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The footwear industry is not the first one you think about when you talk about the circular economy. However, the Luxembourg startup OUR CHOICE Fashion is offering fully biodegradable and recyclable shoes. Based at the University of Luxembourg Incubator, it plans to repair the trainers it sells thanks to a scrupulously chosen design and materials. Filip Westerlund founded this company in 2019 and he is excited to share with Startup Luxembourg the upcoming launch of its offer.

Filip, tell us about you and how you came upon the idea of launching your startup? 

I’m a Swedish native and psychology graduate with an interest in consumer behaviour and sustainability. I got the idea for OUR CHOICE fashion as broken sneakers made from plastic started to pile up in the wardrobe. I wanted to repair my sneakers but unfortunately, sneakers are made from plastic and plastic is not repairable.  
I did my research and found that 63% of raw materials used in the sector is plastic and that 80% of the 25 billion sneakers that are produced every year ends up in landfills. The CO2 emissions of the worldwide sneaker industry is 350 million tons per year, the same as for the country Italy or the State of California.  
Today, big brands use marketing to gloss over the toxic environmental impact their products and business models have. For example, 89% of ‘eco’ sneakers contain plastics and end up in landfills while the customer pays extra for what they believe are “green” goods.  
What is your concept and business model about? 
The idea for OUR CHOICE fashion is to simply provide a choice of truly sustainable fashion. Our business model is fully circular and so the concept is about only using natural, toxic-free and high-quality raw materials that are both fully biodegradable and fully recyclable. We are a young, fashion-tech startup with our heart set on a circular revolution.  
The fashion items we produce have an optimised lifecycle that consumers can wear for many years to come. Everything is designed and produced in the EU with circularity in mind, meaning that there is no waste in the process and that our carbon footprint is neutral.  
We are a digital native vertical brand focusing on customer experience, which means that we only produce on digital demand. OUR CHOICE fashion is about conscious consumption, it’s about returning to a personal and unique relationship with our fashion items.  
Why would you say Luxembourg is the right place to launch and grow your startup? 
Luxembourg is the ideal place for me to be based in as the ecosystem is really diverse and full of opportunities. I love Luxembourg, it is my home and a great place for business activities. The central location in Europe and the global connections have been a great help right from the start. Growing in Luxembourg means growing through collaboration together with others which makes it just the right place for us. We are here to stay!  
You will be launching your MVP in a few weeks. Can you tell us what is going to happen? What’s next? 
We are launching the World’s First Circular Sneakers. The sneakers are made from 100% pure raw materials and are part of a circular loop. This means that when or if your sneakers break, you can use the same bag that you got them delivered in and send them right back to us. We will then perform an upgrade process, meaning that we resole the sneakers, put a fresh pair of laces in and finish off with a nice new polish.  
We’re thrilled to be launching a circular solution to the unsustainable sneaker industry – we won’t ever have to throw away our sneakers again! Our Kickstarter campaign will go live on November 23rd, but you can already sign up for great deals on our pre-launch page available via our website! 


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