As one of the most controversial World Cups in Qatar’s history approaches, the French clothing brand responsible ECCLO unveils his boycott campaign. The founder, Rémy Renard, explains his approach through 3 actions: a dedicated capsule collection, the publication of whistleblower articles and a committed video clip.
The capsule collection is an integral part of the “Boycott Qatar” operation that we started at ECCLO last March. Since we are a ready-to-wear brand, it was logical to release a dedicated clothing line, but that was not the main objective. This action came later. Moreover, there is no profit from the sale of this collection since the few copies produced are sold at the cost of their manufacture.
In addition to this collection, we collaborate with several artists who also feel concerned by the cause. We called on these personalities to challenge their communities, but not in a moralizing way.
Is it from there that then came the idea of the clip?
The idea of the clip was above all to convey a message; so that the boycotters do not feel alone. I wrote the screenplay in March-April and I was like: “It’s strange, we are six months away from the World Cup and we are still not talking about a boycott” . I wanted to make a video where we saw the first concerned, the young football fans, while bringing a little touch of optimism in turning our backs on the competition.
Since Cantona spoke two months ago, and the many debates in the media, we finally realize that there are a lot of people who want to boycott. Me, I can’t wait to see in terms of numbers what it does.
The fact that the main character of the clip ends up in the city playing football with his friends, rather than in front of the Blues match, is this a message calling for reclaiming football in a certain way?
We wondered at one point if it was strong enough that they just ended up playing football, but for me that’s the main message. We found it coherent, playing football is one of the solutions among many others. You can just take the opportunity to do something else like a movie, go to the theater, go out with your friends.
I’m a football fan, even if I’ve lost a lot of interest compared to everything that’s going on around. The football business has taken power over many things. We even made a dedicated article about it: “the milestones of corruption”. We were also asked: “What other solution do you bring during the boycott? » . Let’s reclaim this game and have fun. Me, I do not see it at all as a heartbreaker, I know that I will not have any difficulty in boycotting.
“I was happy that Cantona took a stand. I wanted to place this little wink in the video. For me, he is the one who embodies the rebellious side of my generation. I liked his character, the fact that he was out of the system, and I wanted to pay tribute to this kind of thing that you don’t see at all on the pitch anymore. »
You were talking about Cantona and you refer to it in the clip. How important were the speeches of former players like him or Lahm for example?
I was happy that Cantona took a stand and suddenly yes, I wanted to place this little wink but without overdoing it. For me, he is the one who most embodies the rebellious side of my generation. When he was not selected for Euro 96, it almost made me cry. I watched ‘Sunday Shift’ to see Manchester’s result and if he had planted a goal or done something crazy. I liked his character, the fact that he was out of the system, and I wanted to pay tribute to this kind of thing that you don’t see at all on the pitch anymore. Today, we must not make waves, everything is stereotyped and I find that the personalities in football are quite bland.
In your opinion, why so few players do not comment on the organization of this World Cup?
I really expected that there would be a few who take a stand, even a player from a modest team who says: “Finally, I decided not to go to Qatar” . Maybe what happens in the national teams and in the clubs is beyond us, there is a lot of control. It’s sad. It is sad. How many are really aware of what is happening in Qatar? How come a whole team doesn’t talk about it or act like nothing happened? Humanly speaking, I am sad for these players: one of the conditions for their development is ignorance.
“We want to make clothes with a minimum of environmental impact, and above all we want to support the few French factories that have survived relocations. From the beginning, these are our two fights. »
To come back to the brand, you are very committed to issues related to the environment. We imagine that the ecological disaster announced in Qatar played a big role in your choice to launch this campaign?
We want to make clothes with a minimum of environmental impact, and above all we want to support the few French factories that have survived relocations. From the beginning, these are our two fights. One of the problems of the textile industry is overproduction and modern slavery.
The problems related to the working conditions of migrants in Qatar, all these human aberrations, really resonated with us. It’s linked to our fight, and we’ve been fighting against this drift since the launch of the brand four years ago. Our second article speaks precisely of these violations of human rights. It is also one of the objectives that we have set ourselves, to have a societal impact that is respectful towards workers.
From an ecological point of view, the goal of ECCLO was to find how to produce clothes with the minimum possible environmental impact. The ecological disaster just for the construction of stadiums in Qatar is an aberration. We denounce this madness of megastructures and all other projects in the last article. I don’t understand that in 2022, a competition is awarded to a country that does not already have the infrastructure.
How can the fashion world take a general position on societal issues?
I think any entity, in fashion or otherwise, has this freedom to be able to take a stand on matters. To speak only of ECCLO, we consulted each other, and we asked the question to people who know us in the fashion world and they told us: “Yes, it echoes the values you defend” . Do we have the legitimacy to position ourselves in relation to the World Cup in Qatar and to invite a boycott? We feel entitled to do so, and among people who have seen the clip, the feedback is very positive. The negative ones tend to come from people who don’t believe the boycott will work because it’s too late. For me, this argument is not admissible. Our best weapon, as citizens, is the boycott. We couldn’t have done anything before to prevent this World Cup from taking place, it’s when the event happens that we have to mobilize and say that we don’t agree. That’s why I think the boycott is very strong. If many of us boycott, I really think that will have an impact on the next allocations.