Southampton student launches international search engine for sustainable fashion

A technology and fashion start-up created by three students from the University of Southampton has launched an international platform aimed at the European market.

The Cece project was started by sisters Marcella and Melissa Wijngaarden and their friend Noor Veenhoven, who met while studying in Amsterdam.

The Ethical Fashion Brand is an online platform that combines sustainable products from over 300 fashion online stores and 500 fashion brands on one website. The company aims to make it easy for European shoppers to find sustainable and ethically produced products and to offer a simple alternative to big fast fashion platforms such as H&M, ASOS and Zalando.

Founder Marcella Wijngaarden, 28, said: “My co-founders and I wanted to buy things and clothes in a more ethical way. However, it was so much harder to find ethical alternatives.

“We realized that it shouldn’t be that hard to find sustainable purchases and not everyone has the time to research all these brands and dig into everything else.

“None of us have a fashion background, but everyone buys clothes, including us. We realized that was our problem too and we could do something about it.

“Since the launch of Project Cece, a lot has happened. We started as strangers to the fashion industry, with no idea what we were doing. However, we are quite happy with the path traveled and the evolution of our brand accomplished after much trial and error.

The trio founded and launched the Amsterdam-based platform in the Netherlands in 2017, and it has since expanded to Germany and the UK. Growing demand for sustainable products in Europe has resulted in their biggest international launch to date.

The founders explain their mission: “We want to offer European buyers the ease and accessibility of a large platform, while continuing to buy in a sustainable way and supporting small independent businesses.”

Project Cece does not rely on third-party services and can partner with small and large companies that manufacture ethically and sustainably, resulting in the most curated sustainable fashion products all in one place.

Marcella is completing her doctorate in physics and astronomy at the University of Southampton.

She hopes that one day Project Cece will become a household name for sustainable fashion. She said, “For now, we will be working very hard to establish our brand in Europe, but we hope that one day people all over the world will know what Project Cece is.”

For more information visit: