What It Means To Be An Ethical and Sustainable Brand With Jara Pascual, Founder of CollabWith

What It Means To Be An Ethical and Sustainable Brand With Jara Pascual, Founder of CollabWith

All her life she was in a fast-paced hard working environment, which she shared with us in this interview. You will get to learn how she achieved her goals and her values for sustainable and ethical brands.

What It Means To Be An Ethical and Sustainable Brand With Jara Pascual, Founder of CollabWith



Please tell us a bit about your background as we know it is very interesting!

I always wanted to be an inventor and create something new, but I realized the TV was already invented! I started telecom engineering and was looking for my way to contribute when I joined an elective class called “Science, Technology, and Society” with Prof. José B. Mariño and Prof. Climent Nadeu. I started reading books by Manuel Castells on the impact of technology on society. At that moment, I found my path… technological innovation! But still something was missing: society as part of the ecosystem, but then I learned about the user experience and human-machine interactions with Prof. Raquel Navarro-Prieto. That’s when all the pieces came together for user-centered innovation.  I was working as an innovation manager for adidas when I saw how difficult it is to find professors for research collaboration and how difficult it is to contract with them. At the time, I dreamt of a global database with all academics in one place, and I made up my mind to become an entrepreneur. Four years later, I moved to the Netherlands and started an MBA to prepare myself to run a business. I was thinking deeply about how to streamline the whole supply chain of working with academics and startups. Then, I created  Collabwith, an all-in-one place to find, make requests and contract academics and startups faster, digital and in a standardized way.

Before becoming an entrepreneur I was working several years in the fashion industry in the innovation teams, and one of the main focuses was sustainability. I was in the strategy sustainability team at adidas during 4 years, and for me this was part of who I am, and where I learnt everything about sustainable fashion because at adidas we went to the high levels of sustainability in 360degrees dimensions. It was very inspiring and insightful. 

What do you think about the state of environmental and social awareness with companies globally?

It has improved, but still there are a lot of green washing and copywrite messages that it doesn’t match the reality and the purpose of the brands. I like brands where the sustainable message is embedded in the product, service and communication because they believe in. And it’s very good when they are doing fun while educating and evangelizing about sustainability such Aequem and Whering. 

What is sustainable and ethical fashion to you?

I believe that the fashion industry can bring more to the table. By being sustainable, I am thinking of being social, of being inclusive, of doing good, of using organic materials, of reusing materials before recycling and of thinking with purpose and consciousness of our actions, even the small details have to count (aka, patent efficiency, for instance). It has to go to the next level, all  products 100% organic cotton, 100% recycled and made and printed on demand (zero stock), and every purchased product should support communities and social movements. Garments and products could be unisex per design and designs have the intention and purpose to drive a change in the society with messages embedded in every product. Alongside, production and operations carbon footprint, energy, water and paper consumption has to be tracked and reduced.


If you could change one aspect in supply chains / consumer behaviour, what would it be? The first thing you would change?

At supply chains, I advocate to have more local production, and on-demand production, high-limited stock, and rethink how to be circular and sustainable by design.  At consumer level, there is already a change to purchase with purpose, and this is a very good trend to see. Every brand should create their own social movement for sustainability and inspire communities to follow a new way of living, more sustainable. 

What does collaboration mean to you?

I advocate change to increase academic-industry collaborations, to bring research to life and to share knowledge. This is why I am working for this at European Parliament level. Organizations have to use innovative solutions coming from academia and the startup ecosystem to create all together a positive impact in our industry and society. Also, at Collabwith our message is to bring people together for innovation and entrepreneurship with common sense and emotional intelligence. Together we are stronger, and if we can get the best of everyone to create a better future, this is the main objective of each collaboration. 



How do you think designers, manufacturers and perhaps distributors / retail companies should collaborate for good?

In my opinion, we need to go further. Every time we collaborate with new partners, we should take time and discuss the impact of our collaboration. In the “Collaboration Canvas” there is one box called “impact”, because the “impact” of a collaboration is the “why”, and where we can define benefits for everyone.

  • Financial impact
  • Sustainability impact
  • Society impact
  • Future impact

 This is taking the approach of integrated impact for collaborations where you can discuss the sustainable development goals of your collaboration and the direct impact in your supply chain, customers, industry, etc. This approach will help everyone when starting a collaboration and asking questions to every designer, manager and organization leader who is involved during the design and development phase of a new collaboration. This is a way to shift the conversation.

If you could instate a law with regards to sustainability, what would it be?

It’s silly, but still it has to be recognized by law as recycled material and a circular material that could have more lives than only one use. I would like to see legislation looking at “sustainability by design” and fully embedded in all operations, and indicators of “green factor” in every innovation and research project. Sustainability is a mindset, that could be applicable to technology, AI, operations, data pollution, hardware, materials, textiles, etc. We are still very far away, and a lot of work is needed. We have to take action, and legislation and policy makers have to review old policies to adapt them with a sustainable perspective. 



Did you get a chance to browse Aequem? What brands / products do you like?

A Perfect Nomad

Amadeus (UK)

Veryan (UK)

Sophia Prasiolte Ring In Gold from Amadeus UK

Gabardine jumpsuit in Navy from Veryan (UK) 

How can customers collaborate for sustainability?

Customers are the center of every brand, product, service or collaboration. For this reason, customers should be involved in collaborations with brands when they make decisions, or design new products. Customers are not only there for “market research”, customers are a powerful tool for co-creation and sustainable innovation, it’s very important to set up an ongoing dialogue and a structured framework to collaborate with customers for an overall sustainable future. 

Mantra to live by!

It works, if you work it! And breath!



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P.S. We only stock products that are both socially and environmentally sustainable, so you can shop with complete peace of mind! Our packaging is either recycled and / or recyclable, and we also plant 10 trees with every purchase!






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