Barcelona’s sustainable shops: Baobab Company Barcelona

We had a talk with Thomas from sustainable fashion store Baobab Company Barcelona about his shop and project, sustainable fashion and the city of Barcelona. Very interesting!

Hi Thomas! Can you tell us a bit about what you do?

We offer collections developed here in Barcelona and made by our family brand from the Mauritian Island. All of our clothes are from our brand, and the accessories are varied. Often from the brand, or made by artisan workshops in Madagascar. Or even some unique objects made in Barcelona, like the personalized umbrellas from the brand Pagua. Our Leitmotiv is sustainable fashion; casual, sportive, colourful, with high quality standards and attractive prices.

Why did you choose this neighbourhood and city to settle the shop?

The Born district has maintained its local “barrio” life, mixing various social classes, while coping with the growing tourism. The ancient quarter and the Born neighbourhood are connected to Barceloneta, the principal way to go to the sea. Barcelona has this historical identity of being very anchored to the sea, the emblematic port of the Mediterranean, cultural, historic and economic capital. All of the things that inspire our brand: a cultural mix coming from the seas, a call to travel and the open sea.

What makes you love this city?

We already live here about 10 years. Barcelona represents for me the ideal of the town where I was born: Marseille – a cosmopolitan, enjoyable city where living together is the foundation – with that of a capital like Paris – public transport, concerts, restaurants, cinema, … Furthermore, I’ve discovered the Catalan culture that really fascinates me and that really makes I imagine myself to stay here as long as I can.

What are some of your favourite neighbourhoods in the city?

Besides Gràcia, a village in the city, without sidewalks, where anarchists, independentists, gypsies, the Catalan bourgeoisie and integrated expats mix around restaurants and terraces of cafés, El Born has this aspect that I also enjoy. Poble Sec also has a very interesting neighbourhood life, resisting the perversions of the mass tourism. Poble Nou has its alternative development, focused on the sea, but also culturally.

Do you have some favourite events in Barcelona?

Difficult to say, since there are so many events here in Barcelona! There is the FestAllada Vermell, which we organize in the beginning of June, with the collective of merchants with the same name. Also the Festas de Gràcia and the one of Sants are definitely among my favourites, for them being open to the big public, with concerts around all corners during a week, it’s quite unique.

What are some of the sustainable projects not to be missed in Barcelona?

I think that Barcelona has ever more alternative offers, like in the neighbourhoods of Santa-Catherina and El Born. It is enough to let oneself be guided by the charm of the city, and by entering in all the small alternative shops, offering something unique. You can let yourself be embarked on all these human adventures, people that have started this challenging journey, even while being faced with giant tourism competitors.

What are some of the tourist traps to be avoided?

For me la Rambla and especially the Porta de Angel represent the worst kind of consumerism. The worst is the concept of coming to Barcelona to shop in an Inditex place like Zara, thinking that it will be cheaper. Where is the authentic side of finding Made in Bangladesh or China, which you’d equally find close to you in any European country? The only attraction is the supposedly low price, while when you look closely, you’ll still spend fortunes.

How is the sustainable fashion scene in Barcelona evolving?

I notice ever more offers of small creators, more and more local confection, from sustainable brands, always in small neighbourhood boutiques. The way of consuming is also improving in our direction.

Which aspects in the sustainable fashion scene still need development?

Hard to say. The offer and the demand still play a big role. And when it comes to the demand, I’m not sure if people are already enough aware. In our case, we offer accessible fashion, which has its style, but open to everyone. One has to become emancipated from the consumerism of big Inditex chains that kill all other projects.

How could Baobab Company Barcelona be even more sustainable?

We do a lot of efforts, with pleasure, to integrate ourselves in the neighbourhood. And we’re having more and more positive responses, and ever more requests of local projects, like the Busquet Rai in the month of July.

Are there any interesting sustainable fashion events in Barcelona?

I have to admit that I’m not very connected to it. We’re quite particular and not associated. Not that it doesn’t interest us, but get-together’s like Biocultura are expensive, or the world of SlowFashion BCN not very accessible. But we’re working on it, and have the intention to participate one day.

How do you see the future for Baobab Company Barcelona and entrepreneurship in the city?

We’re busy developing online sales, and already took some steps in that direction, aiming for a quick start. We’d also like to propose our products to multibrand stores, which we’re also working on. We hope to come to the point of being able to create sustainable workplaces, which would allow us to open up more collaboration possibilities.

Do you think tourists can play an important role for sustainable fashion in the city?

They have an essential role! Because it’s them that make the difference for alternative consumption projects, but it’s not easy. From the start of their arrival, they’re flooded with publicity from shops, from “shopping-shopping”. From the first foot they set in the city, they already lose control of what they want. 

Do you think people are more into sustainability?

I do think so, even though it’s not for the big mass yet. But more and more people stop the low quality consumerism, and take much more into account what their consumption impact is. In our shop we notice it more and more, even for those on a limited budget.

Thanks a lot for sharing your story and for your innovative work!!

For more info about Baobab Company Barcelona, check our review.

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