linked to fashion, entrepreneurship and innovation, so the IED Madrid had to be a part of it, and sponsored the events. The talent of our school was not only to be found among those taking part, as the group of mentors who accompanies the young designers in the development of their projects included the former students Jorge Penadés and the fashion designer Juan Carlos Fernández, a founding member of the successful international brand THE 2ND SKIN CO.


Co-creator of Cyclothes, the winner of the first prize at Fashion Weekend Lab Madrid 2017, and student at the Master of Communication Design Labs 2017 at the IED Madrid.

Please introduce yourself and tell us about yourself, and about Cyclothes.

My name is Juan Pablo Castañeda Arango, and I’m an industrial designer from Medellín (Colombia). My career has involved experience and furniture design, thanks to my job at El Parque Explora —an interactive science museum—, and event management, through my freelance experience.
Cyclothes is the result of a weekend full of learning and hard work. It is a platform on which two problems come together: first, the amount of clothes that people and stores throw away; and, second, the lack of work in the creative sector, fashion in this case. With this project, we offer the newly qualified creative a place where he or she can showcase their products made from the raw materials we obtain from our collection and classification process.

Cyclothes combines design and sustainability, supporting responsible consumption. Where did the idea come from?

The idea came from a teammate, Andrea Martínez, who, along with Sergio Hernández and Estela de Gracia, developed it during the weekend of the event. Cyclothes is a start-up whose main philosophy is economic and environmental sustainability, promoting a circular economy. And a business model based on the rematerialisation of objects, in this case second-hand garments and old stock or sales garments.
Our current plants for Cyclothes consist of absorbing all the ideas and concepts that our mentors and new advisors have for us, so that by the end of the year it is constituted in a legal and functional way. In the near future, we will have visualised some objectives such as the consolidation of the e-commerce and visualisation platform for designers and creatives, the management of raw materials and strategic alliances.
On a personal level, I must begin the process to extend by stay in Madrid so that I can face the challenges and new experiences that Cyclothes has for me.

You have been a member of the winning team in the third edition of Fashion Weekend Lab. What was the experience like? What are the future plans for Cyclothes?

My team, made up of Andrea Martínez, Sergio Hernández and Estela de Gracias, were advised by a pool of mentors who guided us, over the weekend, along a path which happily resulted in the first prize. There are many anecdotes, but they can all be summarised into a stretch of time where we gave the best we have as people and in terms of knowledge, with the aim of presenting a professional-level start-up.

At present you are taking the Master of Communication Design Labs at the IED Madrid. Can you tell us about your experience?

As was pointed out by one of the speakers at FWL, Juan Carlos Fernández (a designer and owner of the firm THE 2ND SKIN CO): "One must always be in the right place, surrounded by the right people, with the right words and thoughts." And for me this is the summary of what has happened this year in personal and professional terms.
The IED, my home in Madrid, has opened the doors and allowed me to direct my gaze in order to develop and evolve. I have surrounded myself mainly by the classmates and I have learnt things from all of them, which has enriched me as a person. The IED offers the best human capital to make everything work as smoothly as possible. There is still a long way to go, and I think this is the first step toward the great things in my future which will obviously go hand in hand with the school.


Photo credits: FWL x Alvaro Sancha

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