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5 Scandinavian brands opting out of today’s shopping hysteria

Haglöfs pre-launches new second hand concept Restored today

In recent years, Haglöfs’ Green Friday initiatives have become well-known for taking a stand against the environmental and social perils of excessive consumption. The company has closed down shops and webstores on the most notorious shopping day of the year, and last year even increased its prices, while giving profits to environmental charities. 

This year is no different with the brand taking the opportunity to promote the option of second hand as the most responsible choice this Black Friday. The sale of new products is restricted by once again closing down its webstore and all of the Haglöfs brand stores apart from the one in Stockholm, which, however, doesn’t sell the regular product line. 

Instead, visitors to the latter will get a chance to try out and purchase the new second-hand collection, Haglöfs Restored, which also gets its digital debut on the company’s Instagram page. For the concept, Haglöfs has partnered up with The Renewal Workshop, a leading provider of circular solutions for apparel and textile brands. Products that still have life in them but would otherwise go to waste are cleaned, repaired, reproofed, and restored to the brand’s standards, before being added to the collection.

The message is simple: if you have to buy something today, take a stand and buy second-hand.

— This new collection is as functional and good-looking as our regular one but has an added environmental benefit. By restoring items which would otherwise be neglected or discarded — and giving them a new lease of life — we’re directly saving on waste, emissions, and water in the manufacturing process, and keeping still-premium materials out of landfill. We’re making the most of what we already have by providing second-hand gear for first-hand adventures, says Fredrik Ohlsson, CEO.

Haglöfs Restored will launch officially in FW21 and is part of a wider program of initiatives aimed at extending the useful life of the brand’s gear, to be presented to the consumer in 2021.

ASKET collaborates with photographer Jonathan Daniel Pryce to celebrate the power of timeless style

For the fourth year running, Swedish menswear brand ASKET will be closing their online store on Black Friday. Instead redirecting customers to their Garment Care Portal and encouraging them to take care of what they already have, rather than buying something new.

They’re also teaming up with award-winning fashion photographer Jonathan Daniel Pryce, who you might know as Garcon Jon, for a photo series. It’s focusing on the timeless essentials from ASKET’s Permanent Collection, to which the brand only adds 3 to 4 new pieces a year, as well as include subtle hints point to failings within the current fashion system.

— I like that ASKET works to restore the simplicity of garments, bringing them back to their very essence; quality, fit, and timeless design — there’s a beauty in that, says Pryce.

— Typically editorial shoots showcase the latest fashion trends and short-lived seasonal pieces, but in collaborating with Jonathan we wanted to challenge that notion, showcasing that fashion fades with the season but true style prevails. We want to inspire people to focus on fewer but quality belongings that they can rely on year in, year out, says August Bard-Bringéus, co-founder.

Organic Basics is lowering the prices for a good cause

The Danish basics brand is one of the leading sustainable-minded Scandinavian brands as of today. Launching today is the Regenerative Cotton Pilot Project, for which Organic Basics has partnered with WWF to give direct support to farmers in Büyük Menderes Basin, Turkey, wanting to make the switch to regenerative cotton.

Since the industrial revolution, Organic Basics shares, the way we produce food and clothing has been damaging our ecosystem, contributing up to a third of global carbon emissions. Deep-tilling and the use of harmful chemicals have turned the soil into useless dirt. To make matters worse, massive areas of land around the world have become barren. And these lands can no longer absorb carbon from our atmosphere.

Implementing regenerative farming practices can promote the growth and protection of healthy soil — and help draw more carbon down from the atmosphere.

For every order made during the brand’s 25% sale until Monday, they will donate €10. This €10 will enable 5m² of cotton fields to be converted to regenerative practices. The goal is to convert 30,000m² of land, to draw down over 800 tonnes of carbon back to where it belongs.

Filippa K highlights their Core Collection

Yes, today is truly a great opportunity to drive a movement of mindful consumption. Take Circular Monday, for an example. Since their beginnings in 1993, Filippa K has valued longevity and strived to create clothing in a — literally — timeless fashion. Their own consumer surveys have proven that it works, revealing that 83% of the pieces purchased by their customers through the past 20 years are still being used on a regular basis.

Instead of taking part in sales during this period, the brand will communicate their Core Collection of permanent pieces — a range that’s always available and never on sale. Each piece is timeless and seasonless, made in classic colours and quality materials. 

Good for the customers, good for the brand, good for the, struggling, retailers. And, needless to say, a better choice for the planet.

Lundhags launches pliking initiative to reduce overconsumption and environmental destruction

This weekend, Lundhags starts the initiative pliking (picking up litter and hiking) as a response to more and more litter ending up in nature.

— Nature and the wilderness are a fantastic source of recreation and recovery and we see how more and more people discover nature in these difficult times. Unfortunately, what we also see is increased wear and littering, which led us to start this initiative, says Caroline Karlström, marketing manager, continuing,

— We start the initiative on Black Friday as a way to ”disrupt” the unsustainable shopping hysteria. We hope to inspire people to go out and enjoy nature instead of shopping and at the same time bring a bag to fill with the litter you find.

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Opinion

”If we enforce transparency as a standard we push the industry towards accountability”

August Bard-Bringéus, co-founder of ASKET, has since the company’s launch in 2015 tried to change our shopping habits. ASKET is the company that wants us to reevaluate our shopping habits, and step by step eventually win the war against fast fashion. According to August, being brutally honest and transparent about your CO2 footprint is one major method to counteract greenwashing in the fashion industry. Therefore, ASKET today launch The Impact Receipt.

What is the Impact Receipt?

— The fashion industry is one of the most resource-intensive industries on the planet and right now we don’t put a price on the environment. So, in launching the Impact Receipt we want to show the true cost of a garment’s production. While a traditional receipt represents proof of a financial transaction, the impact receipt goes far beyond the traditional itemized cash receipt. Instead, it breaks down and shares the true environmental impact of a garment’s creation, including; CO2 emitted, the amount of water required and energy consumed. The aim is to encourage not only ourselves but also our customers, and the industry as a whole, to think about the environmental debt we’re creating. But more than just disclosing information, the Impact Receipt represents an agreement: we’re asking our customers to acknowledge the impact of their purchasing decision and encouraging them to maximize the use of their garments — rather than displacing them with new ones. After all, the single best thing we can do for the planet is to keep and use each garment longer.

”Every decision we make has an impact on the planet. And we’re of course no exception, after all, we are in the business of creating clothes” 

Why is it important to expose your garments’ history?

— For us, this level of transparency (cost, origin and impact) is a tool for driving positive change in the industry. If we fully understand the resources and the craftsmanship that goes into every garment we’re better able to appreciate that piece. There’s a joy in knowing what you’re buying; who made it, its origin, what materials are used, its construction. If we can hold on to that satisfaction in the garments we own, we’ll be free from short term material satisfaction and impulse consumption. Beyond that, only by tracing the journey of our clothes can we better understand the process and recognize the impact it has on people, the planet as well as animal welfare. Once there is a broad scale realisation that the way, and the rate at which we produce clothing, is incompatible with a thriving planet will we start to see change. If we enforce transparency as a standard, not only do we raise awareness of the value and impact of clothing among consumers, we also push the industry towards accountability. 

Do you think transparency is the best weapon in the war against greenwashing?

— The conversation around fashion’s social and environmental impacts are riddled with jargon (climate positive, carbon neutral, carbon negative, conscious… spring to mind), for all their good intentions most of them are supported by vague claims and untraceable statistics. Without transparency, we lack good quality, with it preventing brands from making sound decisions on how to reduce their impact or for consumers to compare against competitors. What’s more, vague definitions of sustainability and opaque working practises allow many companies to make green claims that go unregulated, allowing them to engage in high-profile greenwashing campaigns without any real efforts to improve. This also means that smaller, well-intentioned brands often have their voices drowned out. We hope our new receipt will go some way in sorting fact from fiction and with it set a new gold standard for the industry. 

What concrete changes do you want to see for the fashion industry?

— With fashion under the spotlight more than ever, there has been a lot of discussion on how the industry can do better but our fear is that many of the discussions are not more than mere lip service. The reality is, as long as cheap and fast alternatives are still available it’s too easy for consumers to buy garments that are pitched as cheap fun when in reality the cumulative damage to the planet and individuals in the supply chain is colossal. To counter this, we need legislation to accelerate the conversion towards lower impact business models and more accountability. The tipping point will come when an increase in general consumer awareness coincides with harsher legislation on brand responsibility — at that point, the commercial viability for the old way of doing business, at the expense of people and planet, will evaporate and responsible business will become the only financially sound alternative.

”We can’t tackle all the world’s challenges, but we’re dead set at fixing fashion.”

More and more people are starting to realize how environmentally hazardous their living habits are.  What are you guys doing to reduce your environmental footprint?

— Every decision we make has an impact on the planet. And we’re of course no exception, after all, we are in the business of creating clothes. But rather than talking about sustainability (which as we’ve already mentioned is vast, hazy and difficult to define), we instead use a different word; responsibility. Responsibility is holistic and with that in mind, we approach every single aspect of our business with responsibility, making decisions that we know can transform the way the industry operates.    

— Among the single biggest environmental impacts in the fashion value chain occurs at the raw material stage, with 10 – 20% of fibre production being attributed to the total climate impact of a garment. Fiber selection can also impact how long a garment will last, how it should be washed and whether it can be recycled – all have a considerable impact when it comes to the environment. So earlier this year we outlined a new material matrix that focuses on reducing our environmental footprint; we’ve banned leather, are transitioning to 100% organic cotton and have just sourced pedigree recycled cashmere and wool for our latest fall garments. With materials like these we won’t even need to consider using virgin fibres anymore. 

Do you ever feel eco-anxious or eco-guilt?

— It’s hard not too. Every day we’re confronted with stories of climate change; from the forest fires in California to David Attenborough’s most recent BBC documentary: Extinction (I highly recommend watching it). At the same time, it’s also the fuel that keeps us pushing for change in the industry with ASKET. We’re only 5 years in but our feisty team of 12 work hard to drive industry-changing practises and get them talked about too, so we hope to be making a positive impact. Whenever we’re feeling anxious, it’s important to keep your focus. We can’t tackle all the world’s challenges, but we’re dead set at fixing fashion.

Is it hard to balance both encouragement and discouragement to purchase more ASKET clothes at the same time?

— The single biggest challenge facing the fashion industry is the amount of overproduction and waste, which is fuelled by the current business model of constant renewal. Just to put it into perspective under a business-as-usual scenario, the growth in the material volume of textiles would see a 3-fold increase in the amount of non-renewable inputs, up to 300 million tonnes per year by 2050. And while it might sound paradoxical, for an apparel brand to tell you not to buy clothes, our theory goes that the fashion industry can be just the same in terms of value but at a fraction of the production output, if garments were made under full transparency and accountability. As for ASKET, we don’t want to thrive by growing the size of the industry or growing the number of items that people purchase, rather if we grow, it should be because someone chooses us as a better alternative to something else.