Breddy's founder Bretschneider: "Clothing industry one of the dirtiest industries in the world

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The Lower Austrian young company Breddy's from Mödling produces crossover pants from the castor oil plant. With his cotton alternative, founder Claus Bretschneider wants to represent an antipole to an otherwise "dirty industry".

Summary from (c) Breddy's - Claus Bretschneider and his wife Manuela provide a sustainable solution for the fashion sector using castor oil plant.

Claus Bretschneider has a clear idea of what sustainable entrepreneurship should look like. He uses Breddy's functional crossover pants, whose production stands for particularly low water consumption and the avoidance of fertilizers, pesticides and genetic engineering. The secret is the castor oil plant.

Only petrochemicals worse

"The garment industry is one of the dirtiest industries in the world, right after petrochemicals," says the founder. And by this he means not least the enormous consumption of resources by cotton.

The popular fibre is now produced in over 80 different countries and covers an area of about 30 million hectares. The plant is also heavily treated with pesticides and insecticides. Water consumption is also high. One kilogram of cotton contains around 11,000 liters of water.

Castor oil plant an ecological star?

„Die Rizinuspflanze ist eine Langwurzel. Das bedeutet, dass sie auf kargen Böden wächst, weniger  Wasser braucht und  insgesamt weniger Ressourcen benötig als die Baumwolle“, so Bretschneider über die Pflanze seiner Wahl.

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Breddy's is taking a completely different approach with castor beans and is relying on a supply chain that is entirely European, from fiber to finished product. "In this way, we ensure that each of our trousers is produced under the highest social and ecological standards. Our idea is to have production close to the consumer markets and to bring production back to the city, using robotics. In this way, we can make a massive contribution to ending the waste of resources in our industry in the future," the founder continued.

Two awards for Breddy's

The start-up has already been awarded the Trigos-Award as "Best CSR-Newcomer" and has also won the international "Brandnew-Award" of the sports fair ISPO, from which companies like GoPro, ON-Running, or Maloja have emerged as winners.

"Social madness"

After criticising the garment industry for its lack of sustainability, waste of resources and, roughly speaking, its ignorance of the SDGs (sustainable development goals of the UNO states), there is a second component, which the entrepreneur calls "social madness".

He says: "For years, production was done in China. Now the industry is going to Bangladesh, Kambosha or Ethiopia. Countries without minimum wage rules. The garment industry has to operate differently."

Green washing in the fashion industry

He takes the industry to task and accuses it of pursuing a large part of the sustainability concept as "green washing". "We, on the other hand. SDGs the opportunity for new structures and a new system to break new ground," continues Bretschneider.

Trouser material obtained from castor oil

This "new way" is the focus of attention for the castor oil plant as a trouser material. The monomer mixtures used for polymerization are obtained entirely from castor oil. Breddy's claims to reduce carbon dioxide in the production of its goods - by seven kilograms per kilogram of yarn. This is accompanied by a CO2 reduction during the dyeing process, as the start-up company states.


Trousers that are cool and functional: "Challenge accepted"

Die Idee zu der ganzen Unternehmung kam dem Gründer bei einer Wanderung mit seiner Frau Manuela. Seine Gefährtin trug damals für den Ausflug eine blaue Jean, die sich als unpraktikabel  herausstellte. Ihre Weigerung eine funktionale Hose zu tragen, führte schlussendlich dazu, dass sie ihren Ehemann herausforderte, er solle ein funktionale Hose erfinden, die auch „cool“ wäre. So entsprang Breddy’s.

"The castor fiber not only protects the water, but also regulates the climate, and it stays fresh," says Bretschneider. "That's why our trousers can be worn in the office, during sports or even on long tours of other continents.

All dealer orders lost

Although the Corona crisis did not affect this branding, it ensured that all dealers cancelled their orders. In contrast, the two shops in Vienna and Mödling were doing well, even if the figures of the previous year could not be reached so far.

"In our online shop, on the other hand, we currently have a 400 percent increase compared to the previous month. Therefore, our goal of generating 2.5 million euros in sales this year is still valid," says Bretschneider.

New product for new customers

The higher price compared to other trousers, from 100 euros upwards, has not been taken up by the founder as a topic in his everyday life. It was not necessary, as he says: "Our customers prefer to buy one high-quality product instead of several every two or three months, which do not meet ecological standards".

The Jeans Threat

His goal therefore remains not only to steer the industry in an ecological direction, but also to replace every tenth "Blue Jean" in the DACH region with Breddy's in the near future. Bretschneider sees a good chance for his start-up when he says: "The market for trousers is gigantic. And the upheaval in the fashion industry is huge."

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