The project was introduced by means of a short video with polished aesthetics (watch it here). It stages organic waste thrown on the ground and overrun with earthworms. Quite unappetizing, is it not? And yet, this compost helps new flowers bloom. The teaser ends with a woman’s voice pronouncing the following words: ‘the most wanted scent made from the unwanted’: the ugly can become beautiful.
This original idea emerged in the mind of État Libre d’Orange’s perfumer. Founder Étienne de Swardt explains he wanted to ‘design a perfume that would give waste and other residues of the perfume industry a meaning, and tell everyone, faster and louder, that the beautiful and the good can come out from miasma. Our waste still has much meaning to distil.’
As a matter of fact, what should be expected in terms of scent? Étienne de Swardt remains vague. ‘We do not know yet, because we are in the development phase. We will work on perfumery waste, so it is an opportunity to get essences that have never been exploited. What we are sure of is that this perfume is intended for those that want to go against the general trend, those that depart from conventional customs, those that are curious enough to feel like discovering a perfume called I Am Trash, and brave enough to wear it,’ he adds. So, the project is under way, but the result is still uncertain. Again, Étienne de Swardt says he aims ‘to go slowly and give Nature enough time to offer Her best elements and be in line with the concept’s state of mind.’ He also explains that they have not chosen the raw materials yet.
Recycling: a new definition of luxury
Of course, behind this disreputable perfume lies the ambition to commit to sustainable development. Ogilvy Paris and État Libre d’Orange explain they wanted to provide something that disgusting, but useful with a luxury expertise. ‘Waste is usually not perceived as beautiful, but this perfume pays tribute to the beauty of what already used elements can reveal. The extraordinary can rise from scrap,’ asserts Emmanuel Ferry, Managing Director-Head of Branding & Advertising of Ogilvy Paris.
However, it is an ambitious gamble to associate the sensual delight of perfumery with garbage. How can you make consumption patterns change and make people want to use this product? ‘We are deeply convinced that this approach is in line with the current metamorphosis of our society. I Am Trash is aimed to revolutionize the perceptions of waste, so that everyone grows aware of its value. Using perfume is a bold gamble, because from an olfactory standpoint, waste actually tends to be disgusting, but that is what is interesting in this challenge. Beautifying waste in all its forms, so it can mark our generation’s DNA. Today, we are used to getting everything we want instantaneously. Our desires bounce from one craving to the other. Transforming waste to give it a second life is a long process. We wanted to convey this temporal dimension in the way we communicate on our concept. Also, it is a way to take our public on a journey through the design process of this perfume,’ Étienne de Swardt emphasizes.
So, just be patient until you can discover the notes of this most original juice. But one thing is for sure, rubbish has not spoken its last word and actually intends to take its revenge.
And if, at the end of the day, it does not happen in a ‘real’ perfume, at least it will be in the communication operation around it… even if it still does not exist!