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“We Need a Massive Kick up the Arse” Christina Dean

Sustain + Ability. The Great Opportunity Profit Without Greed. Ecology Needs a Healthy Market Economy Can Blue Be Green? Denim Prepares for the Future

€ 15.00


Action Welcome to these lines. So, everyone’s green all of a sudden? A huge surge of sustainability is flooding through the fashion industry. One might even go as far as calling it a sustainability tsunami. “Going green” is, however, not always a matter close to the heart of certain companies. More often than not, the sustainability trend serves pure marketing interests. “We are proud that 80 percent of our wet processing machines have been tested to ensure proper chemical use. Our goal is to achieve 100 percent by 2021,” says the sustainability brochure of one fashion supplier. That’s but one example. What are we waiting for then? Send the stuff over – preferably 12 collections per year with a 100 percent take-back guarantee. Oh, and a t-shirt with some kind of sustainability slogan would also be great. Could we have that as a special item for 19.99? Oh fashion industry, how you have to purge yourself! In the segment in which style in progress operates, this indulgence may seem particularly harsh. After all, style in progress writes about and talks to the last bastions of value-oriented fashion. Retailers who won’t allow themselves to be seduced by the fast money promised by fast fashion. Brands that have always manufactured their products with a clear conscience. Even they cannot escape the consumer’s desire for more sustainability. At the end of the day, it’s all about restoring the fun factor that fashion once had. Fashion that can be enjoyed without regret, without abstention. “There is not one solution that says: ‘Thou shalt not shop.’ That is just not going to happen,” argues Christina Dean, our cover interview partner, in a conversation with Stephan Huber. Admit it, you just breathed a sigh of relief! Exactly this sigh of relief, the happiness we feel when what we buy is not cheap, environmentally harmful rubbish, is the new charm of shopping. Yes, we buy to redeem our souls. Yes, we consume to soothe our consciences. But we can provide answers, even to an angry Greta Thunberg who justifiably asks us: “How dare you?” “We dare because we care.” Compiling an entire magazine full of such examples felt like both hell and heaven for our editors. An ambivalence that dealing with sustainability will hopefully soon shake off. It’s in your hands. Each order decision can contribute to making the fashion industry less dirty. Use your power wisely! Enjoy your read! Your style in progress team

Cover photo: Redress


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038 style in progress

002 EDITORIAL Action


032 “We Shouldn’t Have to Be the Sustainability Police” Christina Dean is an activist. Her declared enemies are overproduction and textile waste.


038 SUSTAIN + ABILITY 040 Best of Evil This is no (dirty) joke: the depressing reality of the fashion industry in numbers. 042 The Great Opportunity Why we should be grateful for Greta Thunberg – an opinion piece by Stephan Huber. 044 “Sustainability Without Profits Isn’t Sustainable” Important questions, intelligent answers – a salon dialogue about sustainability. 004

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053 How Green is Blue? Denim experts provide answers. 056 Long Live Jeans! A radical change in denim production is smart – not only for the environment. 058 The Future in Blue The new maxim in jeans production is: less.



065 The Perfect Cycle Large-scale textile recycling is still a utopia; this needs to change. 068 The Notion of the Green Store A compilation of particularly innovative green stores. 078 Green or Greenwashed? We take a closer look at sustainability myths. 082 Unlimited Potential The pioneers who strive to raise the dismal 1 percent recycling quota in fashion. 085 Want It Labels that impress with recycling/upcycling.






087 Is Sustainability a Must? Will luxury survive without a green conscience? We asked around. 089 It’s the Salary, Stupid! Poverty eradication also protects children, says author Georg Wimmer. 090 Sustainability is an Attitude Companies can be managed sustainably – not just for PR purposes. 093 “I’m Looking for Uncompromising Quality” Stefan Brandt is obsessed with quality, which also implies environmental protection. 094 (No) Stitch in the Sustainable Side Knitwear adds another dimension to sustainability: animal welfare. 100 “Seals Often Ask the Wrong Questions” The Fashion Changers take the “Grüner Knopf” to task. 101 Where’s the Beacon? Fashion retailers are pioneers. How the new awareness manifests itself at the POS.

102 Female Future The Nim Standard is enjoying success with its women’s collection. 103 “We Don’t Want to Leave Anything to Chance Anymore” Better Rich is on course for more brand awareness.


108 Northern Lights The best comes from the north.


115 Imperfect Store. Mit Ecken und Kanten/Nuremberg 116 Premium Neighbourhood Fashion. Ingrid Dörr/Heilbronn 118 The Whisperer. Daniel Thiel/Wiesbaden 119 Live Better, Dress Better. Gehmacher/Salzburg 120 Small Area – Grand Appearance. Loyale. Fair/Stuttgart 121 News from the West. Voo West/Berlin 122 Emancipating Men. Jades Men/Düsseldorf 124 Everything Turned Upside Down. Stulz/Waldshut-Tiengen 126 Reload. Stereo MUC/Munich 127 The Space Opens. Phänomen Fashion Luxury Loft/Lucerne


Who? What? When? How? Where? And Most Importantly: Why?

128 ABOUT US 006

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It’s a courageous step. But who’s willing to follow? style in progress has collected reactions to the newly structured trade show landscape in Berlin. Text: Stefanie Buchacher, Martina Müllner-Seybold, Kay Alexander Plonka, Nicoletta Schaper. Photo: finecki -

“The German fashion industry needs a major fashion fair of international relevance. Berlin-Tempelhof is perfect for pooling resources, because the attractive location with plenty of creative potential will enchant both exhibitors and visitors.” Marco Lanowy, Managing Director of Alberto

“We don’t travel to Berlin anymore, mainly because it’s too commercial for us. Berlin has lost its creative approach. Exchange and dialogue are crucial. We do this at the Pitti, in Düsseldorf, at the Tranoi, and the White. That’s why I don’t necessarily see the need for trade shows in Berlin.” Marina Bayat-Rogger, Managing Director of Phänomen Women

“It’s such a shame that Berlin failed to set the tone after Müller’s Bread & Butter. We believe that the location is merely of domestic relevance. That’s why we said farewell and are now focusing all our trade fair efforts on Florence!” Michi Klemera, Founder of Luis Trenker

“It’s great that the Panorama and the Selvedge Run have realised that presentation formats need to change, even if Tempelhof comes with a high mortgage. Trade fairs are our most important communication tool and the Premium is the most relevant event for Central Europe. Our customers are much more positive about Berlin than they used to be.” Marco Götz, Owner of Drykorn

“Berlin remains important to us as the German fashion capital. We leverage the fashion show as an image event to present the collection to customers and the press. In addition to our customers from the DACH region, we would also like to present ourselves to a more international audience.” Frank Rheinboldt, Managing Director Sales Marketing & Design at Marc Cain

“Tempelhof is an excellent choice. First of all, it’s hard to beat its coolness factor. Secondly, everyone still remembers the spirit of the Bread & Butter. If the Premium came to Tempelhof too, there wouldn’t be a reason for European retailers not to come to Berlin.” Jens Bastian, CSO/CMO of Tam Fashion

“Trade fairs are important, so one shouldn’t talk them down. What Berlin’s trade shows lack, however, are experience zones or pleasure zones. They require alternative ideas. We work in a cool industry, we have desirable products! Conveying that is what’s missing ever since the BBB ceased to exist.” André Berger, Managing Director of Handstich

“What’s happening in Berlin right now isn’t up-to-date: the confusion in pricing, the atmosphere in general. After the last trade fair, I decided not to attend anymore, not least for sustainability reasons. Instead, I see great potential in B2B platforms like Joor. New media channels allow a completely different order process.” Valentino de Luca, Lucky de Luca and Barb’one 008

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“The relocation of the Panorama and the Neonyt is a positive signal. The site is emotionally charged and offers plenty of opportunities for side events. However, smaller exhibitors fear higher costs for participation and stand construction.” Ute Naumann, Spice Agency Munich




The market as a whole, and trade fairs in particular, are in a state of flux. style in progress sat down with Anita Tillmann, the Managing Director of Premium Group, to talk about digital formats, customer traffic, and sustainability. Interview: Kay Alexander Plonka. Photo: Boris Kralj


s a result of a strategic partnership with US wholesale network Joor, the Premium Group now also has a digital platform in its portfolio. What advantages does this offer to visitors and exhibitors from Europe? Joor is our digital counterpart who allows us to jointly drive the market forward, thus enabling brands and buyers from within our network to enter the US market more easily. We are aware that a brand identity can only be conveyed, understood, and subsequently implemented by the retail trade from a face-to-face perspective. Joor optimises order processes. It also saves time and money. Key looks from the trade fair can be mirrored one-to-one by the online platform. Almost all major international agents use the platform, which affords our exhibitors the opportunity to tap into new markets. Global networks – both online and offline – have never been more important than during the ongoing market transformation. How can Berlin, as a trade fair location, reclaim appeal to national and international buyers after experiencing a decline in visitor traffic? Generally speaking, this is not a typical Berlin problem… quite the opposite. Two examples illustrate the declining visitor frequency quite well. Firstly, the sales volume is now divided among fewer retail players overall. The average order volume of online retailers such as Zalando or Net-A-Porter is many times higher than what could previously be generated with a number of individual boutiques and stores. Secondly, the department stores’ buying units travel in much smaller teams to save costs. In addition, Berlin cannot compete with other European trade fair locations as long as the latter receive seven-digit subsidies from the public sector each season. The appeal can only be increased by our offers and the brand portfolio. As a trade fair organiser, we invest very large budgets in buyer management every year. To this end, we employ a team that maintains, develops, and strengthens personal contacts with buyers. It also analyses markets, evaluates product ranges, and visits stores. We also rely on the assistance of the exhibitors. They need to actively invite every desired and existing customer. It is difficult to understand why many retailers don’t bring their sales staff to trade shows, or no longer do so. How does one convey brand stories on the sales floor if one doesn’t get a chance to experience it first hand? How should one be able to talk about the people behind the fashion? Season after season, both brands and trade fairs put in so much effort. We regret very much that retailers aren’t seizing the opportunity to train and motivate their staff on a large scale. Sustainability awareness has skyrocketed. Everyone has a sustainability concept – from Primark to Prada. How should responsible handling of people and resources look like if the sustainability topic is taken seriously? Everyone can do something to influence our immediate environment positively: from abandoning plastic packaging to travel planning. The state of affairs is frightening. It’s five past twelve. Anyone who is objectively informed must act as best they can. The call for a responsible and sustainable future, which is uttered the loudest by young people, benefits

Experiencing brands live, exchanging ideas, and networking: Premium founder Anita Tillmann perceives the role of a trade fair more differentiated today.

us all. FFF is the largest youth movement since the late 1960s. We have been attempting to avoid the use of plastic for the last few seasons. Only sustainable decorative elements are used. In addition, we offer exhibitors the opportunity to store their stands until the next season. It may cause additional costs for us, but the stands can be reused. We strive to lead by example in everyday life – both in our office and at trade fairs. It all started in 2007 with a Green Area, where we organised symposia and think tanks with guests such as Kathrin Hamnett, Adriano Goldschmid, Francois Girbaud, and the politician Renate Künast. Under the patronage of Pharell Williams, we organised a big forum event in collaboration with Parley for the Oceans in 2013. Bionic Yarn was introduced during the event and then subsequently used by G-Star and Adidas. Under the motto “1+1=11”, we now not only connect brands and retailers, but also brands among each other. We promote exchange to ensure that large and small brands remain capable of acting on topics such as infrastructure, contacts, and know-how. Alongside the new brands, we showcase many well-known names such as Gant and Liu Jo. They have also showed the courage to take a step towards sustainability and realigning themselves by changing parts of their respective structures – or even overhauling them completely. We hope to persuade more brands to move in this direction. That’s why it’s so important for us to offer plenty of content on this topic during the three days of the fair. The Premium will continue to host think tanks. Last season, brands like Ecoalf, Boyish Jeans, and Armedangels discussed current topics. At the Seek, we now have more than 80 brands that successfully address the topic of sustainability. And the number is rising… style in progress





The Panorama and the Selvedge Run take place from the 14th to 16th of January 2020 in hangars 5 and 6 of Berlin’s decommissioned Tempelhof Airport – at the same time as the Neonyt Global Hub for Fashion Sustainability & Innovation. style in progress talked with CEO Jörg Wichmann about the Panorama’s future prospects at the new location. Interview: Kay Alexander Plonka. Photo: Panorama


he motto of the first Panorama at Tempelhof is “Rebel with a Cause”. The aim is to question the conventional trade fair format. What will trade fairs look like in the future? Retailers need to surprise customers in order to persuade them to vacate their sofas and visit stores. In times of excess stock, attitude and values count more than ever. These values must be communicated. The retail trade needs to understand consumers and their needs. There are many excellent examples out there. We also perceive ourselves as hosts and our exhibitors are required to act like co-hosts. The aim is to surprise visitors with innovative staging, as well as to illustrate the trends and topics relevant for the energy and dynamism of the market. Instead of being a platform for order limit negotiations, we strive to whet the appetite for new business and motivate retailers to come to Berlin. How can Berlin reclaim its appeal to national and international buyers? When we started in 2013, there were more than 25,000 multi-brand stores. Today, there are about 16,000 such stores. Our visitor numbers have increased against the trend. It’s crucial to ensure that visiting a trade fair results in an inspirational experience that can be transferred to the POS. Collections can be viewed in a PDF or a showroom. We strive to contribute to the development of new formats. One example is the Brand Village, which is scheduled to take place under the roof of the open airfield. It’s an agile and mobile format that could evolve into a road show in collaboration with brands and retailers. Such “action days” in various cities could satisfy the desire for pop-up culture and events. What is the basis for your claim that 50 percent of the brands represented in today’s stationary retailers will no longer exist in 10 years? What should brands and multi-label stores do in order to survive? If you look back on the last 10 years and see who is no longer on the market today, one gets a rough idea of how sales channels are realigning and which brands continue to lose relevance. At the same time, an increasing number of vertical suppliers have established themselves and spread to the high streets. The shelf-life cycles of products have decreased dramatically and more new retail formats will emerge. A lot needs to change on the floors to ensure that customers continue to receive orientation. It is not enough to understand how a customer, who was young back in 1980, is socialised today. This requires incentives, honest topics, real products, and deceleration. What it doesn’t need is even more soulless


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For Jörg Wichmann, the move to Tempelhof is merely one puzzle piece in the reorientation of the Panorama Berlin. “A lot needs to change on the floors to ensure that customers continue to receive orientation,” says the CEO of Panorama Berlin about the changes in the retail trade.

and cheap goods that are subsequently thrown onto the market via even more spectacular discounts. You argue that “standstill is regression” and that “business as usual” no longer works. Why then has the Premium decided to relocate to Tempelhof, where the BBB celebrated its return from Barcelona in 2009 and ultimately disappeared from the scene in 2014? Tempelhof is the ideal location for a fashion fair. The former airport is associated with positive emotions. Both the industry and the retail trade confirmed this in many personal conversations. The aim is to create an environment and a context that allows the Panorama’s reorientation to result in an innovative and relevant format that will lead the industry into the new decade.




Opinion Piece


Hangar 4 at Berlin’s disused Tempelhof Airport has been chosen as the new venue of Neonyt, a trade fair for fashion, sustainability, and innovation that takes place from the 14th to 16th of January 2020 – simultaneously with the Panorama and the Selvedge Run. style in progress spoke with Thimo Schwenzfeier, the Show Director of Neonyt & Director Marketing Communications of Messe Frankfurt, about new opportunities for Berlin as a trade fair location.

A few comments on the current (actually eternal) debate about the significance and legitimacy of fashion fairs in general, as well as Berlin as a location in particular. By Stephan Huber.


Interview: Kay Alexander Plonka. Photo: Messe Frankfurt


hat are the new opportunities that arise from the move to Tempelhof? First and foremost, we have secured one of the coolest and most sought-after locations in Berlin – a venue with one level only. At “Kraftwerk”, we made use of all three levels and still reached capacity limits. Besides, the pillars at “Kraftwerk” were always a little irritating for us, which is no longer an issue now. All labels can showcase their products on a single plane with free lines of sight. Of course, we expect the close vicinity to the Panorama and the Selvedge Run to result in a certain advantage in terms of visitor attraction. It was often said that retailers avoided Berlin because of the long distances. This excuse is no longer valid. After Frankfurt, Berlin, and New York, Messe Frankfurt is pushing ahead with the internationalisation of the Fashionsustain Conference of Neonyt with two further events in Los Angeles and Shanghai. How does Berlin profit from this? Berlin is the nucleus for the Neonyt and the Fashionsustain, but international relations are very helpful in establishing topics and attracting new cooperation partners from abroad. In January, for example, we will start working with a large international foundation that is not only highly interested in Berlin, but also in Asia. Moreover, we can offer our labels and partners from Berlin access to international markets. It’s also quite exciting that the international editions of the Fashionsustain always raise the question of Berlin’s status quo. On an international level, the Berlin Fashion Week is perceived much more positively and progressively than in Germany. How can Berlin, as a trade fair location with arguably the most sustainable exhibitors worldwide, exert even more appeal to international buyers and the press in the future? From a national perspective, we should finally confidently demonstrate how relevant Berlin is in terms of topics and content. Yes, there are conceptual points of criticism, but in terms of business, topics, and contacts there are very few international locations that can match Berlin – especially where sustainability is concerned. This closing of ranks involves all parties: trade show organisers, exhibitors, and visitors, as well as local/national politicians and the media. I don’t think anyone wants to imagine what Berlin would be like without the Fashion Week. On an international level, things are moving in a similar direction. Our relevance, especially in terms of sustainability and technology or digitisation, must be emphasised. No other location in the world offers this wealth of information, products, and concepts. This also requires coordinated and politically supported international visitor marketing. Even locations such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam are ahead of us in this respect.


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Neonyt expects synergy effects from Tempelhof. With the internationalisation of the Fashionsustain conference format, the trade show creates international contacts for its exhibitors.

Trade fairs were and are the reflection of an industry. Thus, they are also a reflection of the mood, vitality, and dynamism of an industry. In a phase of radical change, when many market participants are still struggling to find the right way to deal with this change, trade fairs also reflect exactly this. The context is actually highly exciting and instructive. But it requires a different approach…


Perhaps we need to think about whether it is still appropriate to burden exhibitors, i.e. the industry, with virtually the entire costs for a shared platform to which everyone should contribute, but from which everyone should benefit too.


Action is always better than reaction. The past is the past…


The location factor Berlin has transformed completely. Where everyone once thought they could sense the feverish, young pulse of a new era, most people now merely see an eternal (political) construction site. That may not be fair, but it’s deeply human.


I know I am repeating myself: new talent, trainees, youngsters… bring them along and let them explore. Let them learn and learn from them.


The classic fashion fair is as dead as Monty Python’s parrot. The future lies in interdisciplinary, hybrid platforms. We should all contribute to that future.



Marc O’Polo

Green Christmas Swedish label Marc O’Polo has been working with natural fibres since its foundation. Now the brand has expanded its organic cotton range for women and men. “With the decision to significantly expand modern organic products across different product groups, we strive to further promote our sustainable agenda,” says Susanne Schwenger, the CPO of Marc O’Polo, about the motives. A measure that has also been met with approval by the brand’s partners. “As of the conclusion of fall/winter 2019, we were able to almost triple our production volume of organic cotton in comparison to the mirror season.” Green is also the motto of this year’s Christmas campaign. Instead of taking from nature, Marc O’Polo wants to give back. For each item of the X-Mas Collection sold until the end of December, the brand and have promised to plant a tree. More than 60,000 articles have already been sold in the pre-order phase, the target being 100,000 trees. www.marc-o-polo-com

Let love grow! Marc O’Polo celebrates Christmas by planting trees. The brand is expanding its organic cotton range significantly.

Lightning Bolt

Act Local Will it be essential for fashion brands to act sustainably in the future? Sandra Gonçalves, CEO of Lightning Bolt: What we do today, we do for tomorrow. There’s no other way. We believe that our efforts will create a world that will ensure the survival of future generations. What does this mean for Lightning Bolt? Since its founding in 1971, Lightning Bolt has stood for environmentally conscious messages such as “Keep this land beautiful” and “Rip the waves, not the beaches”. These messages are not intended to be mere empty phrases. We are indeed very keen to minimise our ecological footprint. This means that we manufacture our premium products for conscious consumers in Portugal, thus avoiding long distance transportation. “Made in Portugal” is a hallmark of quality, as well as a guarantee that the respective products have been produced in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. As a member of TMG Group, we are among the leading textile companies certified to international standards in terms of quality processes and management systems – including Öko-Tex. We are now launching a new collection made of organic cotton and recycled polyester. The organic cotton is produced and certified to biological standards that maintain the health of soils, ecosystems, and humans. The standards also prohibit the use of toxic chemicals and genetically modified organisms. The polyester originates from certified “upcycled marine plastic”, i.e. plastic waste reclaimed from the oceans. It is of particular importance to us to keep our oceans and beaches clean.


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Sustainable work processes and environmentally friendly production are among Lightning Bolt’s business priorities.


Daniel Thiel Wiesbaden x Magnwall

Visual Merchandise

Daniel Thiel, a Wiesbaden-based fashion retailer, and Magnwall, a German start-up, have joined forces to provide new stimuli for the POS. During the season opening in September, Magnwall’s electrified display system caused a sensation. The key feature of this system is that it is wireless, meaning it can be positioned more freely in a store or shop window. “Videos and moving images often fail in stores, mainly because it’s very complicated to install screens or position them in ever-changing locations. That’s why Magnwall’s system convinced me,” says Daniel Thiel. “I observe that customers stay longer. They are interested in what we show on the Magnwalls.”

Magnwall is a start-up that specialises in electrified displays that don’t require cables, grids, or batteries. Daniel Thiel in Wiesbaden shows how they can be utilised by fashion retailers.

Clear lines and high-quality materials distinguish the sustainable contemporary collection of True Standard.

Blauer USA

Uncompromising and Sustainable True Standard

Respect for People and Nature True Standard, a Bamberg-based fashion label, was launched in January 2019 by Bernd Keller, a former board member of Marc O’Polo and Creative Director at Hugo Boss, Puma, and Adidas. “We are doing what we can to take responsibility for our planet. Fair, innovative, and timeless fashion is what we strive for. Each item is developed sustainably: vegan, recycled, organic, or locally produced.” The label’s carefully selected manufacturing partners operate in Germany, Italy, and Turkey. Prices range from 69 Euros for t-shirts to 179 Euros and upward for dresses and knitwear. Prices for blazers and coats start at 299 Euros. Retailers were first invited to order late August. From February 2020, the collection will be officially available at specialised stationary retailers. True Agents, an agency only recently launched by Wolfgang Paulisch and André Salzmann, is the official distribution partner.

This jacket by Blauer is made of Repreve, a recycled and patented fabric based exclusively on foodgrade plastic. This rules out the pollutant bisphenol.

What does sustainability mean for you personally and Blauer USA? Enzo Fusco, Managing Director & Founder of FGF Industry: Sustainability brings us up-to-date; it is more topical than ever. Our customers are becoming increasingly aware of the topic and are committed to protecting the environment. We want to follow suit. If the future requires us to save the world, we are fully aware of our responsibility. How do you put this into practice? The use of sustainable materials is the first step towards sustainable production. We introduced a fabric made of plastic bottles, eco down, and nylon three years ago. In the near future, we will use recycled cotton and cashmere in our collections. In all these endeavours we adhere to our motto of being uncompromising in terms of quality. Our clothing must be durable, of excellent quality, and technically perfect.

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Munich Fabric Start’s strategic orientation and exhibitor portfolio are already up to date in terms of sustainability. Managing Director Sebastian Klinder gives an insight into the status quo.

Munich Fabric Start

Clean Future

How and to what extent does the Munich Fabric Start address the topic of sustainability? Sebastian Klinder, Managing Director of Munich Fabric Start: We started addressing the topic of sustainability very early on. We created the “Keyhouse” as an exclusive and very special platform for future topics. With “Sustainable Innovations” we now offer an area that informs and emotionalises. It shows a broad spectrum of different opinions and mindsets. The ”ReSource” area, which has been expanded once more, provides a qualified overview of the market with more than 600 licensed fabrics and ingredients, as well as packaging solutions. They all come with manufacturer references. All presented articles are available year-round via our sourcing platform. In addition, technology and digitisation, which simplify production processes and provide alternative solutions to problems, are indispensable in this context. The HighTex Award is all about intelligent process solutions, biotech, digitisation, and sustainable innovations. Which particularly sustainable highlights were honoured this year and why? The HighTex Award is part of the integrated conceptual approach of the Munich Fabric Start. This innovation award offers recognition for outstanding achievements and motivation for innovative process solutions. It is a sustainable contribution to a clean future and a conscious use of resources thanks to the innovative use of materials. RDD Textiles of Portugal won the award for a double-sided jersey fabric that features a new bonding technique based on an environmentally conscious mechanical process without additional adhesives. The second place went to M.T.T. Spa Manifattura Tessili of Italy for a wool quality with 14% polyamide content. A graphic PU print in a technically aesthetic vinyl look ensures a high degree of fashion Third place went to Brugnoli of Italy for a highly functional three-layered soft shell quality using bio-based polyamide and extra fine merino wool. Which concrete action does the Munich Fabric Start take in terms of sustainability? We have been investing in high-quality, durable exhibition stand construction systems for many years. A large part of the electricity we require is generated by solar panels on the roof of the event location. Almost the entire exhibition complex is equipped with LED lights. The carpets are cleaned and recycled after the trade show. In order to protect the flooring from dirt, we use very thin, paper-based protective foils. At the trend forums, we work with recyclable wood wherever possible. We always use acrylic paints without solvents. In the catering area, we pay attention to sourcing regional produce and recyclable glass bottles. The visitor and exhibitor badges are biodegradable. Our closely scheduled shuttle services reduce the number of individual arrivals. View Premium Selection, 3rd and 4th of December 2019,


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Edler Strick aus der Dornbirner Strickmanufaktur seit 1973




#Fashiontech BERLIN

New Stimuli

New Location

The Seek is in the process of being realigned and has a new brand core. “The Seek is the trade show event for the fashion community that leads the way, inspires sales, and touches the new generation of decision-makers,” says Anita Tillmann, the Managing Partner of Premium Group. “The more digital the world becomes, the more crucial the face-toface touchpoint becomes. Trade fairs are more important than ever. Our goal is for every exhibitor and visitor to be faced with the right topics. They should make relevant contacts and leave with new ideas.” Like at the Premium, the focus is on three main topics: Sustainable/ Responsible Future, Digitisation of the Fashion Industry, and Retail Experience. Tillmann explains: “Relevant brands do everything they can to maintain and rebuild customer loyalty. They constantly question and redefine themselves within their possibilities and their world. Successful brands are characterised by commitment, the ability to surprise, and the willingness to connect with all parties involved. They must inspire, shatter old structures, and deliver new products and concepts. The same applies to the Seek and the Premium, of course. As B2B brands, we face the same challenges and bear responsibility for our exhibitors and visitors. Three seasons ago, the Premium was extensively redesigned and further developed. It wasn’t easy, but successful. The Seek and the Premium are the most important business platforms for the fashion ecosystem in Europe. This is where long-term partnerships are forged and new stimuli are set.”

In order to facilitate the visit for all participants, the #Fashiontech has relocated to the immediate vicinity of the Premium at “Station Berlin”, thus consolidating two formats at one location. The masterclasses and exhibition floors present various e-commerce and retail solutions in partnership with the likes of Telekom Fashion Fusion, About You Cloud, Mode Handel Tracker, and DHL. The list of speakers is prominent. “We have commitments from speakers such as Andrea Baldo, the CEO of Ganni, Markus Reckling, the CEO of DHL, and Matthias Nebus, the co-founder of MyBudapester. The latter only recently launched its first sneaker in collaboration with Hikmet Sugoer of Sondra. This season everything revolves around new collaborations once more. Visitors can draw inspiration from trends and best cases, try out the latest technologies, and – last but not least – do excellent business,” explains Anita Tillmann, the Managing Partner of Premium Group. Within the framework of #Fashiontech Berlin, there are further talks on topics such as brand building, social media, and gaming during the Seek at Kreuzberg’s “Arena”. These are specifically tailored to the respective target groups. Admission is free for both exhibitors and buyers.

The #Fashiontech Berlin is moving close to the Premium.


Toepfer as Sales Agent for DACH

One trade fair, one community – the Seek is appreciated by visitors and exhibitors alike.


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A further landmark decision has been made in the context of the realignment of Strenesse. Toepfer GmbH & Co KG of Düsseldorf is the fashion house’s B2B sales agent in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland with immediate effect. “The agency’s product portfolio, as well as the associated sales expertise of Udo Toepfer and his team, mean that it’s the ideal partner for the further development of the Strenesse brand,” says the Strenesse management. In Nördlingen, the company wants to focus on its core competence in product development. The restructuring process in self-administration is advancing steadily. The management believes that Strenesse is in a stable position for future success.

Strenesse’s new sales agent for the DACH region is Toepfer.

PREMIUM is elegant, c o n t r a s t y, b i g a n d imposing. Global players represent themselves there next to newcomers from all segments. For the fashion market, PREMIUM is the most important businessplatform in Europe for women and men. D e e p l y r o o t e d p a r t n e rships are made and maintained here as well as new impulses.




W W W. P R E M I U M E X H I B I T I O N S . C O M


Hotspot: “Areal Böhler” is not only a trendy location with industrial flair, but also a perfect backdrop for serious business.

Gallery Fashion – Showroom Concept

The Time of Agencies “What began eight years ago with a sub-area on the Böhler site has evolved into a hotspot for top agencies and high-quality brands,” says Ulrike Kähler, the Managing Director of Igedo Company and Project Director of Gallery Fashion & Gallery Shoes. Expanding on Showroom Concept, she says: “This self-contained area for sales agencies is an absolute novelty in the European trade fair landscape.” Agencies such as Norbert Klauser, D-Tails, Moderaum Fischer, and 22 Agency took advantage of the concept right from the start, as an alternative to temporary showrooms in Düsseldorf. The trendy industrial location, which showcases 800 brands on 12,000 square metres, is appealing, not least due to its fully equipped exhibition stands and shuttle service. The ever-growing exhibitor portfolio proves that the plan is working, which is why the Showroom Concept now occupies three halls. Other renowned names such as Wunschnaht, Knallgrau, Celine Klauser, 04651 A Trip in a Bag, Edward Copper, and Café Noir are now on board too. Ulrike Kähler: “The great interest confirms that we have correctly interpreted the signs of the times for agencies and high-quality labels.” Gallery Fashion, 25th to 27th of January 2020 Gallery Shoes, 8th to 10th of March 2020


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“For us, the Gallery Fashion offers the perfect equivalent of a temporary showroom. As an established point of contact, it guarantees continuity for our retail customers. The event is the perfect venue for almost all order appointments for the women’s collection by Circolo 1901 involving retail customers from northern and central Germany. We talk to approximately 80 customers per season there, and they place firm orders. All this in just five days – it’s ideal!” Michael Brockmann, Managing Director of Heritage Agents


“We loved the concept from the start, because we’re convinced by it. It’s where we schedule appointments with customers from West, North, and Central Germany. They all show up – nobody misses an appointment. Anyone who has ever looked for parking near ‘Kaiserswerther Strasse’ will appreciate that they can park right in front of the venue! I love the authentic industrial character; and the agency portfolio is getting bigger and better. The more attend, the more sense it makes for everyone.” Dominik Meuer, Managing Director of Hinterhofagentur


“I enjoy the close contact with the organisers, who also managed to convince key players such as Heritage Agents and 04651 A Trip in a Bag to exhibit on the other bank of the Rhine. They are always open to questions and criticism. Their service begins as soon as you arrive at the venue. Like our customers, we like the flair of the area. It is, however, still a challenge to persuade people to come. Many think that the most important showrooms are on ‘Kaiserswerther Strasse’, but the Gallery Fashion offers an opportunity to view something new without any obligation to buy.” Gabi Heininger, Managing Director of Agentur Heininger




American Vintage

In It to Win It

A continuously successful regional order platform: the Supreme in Munich and Düsseldorf.


Dialogue and Appreciation The changed schedule of the Supreme Women&Men in Düsseldorf remains in place. “Many buyers start roaming the streets of Düsseldorf in the week before the Supreme. The Friday was definitely busier than the Tuesday we dropped, because many exhibitors arranged additional appointments. We focus on dialogue, service, and facilitating processes. For us, sustainability equals appreciation. And that includes feeling at ease,” explains Mirjam Dietz, the Head of Business Development & Communications at The Supreme Group. “Düsseldorf is not only welcoming numerous buyers from Russia, but also an increasing number of buyers from Switzerland and the Benelux countries. Over the last few seasons, Munich has attracted an increasing number of buyers from Austria, as well as from all over Germany.” Particularly loyal visitors are rewarded with the Supreme Goldcard, which grants them access to the special business lounges. The Monday during the trade show in Düsseldorf is reserved for Fashion Match, a collaboration with NRW International. This networking event with condensed collection presentations takes place in the Supreme Homebase in front of the building. It allows retailers, distributors, agents, and designers to get to know each other and exchange ideas. Supreme Women&Men Düsseldorf, 24th to 27th of January 2020, Supreme Women&Men Munich, 8th to 11th of February 2020,

“We play because we wanna win!” is the motto of contemporary brand American Vintage. Since August 2019, Martina Schmidl, in her capacity as Worldwide B2B Director, has been responsible for a new wholesale strategy. A team of 30 employees and 10 partners (with a presence in 26 countries) aim to strengthen American Vintage’s market position. 170 own stores, 420 retailers in the DACH region, 400 POS in France, and another 600 retail partners worldwide are the focal point of the strategy. “It’s all about the right attitude and focus,” is how Schmidl sums up her point of view. With its near-season rhythm and maximum flexibility, American Vintage has become an important pillar in the product ranges of many retailers. The DACH sales team is now led by Ender Sahin.

The historic wooden slide, a children’s carousel, and international designer fashion in miniature. The renovated children’s department of Lodenfrey am Dom offers an exciting shopping experience.


Children’s Paradise The legendary wooden slide leads to the next mezzanine via the stairway. A colourful merry-goround revives the flair of times long past. Let’s not overlook the table football set made of dark wood. In between, one finds a generous sales area showcasing stylishly arranged fashion for the youngest – from babies to teenagers. What seems like a blend of a children’s birthday party and a boutique is actually the result of a comprehensive renovation. Lodenfrey am Dom is known for its premises in a prime downtown location in Munich. The tradition-steeped company avoids stagnation by focusing on advancement. This also benefits the children’s department: the 700sqm area on the fourth floor has been given a new look. Visitors can view Lodenfrey in miniature in five style worlds: exclusive international design brands, a small traditional costume area, underwear, sports, and accessories.


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Martina Schmidl is now Head of Worldwide B2B Sales at American Vintage. Her role in the DACH sales team has been handed to Ender Sahin.


January 25 – 27, 2020 Showroom Concept January 24 – 28, 2020

March 8 – 10, 2020





International, order-oriented trade shows for fashion, shoes and accessories with a mix of young and established brands based in Dusseldorf!


Ben And

New Showroom in Munich

Munich-based fashion agency Ben And has relocated. It now resides in the G3 studio house in the centre of Schwabing, where the collections can be showcased on a generous area of 600 square metres. “The studio house designed by well-known architect and sculptor Professor Georg Brenninger dates from the 1950s,” says Ben Botas. “Its distinctive and independent character is a perfect match for us, because we, as an agency, have also earned our standing.” The building with the address “Georgenstrasse 3” was devised by Brenninger as a combination of studio and private residence. He himself lived there for several years. The direct view of the Munich Art Academy, where Brenninger taught as a professor, is no coincidence. Local architect Nora Witzigmann was commissioned to carry out the conversion. She not only retained the stringency and typical elements of the 1950s, but also accentuated them deliberately. The entrance area was elaborately redesigned and now blends harmoniously into the general appearance. “I’m really happy. Working here is great fun,” Botas smiles. “The building also has a large garden, which is a rarity in the city centre. The ambiance of the rooms is excellent and we share the landlords’ philosophy. As an agency, this is where we feel at home – finally.” Ben And, Munich & Düsseldorf/Germany,,

New room, own standing: Ben Botas is happy that his showroom now resides in the G3 studio house.


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Ecoalf has changed the profile of the agency Room with a view lastingly.

Die Hinterhofagentur

Flying the Flag Dominik, how much substance do you attribute to the current hype surrounding sustainable fashion? Dominik Meuer, owner of Die Hinterhofagentur: Environmental awareness is strongly sensitised by constant global warming. In fashion, too, sustainability is becoming increasingly important. What significance does it have for your suppliers? It’s highly significant. All products of our brands are manufactured exclusively in the EU. This means fair wages and working conditions, less emissions caused by delivery routes, and the ability to produce more precisely based on demand. What is most important to me is the detachment from production in the Far East and materials like real fur. What priority does sustainability have in the decision-making process during the order? And for you when evaluating a collection? For me, the new aspect must always be based on the product. Eco-friendly production methods are an additional benefit, but not the decisive argument. I experience the same attitude among our customers. The product comes first. Ideally, this corresponds to a sustainable philosophy – as is the case with our labels. Many department stores are eager to make a name for themselves by flying the flag for sustainability. Labels: AdHoc, Bob, Code ltd., Des Petits Hauts, Eternal Eight and Holy Seven, Hamlet, Koike, Leon & Harper, Lightning Bolt, Manuel Ritz, Original Vintage Style, Portofiori, Prime Shoes, Taylor Tweed, The Jacksons, Wool &Co Die Hinterhofagentur, Munich/Germany,,

The motto of AdHoc, an Italian outerwear collection, is: “Everybody doesn’t need more garments, but garments with more options!”

Room with a view

Sustainability Improves Our Standing To what extent does adding sustainable brands to a portfolio change an agency? Christian Obojes, owner of Room with a view: Ecoalf and Veja, which we have represented for several years, have sharpened our standing as an agency that “thinks differently and thinks ahead”. The awareness of many clients is changing rapidly. This also has an influence on the future direction of the agency. How do you assess the Friday for Future movement’s refusal to consume? It’s very easy to understand. In some respects, I feel the same way. I myself have changed my consumption and mobility behaviour, yet I don’t abstain from travelling, further education, sport, or excellent food. What does this all mean for our industry? Is sustainability the new standard? Technical innovations that make shopping easier and faster continue to drive consumption. Nevertheless, one can see that an increasing number of people are consciously buying less and buying better. Appreciation for fair, transparent, and honestly manufactured items will establish a new standard. Labels: Alto Milano, Arkk Copenhagen, Casall, Devotion Twins, Ecoalf, Happy Socks, Holubar, Jade Design Plants, Moon Boot, Moose Knuckles, Pomandère, RRD, Stand, Steamery, Tomorrow, Veja, Warm Me, White Sand Room with a view, Salzburg/Austria,,


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Agentur Moormann

Conscious Luxury Where does sustainability begin for you? Klara Moormann, Managing Director of Agentur Moormann: With the fact that we, as an agency, embody conscious luxury. By this we mean that our partners operate and manufacture almost exclusively in Europe. Like us, they are very attentive to where and how a product is manufactured. Above all, they care about the production volume. Stouls of Paris is a great example. The label is superbly positioned in this respect: there is no warehouse, no mass production. Each order is manufactured individually for the respective customer. We also perceive ourselves as a partner for our retail customers. We – and our suppliers – don’t have minimum orders per se. Naturally, we expect the respective collections to be showcased in the store. We devise each profile individually with the buyers. Conducting business in this manner almost completely solves our existing problem with reductions. Labels: 19 Andrea’s 47, Alessandro Gheradi, Gimo’s, Kathleen Madden, Maison Lener, Malo, Maurizio Baldassari, Projekt E, Stouls, Stephan Boya, Valérie Khalfon, Zanieri Moormann & Co., Düsseldorf/Germany,,



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Flessa Modeagentur

Sustainable Newcomer

Flessa Modeagentur has added a new fashion label to its portfolio covering Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Haló, which hails from Finland, was launched by Marta Valtovirta and Jukka Puljujärvi in 2017. The headquarters may now be in Helsinki, but the colour and pattern combinations of the flowing dresses, capes, blouses, and tops are still heavily influenced by the fascinating nature of Lapland. Refined ruffles, subtle lace, or wafer-thin chiffon, as well as sophisticated necklines and delicate pleats, are artfully applied to create elegant details. High-quality organic materials such as silk, cotton, and viscose, as well as recycled organic polyester, are supplied by Italian manufacturers and are subsequently processed in selected European companies in a socially responsible manner. At a mark-up of 2.8, retail prices range from 225 to 420 Euros for dresses, from 110 to 225 Euros for blouses, and from 169 to 199 Euros for skirts. Labels: 360Cashmere, Charlotte Sparre, Drome, Ella Silla, Hálo, Hayley Menzies, Lalo, Michael Stars Flessa Modeagentur, Buch am Buchrain near Munich/Germany,,

Designer Cecilia de Marche pays a visit to the production plant: “The basic principle of Beltepà is to know exactly what the manufacturing processes involve, such as the silk production plant in Turkmenistan.”


Maintaining Credibility The D-tails portfolio exclusively contains family businesses. Is that a strategy or a coincidence? Patrick Coppolecchia Reinartz, owner of D-tails: For me, the purest form of sustainability is when a company produces in its own facilities, when products come from a family with tradition. I see how they treat their employees, suppliers, and inventory. Gallo, for example, employs four specialists who maintain and repair the partly historic knitting machines. Nothing is thrown away. Everything is repaired. What makes a collection sustainable in your eyes? Certainly not what is ostensibly mentioned as a selling point. Consumers are often fooled in this respect. I firmly believe in fair working conditions. Brands like Beltepà and Les Ottomanes, for example, source traditionally hand-crafted ikat and bakhmal fabrics from Turkmenistan and are in direct contact with the women there. They ensure that they are produced locally and nobody is exploited.

The Rosso 35 collection relies heavily on perfect craftsmanship and its own sense of style.

Claudia May Fashion Agency

Italian Spirit

Focus on Italy! Claudia May loves small collections defined by style and perfect craftsmanship. Her fashion agency strives to pass this passion on to retailers. “These family businesses are incredibly dedicated to their craft and can respond to customer requests individually,” says Claudia May. Knitwear by AnneClaire impresses with finesse, Rosso 35 diversifies a special sense of style, and blouses by Artigiano can be delivered swiftly in small volumes. Claudia May has also introduced in-house lines featuring travel cosmetics bags and leather belts from Italy. Labels: Eden Avenue, Amina Rubinacci, AnneClaire, Artigiano, Cinzia Rocca, Kash, Purotatto, Rosso 35, Tonet Claudia May Fashion Agency, Hamburg/ Germany,,


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Labels: Add, Barba, Beltepà, Best Company, Flower Mountain, Fracap, Gallo, Giabs, Il Bisonte, Luciano Barbera, Sealup, Urban Sun, Zanella D-tails, Munich/Germany,, Haló favours pastel nuances and feminine silhouettes made of ecological fabrics.


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Heritage Agents

One Third of Retailers Focus on Sustainability

Sascha Berning and Markus Bronold have made a successful start with their men’s agency – not least due to North Sails and its Prada America’s Cup collection.

Men’s World by Berning Bronold

Men Only

Sascha Berning is well-known within the industry. His fashion agency, based in Düsseldorf’s B1, represents brands such as Princess Goes Hollywood, Airfield, and Blonde No 8. In summer 2019, he teamed up with Markus Bronold, a photographer and former brand director of Nagano, to launch Men’s World by Berning Bronold. This agency represents brands such as North Sails, the men’s collection of Blonde No 8, and the sustainable jeans collection Five Fellas. “It’s no longer merely about clothes, but about important cornerstones such as sustainability, social competence, and credible heritage,” says co-owner Markus Bronold. The portfolio will therefore only feature such brands – strictly for men only. Continuous expansion guaranteed. Labels: Blonde No 8, Como No 1, Five Fellas, Liverpool, North Sails, Rough & Loyal Men’s World by Berning Bronold, Düsseldorf/Germany,,

We have a snap question for you, Malte. What role does sustainability play in your portfolio? It has always played a very big role, especially as we cover the “Affordable Luxury” segment. Therefore, our customers expect not only quality, but also inherent value. For me personally, sustainable action applies above all to the relationship with suppliers and customers. Ever since we added Mey Story and – a little later – Warm Me to our portfolio, we have pursued the topic consistently. Be it the cultivation of fibres or the finished product, it is important to emphasise the sustainable aspects. Does a collection have to be green to be competitive? At least one third of retailers are placing ever-greater emphasis on this topic – and the percentage is rising. We will see a flood of labels jumping on the bandwagon or starting to rethink. That’s why we’re happy to represent brands that were around before the hype and whose stories are based on credibility. Will your agency focus even more on green labels? No. We are eager to preserve the showroom’s DNA. We’ve also realised that not all sustainable brands are well-positioned in terms of service yet. We need to have a good mix. Labels: Bagutta, Circolo 1901, Matteucci 1939, May Story, Warm Me Heritage Agents, Munich/Germany,,

Where does sustainability actually begin? Where does it end? Questions that Malte Kötteritz and Michael Brockmann have seemingly found answers for.

Agentur Schwarte

Buy to Sell

Matthias Schwarte places great value on knowing where and how his agency’s collections are manufactured. Pictured: Parajumpers.


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Sustainability begins with the order. This means that retailers no longer need to accept minimum orders, no longer buy what they can’t sell at full price. Is this take too naïve? Matthias Schwarte, Managing Director of Agentur Schwarte: No. Everyone should buy what they can sell. This is something that stationary retailers usually have under control. This is, however, juxtaposed by high return rates in online retailing. It creates goods with limited use that are generally resold below value. How can one counteract this? By placing our brands where they can be sold as best as possible at full price – this doesn’t exclude online retailers, by the way! This approach means fewer returns and surpluses, which means the brand retains its desirability. It’s both economical and sustainable! Doesn’t the pursuit of sales stand in the way of sustainability? The costs in Munich are rising steadily. Correspondingly, I have to generate higher returns. In order for this to be ecologically sustainable, I seek out the ideal retail partners. Once they have sold our goods at full price, they will order from us again to achieve the same result. It is our responsibility to ensure that this cycle is upheld. Labels: Emporio Armani, EA7, Armani Exchange, 59 inches, AT.P.CO, BALR., Collezione 01, Daniele Fiesoli, Fil Noir, Mason Garments, Parajumpers, People of Shibuya, Saucony, S.T.R.A., Sundek, Weber + Weber Agentur Schwarte, Munich/Germany,,


A woman with a mission: Christina Dean, the founder of Redress, believes that resource depletion and textile waste are thorns in the fashion industry’s side.

Christina Dean “We Shouldn’t Have to Be the Sustainability Police” Christina Dean is an icon in the sphere of NGOs committed to improving the fashion industry. The native Englishwoman uses publicity campaigns to draw attention to the grievances caused by fast fashion consumption and environmentally harmful production processes. Her organisation Redress educates and raises awareness. In order to highlight the problems caused by textile waste, she only wore outfits from the garbage dump of Hong Kong, her home of choice, for an entire year. Interview: Stephan Huber. Photos: Paul Sunga, Redress


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ou started Redress in 2007, at a time when the topic of sustainable fashion was not really on the international agenda. Was it an uphill struggle? Well, it was not on anyone’s agenda back then apart from a few people. On a graph of change, you always have the early adapters who are aware of the issue. Back in 2007, though, the early adapters were focused mainly on agriculture and the rise of organic cotton. They were probing the conversation in their particular area and it hadn’t yet ignited with the rest of the business. Still, I would not say it was an uphill struggle. The issue was more that people needed to be convinced and the challenge was constantly having to try and explain it. The young activist, Greta Thunberg, has done an extraordinary job of raising eco-awareness in the past year. Overall, there seems to be a big change in the mindset of people, especially here in Europe. Do you also get the impression that, now, the climate crisis is on everyone’s agenda, whereas just 10 years ago it was on no-one’s? It is not on everybody’s agenda yet, but it’s absolutely mainstreaming. Ten years ago, when these issues were still very much in their infancy, we didn’t have all the data behind us that we do now. For instance, the fact that fashion is supposedly contributing up to 10% of global greenhouse gases annually – more than the shipping and aviation industries – that stat is now absolutely everywhere. What statistics like that have done is to seed understanding in people’s brains. Journalists are on it right now and that is a great thing. The media today are so well-informed, asking very probing questions, going beneath the surface of topics. That reflects the richness of understanding, but also the need to dig deeper. Up to 10% of global CO2 emissions coming from the fashion industry alone is quite literally a breath-taking statistic. In the scope of your work at Redress, you not only address air pollution, but also the industry’s impact on water and chemical pollution, as well as waste in general. Can you give us a better idea about the dimensions of fashion’s overall damage to the environment? Ultimately, when we talk about the overall impact of the fashion industry on the environment, we need to look at various supply chains and where the industry is sourcing from. For one, it is sourcing from agriculture, so here we can talk about cotton or the impact on water. For instance, the World Bank estimates that 17% to 20% of all industrial water pollution is caused just by the textile dyeing and finishing process. But the fashion industry is also sourcing from petroleum and oil. In terms of oil refinery, you can talk about

“The industry itself generates 92 million tonnes of textile waste... every year!”


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CO₂ as well as the damage caused by extraction. It is sourcing from forestry, for tree fibres to make things like viscose and lyocell. It’s sourcing from metals and mining, and there is obviously an impact there. And it is sourcing from animals and animal farming, so you can also talk about issues of animal welfare. And then there is the aspect of wastage. The industry itself generates 92 million tonnes of textile waste every year. So, basically, fashion is a climate killer? Well, I would say it certainly is one of the world’s biggest polluting industries. At the foundation, fashion is an un-eco industry. Full stop. Even if you do things nicely and use nice chemicals, if you then multiply that by 100 billion pieces per year, it’s going to have an inherent impact on the environment, which is the impact we have now. I read that about one third of fashion being produced goes directly into the trash. Would you say that the primary problem facing the industry we need to start dealing with is overproduction? Overproduction and overconsumption are two of the main issues. On the one hand, there are too many clothes out there; we are creating too much. That’s because the business model is founded on growth; our whole economy is focused on growth. And growth in the fashion industry can only happen through selling more units. That is why we find ourselves in this effing state; because we’ve made too much crap and it’s everywhere! On the consumption issue, there are two nasty realities. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, since the year 2000, clothing consumption had doubled to 100 billion pieces by the end of 2014. That is just fourteen years. Especially in emerging markets, fashion consumption is increasing. And secondly, the very cheap, fast fashion brands – not the famous global ones – are doing pretty well. These brands are ultra-cheap bottom feeders that aren’t under any scrutiny whatsoever and people are buying their stuff. Shouldn’t end consumers also share the blame in terms of waste and overconsumption? Or does the burden of responsibility lie solely with the industry, advertising, and retail trade? The consumer is obviously majorly a part of this, driving the industry, consuming, etc. But there is a growing awareness among them these days. Fast fashion has lost its supposed ‘glamour’ and younger consumers are realising the problems. They are moving toward capsules with timeless, durable fashion. Still, in order to be sustainable, consumers not only need to consume less, but the fashion industry needs to produce less. There is no sugar-coating that fact. Yet, according to a report released during the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, 50% of the fashion industry hasn’t done anything to do with sustainability. Now, if that isn’t a wake-up call I don’t know what is. That is absolutely atrocious. I’m appalled.


What if there were a trade-off: hugely reduce the number of garments produced, but pay a slightly higher price for better-made clothing? I don’t think it is realistic to say that consumers are going to want to pay much more for clothes. If you think about the fashion retail market, you’ve got every kind of palette of consumer in there. There are the price conscious, the consumers that are going to want to buy once. Then you have your luxury consumers who want to buy a luxury piece every day. You have some who only want to buy independently. Overall, I would like to see reduced consumption, but you have to do it in a way that is empathetic to the actual driver, which is that people do love to shop. And they do love to wear different clothes, though I deliberately do not use the term “new” clothes here to really give you an understanding of the true picture. From the retail perspective, we have to respect people’s characters, their preferences, their demands and expectations, because at the end of the day we are human beings driven by desire. There is not one solution that says, “Thou shalt not shop.” That is just not going to happen. On the subject of solutions, the mission of your NGO is to inspire positive environmental change and put the fashion industry on a path to a more sustainable future with less waste. Would that take something radical to happen at this point or can it be achieved through a series of small steps? There are already a lot of little, nice things going on and good things happening on a linear system. But if we are just focusing on making the linear system less bad, we’re going to get nowhere quickly because we are still extracting a lot of raw materials and just chucking them away. We could keep going on with little bits of innovation, a little less water, less processing, slightly better chemicals, switching to solar energy in factories, and obviously that would all be good. But the elephant in the room is that we are still extracting 53 million tonnes of fibres every year. And then 75% of those end up in a landfill or incineration within a year. The only optimism I have for a solution is for something radical to happen. The real thing I want to see happen in my lifetime is recycling, like the actual scaling up of fibre-to-fibre recycling to reuse them as clothes. I am waiting for it to kick off. In other words, recycling fibres could be the panacea for all the fashion industry’s ailments? Ideally, in a nirvana state, we could recycle fibres and keep them circulating. Then people could go to shops and they could enjoy buying, they could feed the economy, they could give jobs, they could love the fact that they want to wear pink today and then purple tomorrow. They can do all of that and enjoy

“Fast fashion has lost its supposed glamour.”

the creativity of fashion. And that should actually be the goal. We shouldn’t have to be the police coming down on people to say you can’t enjoy fashion. Why hasn’t that happened yet? Is it a technical question? It is in a sense a technical question. The issue of recycling those fibres requires quite a complicated systems chain that includes logistics, collection, sorting and warehousing. That whole reverse logistics problem of scooping up all the stuff is a whole problem in itself. Do you have curb-side textile collection? Will it be just clothing bins? Will governments be responsible for doing it? Where do the textiles go? Which countries will this stuff be sent to? And then, once it’s all collected we have the problem that it can’t very easily be recycled at the moment from a technological perspective. Right now, textiles are being downcycled – you take clothes that have lovely fibres and you are turning them into rags and carpets. But the goal is to keep the clothes as clothes, what we call fibre-to-fibre. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, though, of all the fibres that go into fashion every year, only 1% of them are recycled back into clothes. We can make recycled toilet paper. People are wiping their arses with recycled toilet paper, yet we are just chucking fibres into landfills! I get the picture [laughs]… Isn’t it just a matter of time before technology catches up? After all, there are fibres that are more easily recyclable. Well, that is the solution and I think we will get there in terms of technical ability. The big gold rush will be in finding a way to separate blended fibres such as polyester and cotton. Cotton-to-cotton is quite easy. But many of today’s clothes are a blend of natural and synthetic fibres and they cannot be processed because they have different compositions. The big race is to figure out how to separate these two chemically different compounds. Once that’s done, would all of the industry’s problems be solved or would it just ease some of the ill effects surrounding the bad production habits in certain parts of the market? The overall solution is to find a recycling solution. And that is particularly for the people who are fast at consuming and disposing of clothes. But, in essence, there is not just one solution for the whole thing. You also have to look at each market, each demographic, to look at how they could do better. For example, you could look at the woman who is buying luxury fashion. There is no reason why she shouldn’t buy luxury second-hand fashion. Actually, the data suggests that the luxury resell market is likely going to outpace the new market for luxury. That demographic could easily style in progress



satisfy their love of fashion by buying second-hand. Recycled fibres, on the other hand, would best deal with the fast fashion industry. And there is also the designer rental market… Yes, and they very much serve a purpose. When we look at the whole pie of the consumer market, rentals serve those who want to have new, different clothes without consumption. Most people I know wear what I call “advanced basics”, not really high fashion items. For them, it would seem meaningful to buy better-quality garments that last longer. But, instead, the industry pretends to be reinventing fashion every three, four, or six months. Should we be re-defining fashion cycles and do away with seasonal fads? You are talking about a certain circle of people, let’s call them “Steve Jobs” types. They have a basic, comfortable, durable, useable wardrobe. But, that’s just one demographic for whom durability is key. For them, that would be a solution, but it is never going to satisfy an 18-year-old girl who is going to a club every night. Which brings to mind Boohoo, one of these ultra-fast online retailers. Since they went public in 2014, their revenue has grown 680%. Their demographic is the next generation of activists, the kids that are marching for climate, they are following Greta, they are doing all that. That same age group, though, are also driving up the revenue of Boohoo by 680%. The beauty of the world is that we are all different. That’s why we need solutions that appeal to the consumption of diverse groups. There is no onesize-fits-all answer to that. We are a colourful world. Redress not only engages with the industry through collaborations across the entire fashion supply chain to change practices, but you also do a lot to educate end-consumers to make better choices around buying, wearing, and disposing of clothing through various campaigns. Can you shed some light on how that’s done? Yes, we do use the word education, but that’s so tedious for consumers. What we do is we try to inspire them about better practices with their clothes and we try to instil the love of fashion and the idea of taking better care and caring for longer. We were commissioned to write a book by the really great British publisher, Thames & Hudson, called, “Dress [with] Sense: The Practical Guide to a Conscious Closet,” which has come out in a number of countries and languages. It gives fashion consumers practical tips on how to buy, wear, care and dispose of their clothes and provides them with the know-how to have a more conscious closet. We also have a TV series called, “Frontline Fashion,” which has now gone on to digital format, so you can watch it on YouTube. The documentary cultivates a lot of excitement for consumers by following talented, emerging fashion

“We try to instil the love of fashion in consumers, the idea of taking better care of clothing and caring for longer.”


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designers – all finalists for the Redress Design Award – determined to redesign the future of fashion. And then, mainly in Hong Kong, we stage a lot of events, hold DIY workshops, give lectures and talks. You are based in Hong Kong, but the issues you are tackling are global ones. Could you envision expanding your mission to include Europe? We deal with a number of European companies, not just Asian ones, but most of our on-the-ground work tends to be with brands and businesses in Hong Kong, that is true. At the moment, expanding, solidifying, growing the team, and improving our KPI reporting and our impact assessment are my biggest hopes with Redress. We have had a lot of interest in perhaps having a regional office in other markets outside Asia, but it’s currently not a possibility. It’s a question of prioritisation. We would love to, but it would be fragmenting our capabilities right now. Despite being an NGO, does your organisation work with governments? After all, on an issue of this scale that is in such dire need of change, wouldn’t it make sense to involve international politics? To make a level playing field, you need government legislation because some companies have already put a lot of effort and money into the supply chain to make their processes better. In the absence of legislation, competitors could just do whatever they like, and that’s not fair. Ultimately, we need a massive kick up the arse and the only stakeholder that should do it is the government. That being said, Redress does not work at that level. It’s outside of our mission and, quite honestly, our capability to be doing lobbying. Finally, the best way to learn is through positive example. Based on your experience, are there any changes you see happening, even on a small scale, that might signal things are changing for the better and we are moving in the right direction? All the things that come to mind have to do with waste reduction, which is obviously our mission. I am excited about the rise of upcycling, and by this, I mean taking waste materials and turning them into clothes, which is definitely becoming more mainstream. Then there is recycling, which is not yet at scale, but it’s happening and that is exciting in terms of unlocking immediate, good benefits. And of course, the rise of the resale, re-commerce, and rental markets. The scope of this is very exciting, not just for me, but for a lot of people.


An almost unsolvable problem. Every year, 92 million tonnes of textile waste end up in our landfills. Often the pieces weren’t even worn for a year. As recycling is still in its infancy, Christina Dean strives to educate consumers. They can continue to have a positive shopping experiences, but should make more conscious decisions.

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. e k o j ) y t r i d ( o n s i This


percent is the textile industry’s contribution to global CO2 emissions. That’s second place behind the oil industry.



items per capita is the vidual to contribution of each indi lume of the annual production vo clothing.

1st place

as the world’s largest consumer of textiles in kilogrammes per capita is the US with 38kg, followed by Europe with 31kg as 2nd, and China with 1kg as 3rd.

By 2030 the global textile production volume is expected

to grow from 62 million tons to



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342,198,000, 000 Euro is the expected turnover of gl the apparel segment in 20 obal By 2023 this 19. figure is expe cted to grow to

535,368,000,000 .

An annual gr owth rate of 11.8 percent.

1 kilogramme of clothing 23


percent of a garment’s CO2 emissions are generated after purchase by wearing, washing, and disposing of it.


kg of greenhouse gas over its entire life cycle.

duction volu ro p ile xt te 4, 01 2 d n a 0 0 Between 20

m es


percent of the world’s agricultural land is used for the cultivation of cotton. However, 24% of all insecticides and 11% of all pesticides used worldwide are used on cotton.


tons of synthetic fibres are produced worldwide every year. The production volume of wool and raw cotton stands at a mere 1.2 million and 20 million respectively


percent of the material and fibre w generated in prod aste uction are recycled or reused.

Sources: Federal Office for Economic Affairs, Federal Environment Agency, Pulse of the Fashion Industry, Greenpeace, Fashion Revolution, Global Fashion Agenda, Quantis International, Ellen McArthur Foundation, McKinsey, World Resources Institute style in progress



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Why the fact that there is no alternative to correcting the fashion industry’s inherent flaws could turn out to be a unique stroke of luck. An opinion piece by Stephan Huber.


ne of the most astonishing accusations that Greta Thunberg has been showered with during the ongoing battle of cultures is the indignation that she is merely part of a large-scale PR campaign. You don’t say! It goes without saying that this girl, who seems to confuse so many, is the face of a campaign. In view of her impact, I might even call it the best campaign I have ever witnessed. Within no more than a year, she has transformed from a pig-tailed lone warrior with a cardboard sign in front of the Swedish parliament, into an untouchable symbolic figurehead of a global (youth) movement with ever-increasing socio-political influence. This is a truly astonishing achievement, even in the age of social media potentiation. The Prerogative of Youth Yes, she enjoys the backing of a well-organised team. Yes, it is very likely that someone in the background is writing her speeches. Someone who obviously understands damn well how to push the right buttons. So what? Given the countless lobbyists sent into the battle for the sovereignty of interpretation within our so easily influenced attention economy by the “opposing side”, who are equipped with breath-taking budgets from – more often than not – quite dubious sources, it was high time to answer with a hard-nosed, professional narrative. It’s the prerogative of youth to make radical social demands and develop utopias. Nobody is forced to comply with these demands – in full or in part. I, for one, sympathise. However, I see some things quite differently. Above all, I am convinced that a solution can only be found through the power of innovation within a healthy market economy. Nevertheless, Thunberg’s success in creating more awareness for the question of how we should manage our natural resources within a few months, than politics and the media had done in a decade, is a great achievement. She has opened


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our eyes to the question of how we can develop a different, less careless, and ultimately more rewarding consumer behaviour. The fact that many adults react to her efforts with utterly incomprehensible verbal attacks, is nothing short of shocking. It demonstrates the complete disinhibition that has crept into the public political discourse. Part of the Problem The question of why Thunberg polarises so much is exciting, because the answer inevitably leads to taking a hard look at oneself. In recent months, I have attended many debates and discussions in which I explained why the fashion industry is among the top three most polluting industries by giving a very obvious example. Approximately 77 million unused items of clothing are hanging and lying in Austria’s wardrobes. Let’s say the fluctuation margin is 10 percent. We’re talking about a country with around 8 million inhabitants. The almost incredulous amazement is followed by extrapolation. What about Germany, or even the EU? Above all, I have to admit that I am part of the problem. The central problem of the fashion industry is overproduction coupled with overconsumption. An almost incalculable quantity of products doesn’t even find its way into the wardrobes. It is estimated that up to 30 percent of all produced items head straight into the bin. Fashion has degenerated into a disposable article that can be discarded carelessly, just like the paper one wraps a sandwich in. This is not only ecological madness, but also economic insanity. This is THE central flaw of our industry. Part of the Solution Correcting this flaw is a daunting challenge. It is, however, also a great opportunity – and this should be the focal point of every attempt. The fashion industry, with its undiminished, communicative external impact, can become a role model and an integral part of the solution by adopting new technologies and business models, as well as embracing innovation and genuine entrepreneurship at all levels. This includes raw materials that can be recycled to an ever greater extent, increasingly precisely controlled production based on intelligent data management, and hybrid points of sale at which consumers can finally expect real substance. This is where the retail trade has a decisive role to play. In an undoubtedly changing market reality, consumers will demand credibility and orientation. And who better to act as a mediator and narrator than a service-oriented, well-informed specialist retailer whose expertise has earned the trust of customers? Can this change happen overnight? Of course not. And will things change 100 percent? Of course not. However, a great deal can and will be achieved. There’ll still be sufficient leeway for hedonism, fun, and unreasonableness. There’ll also be much less leeway for stupidity.


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Sustainability isn’t sustainable right away – it’s a process. The salon dialogue guests of Martina MüllnerSeybold and Kay Alexander Plonka all agree on this. Verena Paul-Benz, the owner of Lovjoi, Matthias Mey, the Managing Partner of Mey and founder of mey story, Thimo Schwenzfeier, the Show Director of Neonyt and Director Marketing Communications at Messe Frankfurt, and Bernd Hausmann, the founder of ecofashion store Glore, explain why. Interview: Martina Müllner-Seybold, Kay Alexander Plonka. Text: Veronika Zangl. Photos: Yorick Carroux. Location: Ruby Leo Workspaces Munich

Coming together to reflect on sustainability in fashion: Matthias Mey (Mey), Verena Paul-Benz (Lovjoi), Bernd Hausmann (Glore), and Thimo Schwenzfeier (Neonyt) met in Munich for a salon dialogue organised by style in progress.

100 billion items of clothing are produced every year. Is there any way this industry can still be rescued from itself? Matthias Mey, Managing Partner of Mey and mey story: We must first define the term sustainability. Are we merely talking about organic cotton or also about fair production conditions? For me, organic doesn’t equal sustainability, especially if the product in question is only BCI-certified. C&A, for example, is the world’s largest retailer of organic cotton. I recently spotted an organic cotton bra for 2.99 Euros in a C&A shop window. Is that sustainable? In my opinion, such offers have nothing to do with sustainability. Many vertically integrated businesses are currently making great promises, saying they will transition to 100% organic cotton in the next five years. For me, such promises constitute pure greenwashing, not a real effort towards sustainability. Thus, it has very little to do with sustainability. Also, considering that only a small proportion of the world’s cotton is actually organic, these goals seem rather unrealistic. The worldwide production of organic cotton stands at about 5%. Given that we exclusively use long-staple cotton in our lingerie and our share of white lingerie is very high, we have to source the finest and purest cotton. The offer on the world market is about 0.1%. style in progress



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“We contradict ourselves on a daily basis. On the one hand, we tell customers to buy less and focus on quality. On the other hand, we are eager to increase our sales in order to make the industry more sustainable.” Bernd Hausmann, Founder of Glore

Thimo Schwenzfeier, Show Director of Neonyt & Director Marketing Communications at Messe Frankfurt: The issue is that sustainability is subject to evolution. What was sustainable five years ago, is not congruent with what is sustainable today or will be in five years. The term needs to be redefined constantly. To what extent can we rely on certificates in the immediate future? Which new ones should we introduce? It is important that the definition of sustainability continues to evolve. Verena Paul-Benz, Owner of Lovjoi: Seeing it as an evolution is a beautiful comparison. What used to be enough to be considered sustainable, is now obsolete. For me, today’s sustainability is defined by the factors of ecological cultivation, social delivery conditions, regionality, and vegan materials. In addition, it is important to no longer perceive oneself as an individual business, but also to consider the bigger picture of tomorrow. How could sustainability be enshrined in laws that influence the market? Bernd Hausmann, Founder of Glore: I believe the industry is being overrun. Suddenly everyone is required to be sustainable, but we’re not even ready for it on a technological level yet. We have 1% organic cotton and processing by hand remains commonplace in many segments. In terms of hemp production, there are – more often than not – no harvesting machines at all, not to mention fair working conditions and wages. Based on the speed the big players are pushing for change, sustainability is, in fact, not feasible. That’s why I agree that there’s plenty of greenwashing among vertically integrated businesses. They deliberately pick out small production steps from their chain that are environmentally friendly or fair. The aim is to make people believe that the production process is sustainable. Do we run the risk of sustainability, which was promoted by courageous, often selfless pioneers, merely fuelling the business of multinationals? Verena Paul-Benz: Many small eco-brands lack market access; they simply don’t have the required distribution channels. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t professional or unable to deliver. One of the reasons is that conventional retailers aren’t sufficiently informed. When attending trade fairs, I am regularly shocked by the fact that there is so little interest in sustainable brands among conventional retailers – even despite Fridays for Future and the recent success of the Green Party. Thimo Schwenzfeier: From the perspective of a trade fair organiser, I would phrase it differently. The interest is there, but there’s a lack of courage in terms of implementation. The retail trade is undergoing a drastic transformation phase. Retailers are losing sales drivers that have ensured excellent business for many years. Margins are shrinking. To be fair, however, one must also confess 046

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that sustainable labels often lack the size, marketing power, and awareness to drive demand accordingly. But I definitely don’t accept the argument that there isn’t enough choice yet. 170 green labels attended our trade fair. Depending on the criteria applied, the Berlin Fashion Week welcomed a total of up to 270 green labels. Bernd Hausmann: I agree. Conventional retailers lack courage, because they are under immense pressure. The situation is similar to the automotive industry, which is still peddling SUVs despite the fact that we all know this approach isn’t the future. Amid this uncertainty, many prefer to rely on established brands rather than unknown newcomers. Unfortunately, the situation is even more tragic. When we address the topic of sustainability, retailers often tell us that there’s no demand in the store. However, there was a lecture at the Neonyt that debunked this argument. A consumer survey has proven that this issue does drive consumers, but that the majority of customers seek answers from brands or on the internet. A mere 27% of the customers named retailers as their contact point. Have retailers lost their status as opinion shapers? Thimo Schwenzfeier: Yes, the reactions to these findings were really exciting. Even men as experienced as Mark Ramelow, who was in the audience, recognised the significance. He expressed his concern at the fact that retailers are losing credibility as mediators. Matthias Mey: He is, by the way, also among the first retailers to act. Modehaus Ramelow contacted all its suppliers and asked them about their sustainability initiatives. Ramelow didn’t allow them to fob him off with random certificates and greenwashing. The survey really took us deep into the matter. Even we found it exciting to reconsider the topic in such depth.

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“Given that true sustainability also means operating profitably, I believe it’s complete nonsense to deny sustainable labels their pursuit of profit.” Matthias Mey, Managing Partner of Mey & Founder of mey story

Let’s delve into the certification topic a little more. Do you have any experiences in this respect? Matthias Mey: Yes, a very recent one at that… We started exploring the field of certificates while looking for an alternative to GOTS that would allow us to certify our more conventional products too. We ultimately judged the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) to be among the most suitable certificates for our brand. Our enquiry to FWF was dealt with very swiftly. We were rejected! On the grounds that we manufacture in completely uncontroversial countries such as Portugal, Hungary, and Poland. Now imagine our non-certified products being placed next to a competitor’s goods. Those goods are certified despite being produced in Bangladesh, for example. I do wonder which product will come across as more sustainable to the consumer. Certificates initially calm the consumer’s conscience, nothing more. Thimo Schwenzfeier: What do you think of a meta seal like “Grüner Punkt”? The various certifications must seem like an impenetrable jungle for both customers and salespeople. Matthias Mey: I agree. Ultimately, the consumer needs orientation. Personally, I would like to see something like the energy efficiency classification for electrical appliances: a standardised certificate that includes a classification. We can, for example, subject our NOS products to the toughest certification processes – such as Bluesign – that thoroughly check the entire value chain right back to the initial supplier. In the totality and complexity of a fashion collection with ever-changing components, this scale is no longer feasible. As it stands, 95% of our suppliers are based in Europe. Two manufacturers of coloured ribbons were just forced into administration, because they were no longer capable of withstanding international price pressure. As a consequence, we need to consider refocusing on Asia too. By the way, this doesn’t mean suppliers there cannot provide quality or sustainability. Neverthe048

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less, it makes it more challenging to ensure that our philosophy remains fully transparent. In addition, we, too, are increasingly exposed to price pressure and have to maintain marketable price benchmarks. With the responsibility for the wages of more than 1,000 employees in mind, we are required to think economically. The so-called Partnership for Sustainable Textiles was an excellent idea. Initially, it seemed like a first step towards standardisation. My brother, the driving force behind the sustainability issue in our company, was sceptical as to whether we would be able to meet all criteria. When we had done our research and decided to join, businesses like Primark and Kik joined with declarations of intent. It instantly became clear that we couldn’t – and didn’t want to – bear the same seal as those companies. At the end of the day, the consumer is led to believe that these are equivalent production standards and that this standardisation will raise low-cost suppliers to a much higher level. This means they benefit from many other brands that have actually addressed the issue of sustainability properly. Verena Paul-Benz: That’s true. Many are afraid of exactly this situation, which is why they are shying away from the “Grüner Punkt”. They aren’t willing to risk tarnishing their image. Thimo Schwenzfeier: We tried to convey this to the minister and his team. The team behind “Grüner Punkt” believes that it is important to start with the implementation and then adjust the subtleties while the system is in operation. But this first step has such a massive impact. Running off without knowing the exact goal is challenging. Our position is that we are willing to support meta seals like “Grüner Punkt” in principle, but believe that the implementation could be improved. Bernd Hausmann: One also has to admit that customers aren’t really interested in such seals. Their main concern is the use of organic cotton, be it GOTS-certified or not. I do, however, firmly believe that a neutral authority should take a close look at the supply chain. Generally speaking, sustainability is a topic high on the agenda of the younger generation. Is that the reason why classic retailers still don’t take it seriously enough? Because they cater for an older target group? Bernd Hausmann: This particular argument is certainly supported by retailers such as Zalando or About You. Both now focus on sustainability and serve a younger audience. Thimo Schwenzfeier: Zalando has many young employees. In other words, Zalando has employees that might even attend Fridays for Future demonstrations. This automatically lends the topic more weight, which means it reaches the executive floor.

ITEM No. 3 Item No. 3 is a sweatshirt inspired by traditional athletic wear. An iconic V-Stitch at the crew neckline is a tribute to the original function of collecting sweat during exercises. It is made of high quality loopback cotton jersey, which guarantees endurance. In a classic grey shade, this comfortable casual fit sweater blends seamlessly in your timeless wardrobe.

ITEM No. 2 Our Item No. 2 is a lightweight titan cafè racer. Crafted from all vegan parts it has a sophisticated carbon belt drive and a state-ofthe-art automatic 2-gear hub. Liberating humans from fashion.


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“I believe that the principle of true sustainability needs to ensure that everyone involved is satisfied with their respective piece of the pie.” Verena Paul-Benz, Founder of Lovjoi

Classic stationary retailers, at least in the form we known them, serve an older audience. They state quite clearly that fashion comes first. And some sustainable labels simply still aren’t “fashion enough”. Matthias Mey: That’s true, but the situation is changing. At mey story, we benefit greatly from being able to offer a sustainable background story to upscale retailers. It’s exciting for the consumer. Verena Paul-Benz: We sustainable labels mustn’t ignore the fashion aspect. But the more fashionable the garment is, the more expensive the production. Lace appliqués and sustainable sequins cost significantly more due to their technical requirements and purchase prices. Surprisingly, conventional fashion seems to accept high prices without complaint. It would never occur to anyone to criticise that Gucci is too expensive. We sustainable brands, however, are quickly accused of luxury. It is vital for this market to develop a variance in price levels and fashion grades – the same variance we already have in conventional fashion. Isn’t it a political matter to calculate what damage a t-shirt that costs 3 Euros really causes? It not only destroys resources, but also the environment. Thimo Schwenzfeier: There’s the discussion regarding a CO2 tax. The problem is the liberal economic world order. Prohibitions are equated with communism. Politicians are called upon to create framework conditions for a social, market-liberal, and environmentally compatible economy. Bernd Hausmann: We have been discussing the question of why sustainability seems to be progressing so sluggishly ever since I launched Glore 14 years ago. Is it the consumer’s fault, or the retailer’s? Should politicians become involved? Of course, politicians need to create a suitable framework. At the moment, sustainability tends to experience a boom when disasters like 050

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Rana Plaza happen. This is highly cynical, but even our energy policy needed Chernobyl and Fukoshima to push through the nuclear phase-out. My experience is that simply wagging a finger has no effect. We need brands that not only operate professionally, but also understand how cool, desirable products should look and feel. What triggers consumers to buy a sustainable brand? Verena Paul-Benz: Marketing. The crucial factor is that big brands have larger advertising budgets, which they are currently using to wash themselves green. Thimo Schwenzfeier: Fashion is swiftly becoming a low-interest product in the eyes of mass consumers, regardless whether it’s sustainable or not. That’s a great pity, actually. In fact, many consumer believe it is more important to own the latest iPhone. How can fair fashion and the rapid change demanded by fashion be reconciled? Verena Paul-Benz: That’s an exciting aspect! Everything must always be brought to market and sold as quickly as possible. If eco-labels strive to prove themselves as an alternative to the conventional market, they can only succeed if they adhere to the cycles of the aforementioned conventional market. However, this means that they are moving in the same direction as fast fashion suppliers. That gives me goose-bumps. I’m highly sceptical of this development. Bernd Hausmann: We contradict ourselves on a daily basis. On the one hand, we tell customers to buy less and focus on quality. On the other hand, we are eager to increase our sales in order to make the industry more sustainable. (laughs) Inventing trends was probably the most brilliant marketing idea ever. Buy red today, green tomorrow. It’s quite a feat to come up with the claim that everything goes out of fashion at one point! It’s the most horrific idea of the fashion industry, yet also the most brilliant. At the end of the day, that’s how we generate revenue. But this discrepancy will always haunt us. Who should be in charge of establishing true sustainability: the brands, the distributers, or the retailers? Verena Paul-Benz: Definitely the brands… Matthias Mey: It should be the brands, without a doubt. Given that true sustainability also means operating profitably, I believe it’s complete nonsense to deny sustainable labels their pursuit of profit. Even we family businesses need to make profits, otherwise we won’t be able to pay our employees in the future. In contrast to international conglomerates, your profits are taxed in Germany. Matthias Mey: Exactly. We pay tax in Germany. This constitutes a distortion of competition, because it puts us at a disadvantage compared to companies that exploit international tax loopholes. But that’s a different issue, so let’s not go there now. I enjoy asking which role the retail trade plays within the value chain. How much of the retail price should the brand take, how much

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“Sustainability is subject to evolution.” Thimo Schwenzfeier, Show Director of Neonyt & Director Marketing Communications of Messe Frankfurt

the retailer? I firmly believe that excellent retailers are entitled to a large share. They guarantee well-trained personnel on the sales floors, who – in turn – provide arguments in favour of products manufactured to a high standard. This means we can ask higher prices and, at the same time, results in less write-offs. That’s what we thrive on. This is, however, becoming increasingly difficult when retailers try to cover their existing sales floors with ever-decreasing staff numbers. This approach won’t work in the long term, at least for our products. Verena Paul-Benz: This is where we come full circle. I believe it’s very important to include the retail trade in the sustainability aspect. I, as a brand, have to do more than merely say that I produce fairly and ecologically without any regard for others. We always think of that pie chart that tells us that the seamstress making our t-shirts doesn’t earn enough. But what about the retailers? They also need to make a living. That’s why I believe that the principle of true sustainability needs to ensure that everyone involved is satisfied with their respective piece of the pie. Matthias Mey: The biggest problem is the lack of price sovereignty. We brands have no control over the retail price, which is why we are now facing a situation in which the weakest link is dictating the market. In other words, the weakest link in the chain starts to reduce goods extremely early and thus puts the stronger retailers under pressure. This makes prices inflationary and retailers lose margins unnecessarily, especially the excellent ones. Verena Paul-Benz: Yes. As a brand, you can, however, also destroy yourself by raising your minimum orders too much, thus inflating the volume. Retailers can’t shift the surplus, resulting in excessive discounts and considerable image damage. Brands need a more global approach, always one or two steps ahead. Matthias Mey: In terms of excellent retail partners, we are now facing increased vertical competition. Take Everlane in the US, for example, with its concept of transparency pricing. Everland makes its supply chain and production steps quite transparent. An approach that shouldn’t be underestimated in the context of the sustainability debate. We are spending almost all our time talking about organic products and organic cotton, but we should take a much closer look at the entire process chain and evaluate it in terms of sustainability. Our strategy is to successively allow consumers an insight into our production process, be it our own sites in Germany, Portugal, and Hungary or one of our partners’ sites in Eastern Europe and Turkey. Thimo Schwenzfeier: I believe the negative impact of a product also needs to be quantified and included in the price. Other than that, I see no solution for the enormous impact our industry has on the environment. Everything that has a negative impact needs a price tag. This price can be negotiated individually or by region. Naturally, the price tag in Germany has to be assessed differently than the price tag in Bangladesh. However, the fundamental idea is incredibly exciting. I am utterly convinced that we won’t change our consumer behaviour until buying non-sustainable products affects our wallets. Which incentives are necessary?

Thimo Schwenzfeier: This overwhelms the textile industry as a whole. I have to consider which goal I set for myself. I believe that the sustainable sector needs to be professionalised in order to stimulate growth. So, my definition of sustainability also includes transparency. We need a seal – a third party so to speak – that scrutinises our actions. Bernd Hausmann: I’d like to introduce another aspect that we haven’t talked about enough yet: regional consumption and the development of regional products. Let’s compare the organic apple from Chile to an apple that grows near Lake Constance. Which one is better, as in more sustainable? We consume in Germany, meaning we need to take the CO2 footprint into account. If we don’t, we create a major imbalance. Verena Paul-Benz: It would also be helpful if consumers could start thinking about both the monetary and circular economy. Those who shop in supermarkets hand their money to conglomerates. That’s why it’s helpful to buy regionally. However, we are still miles away from that. It’s my hope that we’ll get there gradually. Is sustainability the last chance for fashion to finally come up with a different argument other than: buy it because it’s new? Matthias Mey: It would make more sense to invest more in the product, thus creating favourite pieces that can be sold at a reasonable price-performance ratio. That’s our approach. We manufacture pieces that are placed at the top of the wardrobe, because they make the wearer feel most comfortable. This approach, when paired with sustainability, is an excellent combination. Verena Paul-Benz: I find it incredibly exciting to extend the lifespan of a product, to make it so balanced and perfect that it attracts attention for a long time. Thank you for taking time to discuss with us! style in progress





Today’s denim has nothing in common with the denim of tomorrow – that much is certain. Sustainable, recycled, and alternative fibres tackle the problem of high consumption of non-sustainably grown cotton at its roots. The idea is to eliminate chemical and toxic substances from the washing process. Laser technology and ozone are ways to make the finishing process cleaner. From eco-sinner to model pupil – the industry is doing its homework.


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The denim business is dirty from top to bottom, from cotton to long delivery routes. Washing, dyeing, and finishing also contribute to the utterly grim life cycle assessment of jeans. This needs to change. Leading manufacturers share their views with style in progress. Text: Stefanie Buchacher, Martina Müllner-Seybold, Kay Alexander Plonka. Illustrations: Claudia Meitert@Caroline Seidler


Rosey Cortazzi, Global Marketing Director of Isko “To make 100 percent green denim, we would have to stop producing. We do everything we can to decrease the environmental impact of denim whilst having a positive effect on people. One of the biggest challenges is greenwashing, which makes it difficult for fashion professionals to make informed choices. All Isko’s CSR achievements are verified by third parties and we provide concrete proof to underline our endeavours to help build a more responsible industry.”


Sara Maier, Denim Designer at Armedangels “Our Detox Denims are GOTS-certified. This means that no harmful pesticides are used during cotton production and no toxic chlorine during washing. These jeans are also free of heavy metals and 100 percent vegan. We are always on the lookout for ways to become even greener: in the sourcing of raw materials, the reduction of chemicals, or the saving of water. Our new goal is to manufacture denims with recycled materials and to eliminate dirty wastewater. At the end of the day, it’s the right fit that counts for the customer.”

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S u s ta i n + A b i l i t y – i n to t h e b l u e


Elena Engel, Head of Marketing at Goldgarn Denim “We’ve always had a long-term approach. We’ve launched, for example, an integrative fundraising campaign for ‘Aufwind Mannheim’, a charity for socially disadvantaged children. We donate one Euro for every pair of jeans sold. Denim depletes natural resources during manufacturing, so our top priority always was – and still is – a careful selection of business partners. For example, we buy denim exclusively from Isko Denim, a company that boasts strictly audited certificates such as ÖkoTex 100, GOTS, OEP, ISO 9001, ISO 9002, and others. This lends us a feeling of certainty. Isko Denim has also been working on organic components and recycling processes for a long time, both of which are tipped to replace cotton in jeans in the future. Even our little manufactory was chosen carefully. It’s very familiar and fair. Every employee feels valued and identifies with the product.”


Susanne Schwenger, CPO of Marc O’Polo “The use of natural materials has always been engrained in Marc O’Polo’s DNA. Twelve years ago, we were one of the first brands to switch to organic cotton. We are significantly expanding the range of modern organic products in our main Marc O’Polo Casual collection. We currently offer 70 styles, but this number rises to 90 in spring/summer 2020. The Casual Men delivery date in June 2020 relies exclusively on organic cotton. As part of our initiative, we are also switching important key items and volume drivers to organic cotton, without increasing the price. Our young Marc O’Polo Denim line follows the main collection’s example by promoting the use of organic cotton and Tencel, as well as recycled materials. We’re equally proud of our Less-is-More Denim range, where special garment finishing techniques save water and energy. Depending on the look, we can even forego the use of chemical substances.”


Erwin Licher, Founder of Herrlicher and Mr. Licher “As soon as a pair of jeans has a certain wash, it involves the use of water and chemicals. But consumers, retailers, and employees rightly expect companies to take responsibility for their actions. We have been working with European weavers and washing plants for many years; they continuously improve environmental credentials. Our washing plants use ozone and have replaced grinding and sanding with laser technology. Our jeans are manufactured exclusively by family businesses in Europe and Morocco. Thus, we can guarantee that no child labour is involved. For us, it is important to ensure sustainability – even after purchase. We use special yarns that have higher rebound values, meaning our jeans retain their shape longer and don’t have to be washed immediately after wearing.”


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4+5 FEB 20 20






B L U E ZO N E M U N I C H . C O M # B L U E ZO N E M U N I C H


S u s ta i n + A b i l i t y – i n to t h e b l u e

LONG LIVE JEANS! Adding eco-jeans to a product range isn’t enough to make the industry green. Uncomfortable economic facts indicate radical change – and this represents a competitive advantage for denim. Text: Petrina Engelke. Poto: ©bunwit -


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he climate crisis constitutes a corporate risk. It even appears in Levi Strauss’ prospectus under this heading. The consequences of global warming, environmental pollution, and exploitation not only kill humans, but also businesses. Levi’s likes to portray itself as a pioneer in terms of sustainability goals and measures. However, when the world market leader of jeans manufacturers sought investors when it went public in March 2019, the 248-page “Sustainability Guide” was missing from the section listing positive investment arguments. The question remains how to keep the risk in check.


Excuse me, your cotton is riddled with errors in reasoning. Even cotton reacts sensitively to the new climate standards. Heat waves and drought reduce or destroy the cotton harvest, as do heavy rains and floods. Jeans brands and denim weavers had better look for alternatives. Everyone seems to be pinning their hopes on hemp at the moment. Hemp alone is, however, too scratchy for jeans. While engineers are studying its structure, scientists are experimenting with kelp algae fibre admixtures or developing new biopolymers based on bacteria and yeast fungi. In short, anyone who bases his or her business exclusively on cotton is about as smart as the people who insisted on making lamp oil of whale fat. NEW IN THE SUPPLY CHAIN: TRANSPARENCY!

Wait, we’re not done yet! Water is becoming scarce, as are fossil reserves for energy and plastic components. Ever-rising mountains of waste are raising disposal costs. At a time when customers demand quick satisfaction at the click of a mouse, an increasing number of natural disasters are jeopardising production and distribution with regular outages. To be fair, the climate crisis is asking a bit much of companies. Wailing, gnashing teeth, lobbying, and even greenwashing costs time and money. On top of it all, millennials have the cheek to demand to know who manufactured their jeans. A management consultant couldn’t ask a more significant question. Instead of despairing in the face of a mountain of problems, a transparent supply chain shows exactly where one’s own business can be dissociated from high-risk materials and processes. Both large corporations and small stores need to start perceiving the value chain as a data source for improvements. AG Jeans’ production, for example, has virtually eliminated its dependence on fresh water by installing a recirculation system in its factories in Los Angeles and Mexico City. This not only reduces the environmental and social burden, but also the costs. It also ensures ongoing operations during periods of drought, for instance. MORE THAN JUST A SOLUTION

Wouldn’t it be great to have a panacea? Wrangler has, at least, developed a water, energy, and waste reduced dyeing method. To this end, the jeans specialist teamed up with Spanish textile supplier Tejidos Royo and the Texas Tex University. Meanwhile, Levi’s and Jeanologica are keeping a close eye on the clock. In finishing, they have replaced chemicals with laser technology. Suddenly each cycle takes 90 seconds instead of two to three hours of manual work. Time is money – and going solo costs both. Through teamwork, activist groups such as the Science-Based Targets Initiative or the Fashion Industry Charter of Climate Action accelerate the salvation of the industry. They gather fashion companies and experts around a table to exchange best practices and achieve scientifically sound, measurable goals in a timely manner. Sales figures as a yardstick for success are going out of fashion. THE SECRET ADVANTAGE OF THE JEANS INDUSTRY

Enough of the theatrics! As in a romantic comedy, the main characters are the last to discover what the audience realised ages ago: longevity loves denim. Classics like the Levi’s 501, the Wrangler Blue Bell, or the Lee Riders have survived decades of trends and are now the stars in second-hand boutiques. Recycling options are thus virtually woven into the fabric. While the flimsy Fast Fashion segment is quaking in its boots after analysts predicted that it will be overtaken by the resale trend, jeans labels such as Authentic Vintage can sit back and rely on their respective inventories. Rental jeans supplied by MUD, as well as luxury upcycling businesses such as Atelier & Repairs and Re/Done, are tapping into new business fields. Even during the design phase, denim specialists can lay the groundwork for a product that involves few risks and harbours plenty of revenue potential. The fact that all these strategies also save the earth benefits the industry’s image even more. style in progress



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Every 60 seconds, a pair of jeans goes over a counter somewhere in the world. Approximately two billion pairs of jeans are sold every year. The average German consumer has seven jeans in his/her cupboard and wears them for about six years. When blue turns green, the world breathes a sigh of relief. In terms of distances covered and resource consumption, there are very few clothing items that top jeans. Even today, in 2019, all kinds of dangerous processes are still in place. Toxic agents – and even carcinogenic chemicals – are not only a problem in low-wage countries. This will and must change, according to the denim experts style in progress spoke too. Text: Petrina Engelke, Isabel Faiss, Martina Müllner-Seybold, Kay Alexander Plonka, Nicoletta Schaper. Photos: Brands




or spring 2019, the Tommy Jeans collection was supplemented with pieces made of 100 percent recycled denim for the very first time. So-called repurposed styles are added on top for the new autumn collection. 90 percent of these jeans are made of stock and material remnants: jeans, skirts, and cargo and trucker jackets. “We all share a responsibility to manufacture in a more thoughtful way, to help preserve our world’s resources,” says Daniel Grieder, the CEO of Tommy Hilfiger Global & PVH Europa. “At our Product Innovation Center in Amsterdam, we are setting new standards for producing denim styles using techniques that can reduce water, energy, and chemical consumption by up to 70 percent. It also allows us to experiment with innovative fabric and finishing techniques in real time, without having to send samples back and forth. Only by continuing to fuel this important discussion through transparency, as well as sharing best practices, can we drive our industry forward for good.”


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Tommy Hilfiger’s Product Innovation Center in Amsterdam strives to set new standards.


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e are proud members of the Better Cotton Initiative. During the first year of membership, we are planning to obtain 70 percent of our cotton from sustainable sources. Furthermore, our denim suppliers are using the newest technologies to minimise the use of water and chemicals. They create vintage looks with laser technology, for example. At Mos Mosh, we are already using sustainable fibres such as Tencel and recycled materials such as polyamide. For our NOS programme, we have converted our bestsellers into 100 percent sustainable products.”

Kim Hyldahl, Founder and Creative Director of Mos Mosh




uck Moonwash”, Françoise Girbaud recently shouted at a conference on the subject of sustainability to great applause. He feels it’s his responsibility to correct the mistakes of the past. Françoise and Marithé Girbaud teamed up with the Slowear Group to launch the “Rockin the Fly” collection, which will be on sale from 2020. Roberto Compagno, the President and CEO of Incotex parent company Slowear: “A progressive project that focuses on innovation and mutual exchange between two experts.” The result: 16 pieces in denim with warp-stretch for maximum vertical elasticity and synthetic resin bonded at the leg end to allow a hem-free finish. Technical textiles treated with UV rays and ultrasound, as well as sustainable and environmentally friendly washes that have not been exposed to chlorine or chemical agents.

Sustainability is a major concern for Incotex and designer duo François and Marithé Girbaud.

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emp is an excellent material for making jeans. The cultivation of hemp requires a third of the water one needs to grow cotton, at twice the yield. Hemp grows like weed, meaning it grows dense enough to allow farmers to forego pesticides. Sounds perfect? Well, the fibre is also more robust than soft cotton, thus pure hemp jeans would lack the typical feel and look. Anara therefore relies on a blend of 54 percent hemp, 44.5 percent organic cotton, and 1.5 percent spandex. The Canadian-Australian brand strives to replace conventional jeans with a product that is not only more environmentally friendly and humane to manufacture, but also lasts longer. Anara highlights the slow fashion effect of its men’s and women’s jeans. Hemp fabric is more durable than pure cotton and, thanks to its antibacterial qualities, does not need to be washed as often.

Hemp pioneers from Australia: Anara.



Maria Svensson, Founder of Maska


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e are working with fabrics that are made from a blend of hemp and organic cotton, dyed with real indigo. It’s appreciated both for its beauty and long life. Hemp is also amazingly comfortable to wear in summer due to its linen-like quality. It is strong and durable, grows fast, and requires very little water and pesticides. In terms of production we avoid heavy washing and bleaching. We’d never ever dream about any sanding for distressed effects. All these treatments shorten the life cycle of the products, sometimes by many years. Recycled yarns are not for us, because they look worse and have a shorter lifespan. Quality is a priority for Maska, so that angle doesn’t work for us. In our opinion, they are perfect for home textiles, but they don’t really hold up in the luxury clothing industry.”

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n its quest for greater sustainability, Italian fashion brand Liu Jo decided to focus on jeans first. “It’s the product category that embodies the brand’s DNA and unites our core values such as femininity, glamour, and quality. It is, however, also the product that creates the most pollution,” says Marco Marchi, the Head of Style at Liu Jo. “Liu Jo denim is manufactured using sustainable techniques. Most of the denim we use is sourced from our partner Candiani. They rely on chitosan, which is a natural polymer made of 100 percent biodegradable crustacean exoskeletons, and a special dyeing technology known as Indigo Juice. The latter prevents the indigo dye from penetrating the fabric too deeply without reducing colourfastness. Jeans aren’t all about denim. We have looked into every detail to find out how we can be ‘greener’: from the labels to the buttons, even including the seams and packaging.”

Marco Marchi, the Head of Style at Liu Jo, firmly believes that the “greener” jeans line Better Denim is merely a first step. The initial findings will be transferred to the label’s entire collection gradually.



“S Five Fellas has coined the term “Unplugged Denim” in its efforts to be an antithesis to mass production. Naturally, founder Oliver Schulz pays tribute to his roots as a musician.

ustainability has always been a matter close to our hearts, not merely a PR gag,” says Oliver Schulz, the founder of Five Fellas. Candiani Denim for all models, be it fashion or NOS, is therefore self-evident. “The core of our brand claim is that sustainability isn’t more expensive. With retail prices between 100 and 130 Euros – at a mark-up of 3.0 – we can deliver a thoroughly honest product. We can achieve this by saving on overhead costs. Instead of investing in expensive machinery, we invest in quality.” Schulz adds: “This message provides retailers with a communication argument that customers find hard to reject. Nobody says no to sustainability. Nobody says no to premium quality.” After many years in the retail trade and at fashion brands, Five Fellas offers Schulz and his associates a chance to express their desire to improve the industry. “Sustainability is an integral part of making things better.”

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ru-Blu is a new, innovative Pepe Jeans project involving different techniques and processes aimed at making jeans more sustainable. It includes models that are hydrosulphite-free and use less water and chemicals. Other styles are made of organic cotton, maize, or hemp-based fibres, as well as recycled fibres. Also part of Tru-Blu: a footwear capsule called No.22. The sneakers are coated with titanium dioxide. The aim is to eliminate up to 80 percent of the harmful nitrogen oxides that are produced on the shoe when it is subjected to UV light. Fewer chemicals, reduced water consumption, and alternative fibers from hemp or corn: the sustainability formula of Pepe Jeans.




obody wanted to buy recycled fabrics or hemp denim ten years ago. What about today? Alberto Candiani, owner of Candiani Denim: Things are changing. I used to think I was talking to a brick wall, because nobody was interested in sustainable innovations. The topic is currently a top priority among many weavers and brands. All too often it is, however, merely marketing-related storytelling. If it is cultivated responsibly, cotton isn’t really the problem. 75 percent of cotton merely requires rain water to grow. It doesn’t need artificial irrigation. The sustainability movement has distorted information that needs to be clarified. You presented a fabric made of recycled fibres only in 2018. What is so special about it? We have developed a fully waste-based premium material with the assistance of Lening’s Refibra. It consists in equal parts of production waste and regenerated lyocell. It’s the first denim fabric that is both “greener” and better than conventional denim. That’s why we were presented with the ITMA Sustainable Innovation Award. The fabric is dyed with indigo and Kitotex. The latter is based on chitosan extracted from crab shells and replaces quite harmful chemicals. This saves washing water and reduces pollution. What will the future of denim weaving look like? Circularity is the only way forward. Redo, recycle, reuse, and rethink are terms that will play an important role in the near future. We need to develop new “re-denim” fabrics without quality loss and minimise our CO2 footprint. I firmly believe in the regenerative concept, based on natural fibres that can, at best, be composted after use.

Alberto Candiani believed for many years that he was “talking to a brick wall” about his sustainability efforts. Today, the interest is greater than ever.


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hen it comes to resource-sparing denim production, Düsseldorf-based label Wunderwerk is among the pioneers. “Merely using organic cotton is not enough to be truly sustainable. Fair working conditions, the avoidance of toxic substances to protect people and nature, and energy-efficient production are decisive for environmentally friendly products,” says owner Heiko Wunder. As of autumn/winter 2018, he has been able to significantly reduce the already low water consumption once more. “All washes consume less than 10 litres per pair of trousers. That’s less than a tenth compared to conventional production. Now we have three models that only require 0.7 litres,” Wunder explains. More importantly, the water is no longer wasted, but treated and reused thanks to a new high-tech laundry system at the label’s production partner. This guarantees a closed cycle. Wunderwerk has always avoided chemicals such as chlorine or potassium permanganate, especially as they need to be rinsed out again with plenty of water. Instead of laser technology, which damages the elastane fibres and causes the items to lose elasticity and durability, the label creates used effects by means of oxygen bleaching (ozone), mechanical manual work, or stone-washing. Wunderwerk has lowered its water consumption to 700ml per wash.




rangler has launched the first foamdyed denim as part of its nine-piece Icons collection. It features an “Indigood” add-on. In addition to water and energy conservation, the focus is on the use of up to 30 percent recycled cotton. The colourants are transferred to the yarns by means of foam, thus completely replacing conventional water tanks and chemical baths usually necessary for indigo dyeing. Water waste is almost completely avoided. Compared to conventional denim dyeing, the foam-dye process requires 60 percent less energy and creates 60 percent less waste. The technique was developed in collaboration with Texas Tech University. Wrangler’s denim factories in Asia and North America plan to use the technology on a larger scale.

Continuous improvement: Wrangler wants to play its part in environmental protection.

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It’s time to act – not only with fashion, but also for fashion. Business as usual is no longer an option. Every step must be questioned. Every decision must be scrutinised for its environmental aspects. Consumption and growth in harmony with ecological and economic sustainability should no longer remain a utopia. The journey is the destination. After all, sustainability isn’t a status quo, but a process.


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C YY C LL EE . .













C CT C Text: Martina Müllner-Seybold, Kay Alexander Plonka. Photos: Manufacturers


More than 100 billion new garments are produced every year. Sadly, the percentage of recycled fibres or used items that can be reprocessed to a high standard is negligible. At least until now… Research and development units are only just beginning to exploit the immeasurable potential of these particular resources.





















S u s ta i n + A b i l i t y – S a lvat i o n A r m y



produced worldwide. Researchers are therefore trying to deconstruct both natural and artificial fibres into their molecular components during recycling processes. The results are surprisingly promising. Can cotton pulp replace cotton buds? It is possible, but still only in laboratories.



he ultimate aim of industrial upcycling is clearly defined. The fibres and materials produced from recycled raw materials must at least reach the quality levels of the initial materials, if not even exceed them. Traditional recycling processes cannot deliver on a large scale, because the energy-intensive processes of modern textile recycling result in materials that are of lower quality than the virgin material. On top of that, the latter is still available much too cheaply. When a cotton t-shirt proudly claims to be “recycled”, it means that it contains at least 70 percent new cotton. The biggest pitfall in recycling is, however, that high-quality results with reused fibres also require high-standard, single-origin old goods. This is no easy feat at a time when polyester accounts for around 60 percent of all clothing


There is no sufficient financial pressure to turn the utopia of a circular economy into reality. All raw materials are still available in sufficient quantities. Thus, recycling still feels like a hobby of a handful of committed idealists. This has to change, not least because the insane volume of 100 billion new items of clothing is accelerating climate change every year. Will we only change our approach once the cotton fields are scorched by blazing heat or drowned by constant rain? Can we ask consumers to decide whether a circular economy should become the standard in the textile industry? No, say those who are eager to address the issue proactively. They are fully aware that their contribution may merely be a drop in the ocean. Change never happens when the majority remains in a comfort zone. Change happens when a few act before it becomes uncomfortable for everyone.

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“ZERO IMPACT ISN’T POSSIBLE” Nicolas Bargi, CEO of Save the Duck Save the Duck has introduced the first circular economy-compliant jacket. Do you believe a closed cycle is the answer to the question of how fashion can be more sustainable? Nicolas Bargi, CEO of Save the Duck: Absolutely. Our Circular Economy jacket is a clear statement in favour of circularity and sustainable fashion. It’s the first ever jacket to be produced with 100 percent recyclable materials. I believe that meeting consumer demand for more sustainable products is the only answer to the needs of a new generation. Luxury is a matter of quality of life, technology, and connection to nature. Circularity marks the beginning of a new era of apparel production. The success of circularity depends on the quality of the material available for recycling. What can be done on an international scale to ensure that waste is collected in a manner that makes it easier to recycle? Recycling is effective. Thus, it is the eco-efficient method of choice when implementing the principles of a circular economy. There’s an increasing number of local organisations that brands can partner with in terms of textile waste projects and upscaling the recycling output to ensure the availability of high-quality waste. I believe that’s the first step towards an international system of waste management. Do you believe companies that develop products from recycled materials should be rewarded in some way – for instance with lower taxation or duties on such products?

I firmly believe that companies should, first and foremost, put more effort into production control and behaviour. That’s more important than a rewards system. We have learned to turn off the tap while brushing our teeth, but do we know how much water it takes to produce a t-shirt? The answer is approximately 2,700 litres. As you can tell, Zero Impact isn’t possible. Producing something inevitably has an impact. However, new technologies mean every fabric can now be produced in a more sustainable manner than years ago. Sustainable is not a goal as such, but a path we must tread while challenging ourselves to improve continuously.

The sustainability of his company is a priority for Nicolas Bargi. The CEO of Save the Duck sees sustainability as a path that has no ultimate destination.

“EDUCATION AND INNOVATION DRIVE CHANGE” Javier Goyeneche, President & Founder of Ecoalf

Because there is no Planet B: Ecoalf founder Javier Goyeneche removes rubbish from the oceans.


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How do you prevent the recycled plastic you use for your collections from turning into microplastic waste that re-enters rivers and oceans when people wash their clothes? Javier Goyeneche, President & Founder of Ecoalf: In 2015, we learned that polar fleece is one of the biggest creators of microplastics. It was one of our best sellers, but we decided to stop production immediately. Today, we work with continuous fibres for all our outerwear. We are involved in the “Fiber Clean” R&D project, where new solutions are obtained that will reduce the emission of microfibres through the entire value chain. Apart from recycled cotton and wool, which natural fibres have little or no impact on the environment? And how can we solve the problem of textile waste? We have introduced low impact materials such as Sorona, Cupro, and Tencel. This season, we will launch sneakers made of Piñatex, an innovative, natural, and sustainably-sourced textile sourced from pineapple leaves. It saves 13 million tons of waste each year and has a high social impact. As the only certified B-Corp company in the Spanish fashion industry, what is your vision of public-interest economics for the future? We strive to establish ourselves as a reference in terms of sustainable lifestyle experience, whilst inspiring conscious behaviour across the board. Our Ecoalf Foundation raises awareness. We are establishing a circular economy model while cleaning the oceans. We are now focusing on expanding “Upcycling the Oceans” to the rest of the Mediterranean, as well as developing an educational programme across Europe. I would say that education and innovation drive change.

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“TRUE ACTION SHOULD START RIGHT AWAY” After decades in fashion, working for brands ranging from Armani to Ralph Lauren, Maurizio Donadi realised that this industry is the second largest polluter in the world. In order to effect change, he turned his attention to leftovers. Atelier & Repairs tackles overproduction in a creative way by making one-of-a-kind clothes from discarded textiles. Interview: Petrina Engelke. Photo: Atelier & Repairs

Mr. Donadi, you started Atelier & Repairs about four years ago. What have you accomplished so far? We measure success by the quantity of garments we were able to reimagine, upcycle, repair, and then sell again. Last year, we diverted about eight tons worth of garments from landfills. With this concept, do you consider yourself part of a circular economy? I would like very much to be part of it. For now I would say that we are definitely a responsible company in the way we do business. Sustainability is something else. I wouldn’t even touch that subject. Now I’m curious. After all, sustainable fashion is a very big term nowadays. Yes, it is a big word. I see it used by chief financial officers to describe the profitability of a company. I see this word as a commercial initiative in order to sell more. That’s why it is more important to me to be responsible for your actions than to present a sustainability strategy which does not mean anything. If a brand tells me they have a programme to be 100% sustainable in 2030, my answer is: Your company is not going to be alive by then, these are empty promises. True action should start right away. When you look at the denim landscape in particular, what has to change? Well, I don’t have all the answers. I am happy to hear news about a company washing differently, using lasers, creating new fabrics, having a budget for innovations, and actively making a more responsible product. At the same time, there is no control in all the other companies that are producing an incommensurable quantity of products with no destination. If we look at denim as a whole, there is an indescribable overproduction, with full stocks and past seasons

Despite the fact that Maurizio Donadi does not abide to collections or seasons, buyers from Bergdorf Goodman or Lane Crawford are excited about Atelier & Repairs.

of exactly the same thing. We don’t need to produce hundreds of millions of pairs of jeans for absolutely no reason. I think the idea is to produce less of better quality. So if infinite growth is not the answer, what is? Trillion dollar question! I might be controversial in what I say right now, but: The planet will survive us. So my message for everybody is to think twice before you act. And whatever you do, find a way for your project to be as responsible as possible. Not necessarily for yourself, but for the people who come after you. That’s close to the definition of sustainability. Unfortunately, there are people out there who have different objectives than having a healthy planet. There are financial interests, there is ego, there is power. There’s a tendency of making the world more superficial, so it’s more controllable. I think positive, non-violent revolutions always stem from well-informed citizens, and I think that we too need to inform ourselves more. And we cannot blame others. We need to start with ourselves. style in progress



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THE NOTION OF THE GREEN STORE Eco fashion stores used to suffer a lingering odour of old linen, oriental incense sticks, and unshaven armpits. This was reflected in the ambience accordingly. But then came the hype – and with it a new generation of concepts, each embodying the sustainability topic in its own way. One store, for example, has printed its interior furnishings on a 3D printer using recycling plastic fished out of the ocean. The circular economy boasts ever new, innovative ideas that upcycle and sustainably combine reusable materials. The price isn’t a threshold, because they’re all at it: from high fashion brands to small, owner-managed concepts. Text: Isabel Faiss. Photos: Stores


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Cameron Saul and Oliver Wayman have redefined luxury. On the back of an interdisciplinary collaboration, Bottletop has proven how much sustainability is possible today.

Bottletop, London Upcycling at High Fashion Level British design brand Bottletop, which emerged in 2002 from a cooperation with Mulberry in England, manufactures handbags for the luxury sector. They are made of leather scraps, production waste, ecologically certified leather, and collected bottle caps. Bottletop has thus become the first brand in the high fashion accessories segment to make upcycling socially acceptable. Each bag boasts certified leather sourced from agricultural programmes such as the Novo Campo, which is incidentally also committed to protecting the Brazilian rainforest. Furthermore, each model features metal bottle caps, collected in Brazil and processed by local craftsmen. The hourly wage is around 45 percent higher than the average in the respective country of production. Bottletop is therefore not only committed to ecological products, but also shoulders social responsibility. Part of the sales proceeds are passed on to the Bottletop Foundation, which supports health programmes in Ethiopia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Brazil, and England. Industrial design meets contemporary art. The Bottletop store on London’s Regent Street heralds a new approach in store design. All walls, the ceiling, and furnishings were created by 3D printers.

3D Design from Recycled Ocean Plastic Waste Bottletop opened its first brand store on London’s Regent Street in 2017. It was to be the first “zero waste” store worldwide. The launch was a two-month mega event, as the store was (quite literally) printed in front of a live audience by giant “Kuka liwa” 3D printing robots. The ingenious coup was developed in collaboration with Krause Architects and London-based AI Build. The latter harnessed artificial intelligence to teach the large-format 3D printing technology how to create complex designs without wasting precious materials. Kuka’s printers were fed with sustainably extracted filament supplied by Reflow, a start-up that specialises in reclaiming plastic waste from the ocean. Printer projections still decorate the walls of the store to this day.

“This is so exciting for us, as our customers can watch the transformation of the store from a clean exhibition space into an upcycled ecosystem. The store offers an inspiring, immersive experience that blends future-facing ecological conscience with time-honoured craftwork.” Oliver Wayman, Co-Founder of Bottletop at the store launch in 2017

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MA5’s digital changing rooms feature rice straw mat floors, while the walls are panelled with indigenous wood.

NikeLab, Shanghai, Tokyo Prestige Project with Innovative Spirit NikeLab is Nike’s innovation studio, a kind of super exclusive shop-in-shop concept in which the brand showcases its ambition to push the boundaries of what’s possible with each product. It is, however, also a stage for extraordinary collaborations with artists, new digital solutions, and – last but not least – the presentation of the newest findings in the field of sustainability. Together with Arthur Huang and Jarvis Liu of the Miniwiz design studio, which has offices in Taipei, Singapore, Beijing and Milan, Nike created a total of nine NikeLab concepts all around the globe in 2015. In the same year, Miniwiz received an award from the World Economic Forum for its out-

With its NikeLab X158 in Shanghai, Nike pushed the boundaries of store design. Among other materials, it features new composites such as eco-polyurethane made of recycled sneakers (and other Nike products) in its ceiling.

standing business model. The studio’s “Trashlab” aims to create innovative product designs and futuristic architectural concepts by recycling and upcycling reusables and production waste, thus demonstrating what is already possible and at which prices. Rice x Motherboard Nike’s briefing to Miniwiz was to use as many production material scraps as possible and to recycle old brand products. For the interior of the NikeLabs, Miniwiz relied on modular, lightweight, and flexible elements and installations. Many materials had never been used for interior design purposes before. Among them were self-developed recycled compounds such as Ricefold, a polymer reinforced with rice nanosilicic acid. Then there was ReGrind, a non-toxic, odourless eco-polyurethane as a composite of discarded and recycled Nike sneakers. The NikeLabs also feature various other materials made of, for example, electronic waste such as motherboards and PC casings, as well as discarded CDs and plastic bottles.

“We are obsessed with realising the circular economy in daily consumption. We promote the widespread introduction of a recycling system that allows us to use all materials over and over again, without waste. The most important factor for achieving this goal is our ability to demonstrate the financial viability of environmentally friendly technologies that – more often than not – have to compete with more traditional, far less sustainable technologies.” Arthur Huang, CEO of Miniwiz

The seventh NikeLab – dubbed MA5 – was launched in Tokyo in December 2016. The Miniwiz design team focused on combining nature with new technologies. The flooring is made of Nike ReGrind, a rubber compound containing recycled Nike sneakers.


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style in progress 1/2020 8 th of January 2020


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Adidas showcases its international innovations and collaborations on the subject of sustainability in its Paris flagship store.

Adidas, Paris Flagship Store as Innovation Platform Adidas regularly showcases the latest ideas from current collaborations in its flagship store on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. There is, for example, ample space for the presentation of Adidas’ cooperation with Parley for the Ocean. The brand and the NGO have developed product innovations such as running shoes with a midsole made of marine plastic using 3D printing technology. This retail space dates back to the World Climate Conference of 2015 and was meant to set an example under the motto “For the Oceans”. There’s also room for smaller prestige projects that may have a narrower radius, but are just as innovative. One of the more recent examples is a cooperation between designer Simone Post from the Design Academy Eindhoven and I:CO. The project turned old Adidas sneakers into carpets. It goes without saying that they featured the iconic three stripes.

“The industry can no longer afford to wait for instructions and guidance. That’s why we teamed up with the Parley for the Oceans network to take concrete action, thus developing new sustainable and innovative materials for athletes. The 3D printed midsole made of marine plastic is an excellent example of how we can set new industry standards by questioning the raison d’être of everything we create.” Eric Liedtke, Adidas Group In cooperation with designer Simone Post and the company I:CO, old sneaker soles were transformed into carpets for the store.


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100Class Concept Store, Prague Timelessness and Minimalism

Store owner Vendula Stoklásková launched 100Class in Prague in 2015.

Vendula Stoklásková picked the perfect spot in Prague’s city centre for her concept store for fair and ecological fashion. A small, highly creative, and independent art and fashion scene has established itself in the heart of the old town. Even as early as 2015, when she launched her store, the concept fell on fertile ground. The people of Prague have long since internalised awareness for prudent consumption. Sustainability was part of your business model from day one? Or did it evolve in this direction gradually? Yes, it was an integral part right from the beginning. We even use Vivienne Westwood’s motto: “Buy Less, Choose Well”. I have been buying long-lasting and timeless things all my life, especially clothes. Through my work, I strive to show how it can work in everyday life. I know it is now a trend, but we aren’t into trends. We prefer long-lasting things. It should be natural to think about things we buy and use. To what extent do Prague consumers demand sustainability from a fashion store? I would say that it’s not the customers’ idea. As I said, it is becoming more popular, but it will need time. In my opinion, it is better to speak with people about it than to push them by telling them to buy this or that. Or to tell them not to buy something. Everybody needs to find their own way. What’s your main focus? The products have to be of high quality, because they need to be both timeless and long-lasting. Our old interior set a sustainable mood. We had used industrial spools as a table base, for example. For the redesign, we asked friends for some favours. We were given leftover fabrics, which we upcycled and used as a cover for the cubes. Even the cubes were part of a different store before. We are preparing a new fitting room, which will be built from materials sourced from a previous design fair stand. We consider all aspects, not only the products we stock. Where do you see the biggest chance for sustainability in the fashion retail trade? In conscious customers….

“It’s better to speak to people than to tell them what to buy and what not to.” Vendula Stoklásková

Upcycling and recycling are just as important at 100Class as vintage furniture from other stores.

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S u s ta i n + A b i l i t y – S a lvat i o n A r m y

“Ethic Attic can be called a pioneer in Slow Fashion and sustainability in Bangalore. We are glad to see it growing now, both in Bangalore and other parts of India.” Rema Sivaram

Ethic Attic, Bangalore Ambassador for New Solutions When Rema Sivaram launched Ethic Attic in Bangalore in 2016, she knew that she would be pioneering a philosophy that was not very popular in the domestic fashion industry, especially given the dominance of so-called Fast Fashion. Slow Fashion and sustainable business practices still have a rather small fan base in India, but it is growing slowly but surely. Rema Sivaram organises events and tours the country with pop-up stores as an ambassador. At the same time, her store informs designers about new fabrics made of aloe vera, banana fibres, or lotus, and organises bulk orders from the respective manufacturers. Ethic Attic now showcases more than 20 brands from all over India – all selected on the basis of strict criteria. To what extent do Indian consumers demand sustainability from a fashion store? As a country that belongs to the region where most of the Fast Fashion is produced, access to cheap Fast Fashion is very easy – and that is challenging. Sustainability was part of our lives a couple of decades ago, but then mass production took over. So the path back to sustainability is fairly easy for us. However, the sheer volume of cheap fashion is a huge problem to deal with. Discussions about the fashion revolution and the negative impact of Fast Fashion has helped the movement to grow. There is also this myth that sustainability is expensive and unsuitable for average consumers. We are trying to debunk that myth. What is your approach to sustainability? There are hundreds of little things that add up to a reasonably sustainable product. I say reasonable, because keeping the price affordable is important in terms of popularising sustainability in the mainstream. More often than not, a 100 percent sustainable product isn’t achievable. So whenever we choose brands, we look at the ethos behind the brand and whether the sustainability quotient comes from a deeper understanding of the concept, or whether the term is merely being used because it is easy to sell. I look for at least 80 percent sustainability compliance before choosing a brand. So, sometimes the underlying process is more sustainable than the product. However, I can confidently state that each and every product in our store can be attached to the one of the 17 SDGs. 074

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The store design features old transport boxes. The paper bags are made of recycled newsprint in a neighbouring workshop for the disabled.

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Kowtow, Wellington The Soul of New Zealand Gosia Piatek opened her brand store Kowtow in 2007. It fell on fertile ground at the time, because sustainability awareness is a long-standing tradition in New Zealand. Accordingly, her store reflects the key characteristics of her homeland: simplicity, reduction, and generosity. The entire interior design was created by Rufus Knight, a local architect and interior designer who exclusively works with natural, sustainable, and locally grown materials. Space is the New Luxury At Kowtow, the ceiling-high structures and symmetrically arranged shelving systems are particularly striking, mainly because the store itself benefits greatly from the expansiveness of the large rooms. All materials are natural and locally sourced. In Piatek’s eyes, this reflects the new definition of luxury. Sustainably cultivated and hand-harvested bamboo, refined with organic hard wax, can be found everywhere. The counter and displays are made of Valchromat, an FSC-certified chipboard composite made of recycled wood shavings. The store’s sofas are upholstered with renewable and compostable fibres such as virgin wool blends. The linen curtains are made of sustainably cultivated linen, which has been processed using a dew-drying technique. The hand-crafted ceramic tiles by Gidon Bing, a local artist, are a real eye-catcher. The rugs are made of recycled synthetic materials. Some of them contain old fishing nets reclaimed from the ocean. Ceiling-high shelf structures made of domestic woods, spacious sofas, and a living room atmosphere in the changing rooms make Kowtow a home away from home.

“The store opening is an opportunity to bring the Kowtow ethos into a physical space. The only option for us was to engage interior designer and architect Rufus Knight, as he is leading the charge with innovative interiors. Every detail was considered: from the recycled nylon rugs to the New Zealand grown and milled timber.” Gosia Piatek

Carpets made of recycled nylon – among others fishing nets reclaimed from the ocean – and tables made of recycled chipboard are just some of the features Kowtow boasts.

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S u s ta i n + A b i l i t y – S a lvat i o n A r m y

Clean chic without compromise: Mira Höpfner and Wiebke Clef of Glore in Altona are not convinced by the marketing campaigns of large companies. Their concept is based on credibility and transparency, down to the smallest detail.

Glore, Hamburg Altona The Niche’s Niche All eight Glore stores, located in Germany and Lucerne in Switzerland, are owned by the same family and share the same concept. They are, however, not franchises, but independent businesses. One of the youngest – even in a figurative sense – is the Glore store in Hamburg Altona. It was opened on the 1st of March 2019. Here, owner Mira Höpfner quite deliberately focuses on a niche within the niche: sustainable and fairly manufactured streetwear for young customers between 20 and 40 years of age. Like every member of the Glore team, she can draw from the know-how and experience of Bernd Hausmann, the founder of Glore who opened the first store in 2006 in Nuremberg. No Limits In line with the Glore philosophy, Mira Höpfner has clear sustainability guidelines and a specific catalogue of criteria that a collection must meet in terms of production, materials, working conditions, and fair trade. But there are also no limits to sensible shopfitting ideas that make everyday store life more sustainable. Most of the furniture is made of a wood-linoleum compound. The store also features untreated structural steel and LED lighting. Every work step is assessed for a more sustainable alternative – always. Glore in Hamburg Altona has set out to inspire a young target group for GOTS-certified and Fair Wear Foundation-compliant fashion. This kind of fashion thrives on storytelling – a dream in terms of social media. “We are still a long way off the mainstream. The pool of labels that fit our concept is still relatively small. Here in Altona, we strive to showcase brands that translate sustainability into cool, fresh streetwear styles. That’s our niche within the niche, so to speak.” Mira Höpfner


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Part of the Glore family: Mira Höpfner and Wiebke Clef (pictured) jointly manage the new Glore store in Hamburg Altona.


The Maiyet Collective, Mayfair, London The Spirit of Community

The Maiyet Collective has made a name for itself quickly, not least with a pop-up store at Harvey Nichols.

For The Conduit in Mayfair, The Maiyet Collective showcased an exclusive selection of sustainable cosmetics. The Conduit is London’s first members’ club dedicated to social engagement and bringing NGOs together with investors.

Top model Arizona Muse is a The Maiyet Collective ambassador. Here she is attending a lunch event dedicated to sustainability.

The Maiyet Collective is a travelling monthly pop-up store that showcases a rotating lineup of 50 labels that are dedicated to sustainability. The concept is the brainchild of Paul van Zyl, a South African who initially made a name for himself as an advocate for human rights and environmental activist. He launched the Maiyet high fashion label in New York in 2011. The idea was born out of the fact that the fashion industry ranks second among the world’s worst environment polluters. Van Zyl believes that luxury brands have the leverage to change the status quo gradually. His collective enjoys the backing of brands such as Ecoalf, Eleven Six, Stephen Webster, and Swedish Stockings. Ever since The Maiyet Collective celebrated its debut in the centre of Mayfair in London in October 2018, it has been meeting regularly to exchange ideas and present shared values in a pop-up store. The aim is to convince others of the feasibility of the concept. The pop-up store has already made appearances in prestigious locations such as Harvey Nichols and The Conduit London. How do you select the brands and stores you team up with? Olivia Mansson: There’s a huge amount of research that goes into each brand selection and the choice of location. As all retailers have their own customer base and target groups, it’s in everyone’s interest to curate a brand selection which proves an excellent fit for all respective profiles. What about the economic output of the project? Could this be a long-term business model? Or is it a short-term project? We see it as both. It’s a business idea. We truly believe in the concept and the increased demand for experiential shopping, as well as conscious consumption. Do you see a growing demand for sustainable retail concepts? We consider the demand to be so great that conventional retailers must adapt – meaning not only what they sell, but how they operate in terms of both products and practices. “We’d like to share our ethos with the world and a pop-up concept enables us to do so.” Olivia Mansson

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S u s ta i n + A b i l i t y – S a lvat i o n A r m y

GREEN OR GREENWASHED? The fashion industry has finally discovered sustainability. It goes without saying that not everything that glitters green is actually green. Environmentally and socially compatible production throughout the entire value chain is a bottomless pit. This becomes apparent very quickly once one delves into the topic. style in progress asked renowned experts to put popular sustainability myths to the check and to make concrete proposals for action. Text: Petrina Engelke, Martina Müllner-Seybold, Kay Alexander Plonka, Nicoletta Schaper. Photos: Interviewees

“HALF THE FASHION CUSTOMERS ARE ON THEIR WAY TO SUSTAINABILITY” Many retailers claim that customers don’t care about sustainability. What does your market research say? Jens Cornelsen, Managing Director of Facit Research: The significance of sustainability, especially in the context of aspects relevant to buying, has been on the rise for many years. It’s actually the third most important of ten factors now. 10 to 15 percent of all fashion buyers pay very close attention to ecological and social sustainability. And in our experience, more than half are - more or less - on their way to sustainable buying and consumption. The number of consumers who actively research sustainability on the Internet is equally impressive. Why do so few people turn to fashion retailers for advice? Because the topic of sustainability has simply not fully trickled down to regional retailers yet. Such local retailers still adhere to old sales rules and “kneejerk” principles. The focus is still too often on short-term sales, discount campaigns, and 40 percent price cuts. Last but not least, the staff is, generally speaking, not really “into” the subject yet. Before I, as a customer, ask a shop employee who has no idea about this topic or subjectively intervenes in favour of a certain brand, I’d rather simply ask the “neutral Internet”. 078

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Jens Cornelsen is the Managing Director of Facit Research. The market research institute has published a large study on the topic of sustainable consumption.

Your sustainability index takes three factors into account. In your experience, which one is subject to the most greenwashing? We believe that ecological sustainability is most affected by greenwashing. This aspect is currently the most important focus of customer attention and also enjoys the highest priority in public reporting. That greenwashing is the wrong strategy in times of complete transparency via the Internet is also demonstrated impressively by our study results. Two-thirds of consumers say that they would most definitely turn their backs on a company that merely pretends to be sustainable.

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“ORGANIC COTTON ISN’T THE ANSWER” Can organic cotton save the world? Professor Maike Rabe, Department of Textile and Clothing Technology, Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences: Organic cotton is a step in the right direction, but not the answer. Only one percent of the 25 million tons of cotton is farmed organically. Less than five percent of global arable land is allocated to cotton farming. The growth limit has been reached, because even artificial irrigation cannot increase yields any further. Sustainable cultivation does, at the very least, not involve pesticides or genetically modified seeds. However, the fibre alone doesn’t constitute a sustainable product! Can organic cotton work at low prices? The balancing act between consumption with a clear conscience and inexpensive clothing is challenging. Since organic cotton is expensive, companies save elsewhere – on wages for example. Unfortunately, even the more expensive brands don’t guarantee that the seamstress earns more. Despite the industry’s turnover remaining unchanged, the number of sold garments has doubled in 15 years! That should not be the case. Are synthetic fibres an environmental sin? No. The volume of cotton is not sufficient for the world’s population. Crude oil, the raw material of synthetic fibres, is finite and products don’t decompose. They are, however, interesting in terms of recycling. For example, one can transform transparent plastic bottles into fibres. The process is finite, because these fibres cannot be recycled again after use. Are there green alternatives to crude oil? Yes, for example sugar cane or corn starch. However, fibres based on these materials are not always biodegradable. At least there are biological and chemical approaches to fibre degradation and recycling. In any case, society’s shift towards sustainability is releasing innovative energy for finding new ways of extracting raw materials and recycling. There is a light on the horizon!

Maike Rabe, a professor at the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences, is optimistic: “Society’s shift towards sustainability is releasing innovative energy.”

Fast fashion suppliers, discounters, and sporting goods manufacturers are increasingly focusing their marketing efforts on products that are supposedly manufactured in an environmentally friendly way. What’s the catch? Marie Nasemann and Norian Schneider, hosts of the fairknallt. de blog: The main problem is usually the negligible percentage of such products in the overall range of suppliers. At the same time, advertising for these products is disproportionately loud, which can create the impression that the entire product range has been produced sustainably. This is classic greenwashing. If the real motivation is to derive knowledge on how to make your entire production more sustainable, then sustainable collections are a good thing. However, we rarely see this in practise. How can retailers and consumers protect themselves from greenwashing? So-called information asymmetries, as in manufacturers knowing more about production than customers and retailers, are very difficult to overcome. Currently, independent seals are the best option. Industry associations, voluntary agreements, own certificates, and codes of conduct are, in our opinion, a sham. They don’t entail the possibility of sanctioning companies for violations. This is where politics must be held accountable. We need laws to ensure that the most basic human rights are respected. Can we really produce fairly and sustainably on a grand scale? There must be a fundamental rethink. The problem is the shortterm approach taken by companies, whose success is measured quarterly rather than long-term. The term sustainability must be interpreted correctly. The concept should encompass the harmony of ecological production, sound social production conditions, and economic profitability for all involved parties. It’s the so-called “three-pillar model”. The term is often equated with “environmentally friendly”, which creates the impression that economic factors are neglected, that social issues need to be mentioned separately, and that environmental issues are an additional burden for companies. Effective sustainability management will be decisive for success or failure in the future.

Marie Nasemann, an actress, model, and fair fashion activist, and Norian Schneider, a sustainability scientist, host the blog

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“THE CONSUMER IS NOT THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL” Why does so much unworn clothing end up in the trash? Jutta Wiedemann, Professor of Clothing Design and Collection Development, Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences: Because too many interchangeable goods are being produced. Due to a strong focus on numbers in sales, the design aspect was, quite literally, trimmed down. The willingness to take risks in fashion has thus fallen by the wayside. Now people are surprised that brands no longer have an authentic profile. What needs to change? Product managers will have to take more risks in the future. Multimedia information has made the modern consumer increasingly unpredictable. This is an opportunity for design, provided that product managers really let designers do their job! Even some of the newer, more sustainable brands, such as Armedangels for example, have surprising assortment sizes. Does the consumer really need a choice of four dark cotton t-shirts without imprints and with round necklines? Compressing the assortment is also sustainable – with the task of developing products in line with the brand identity that the consumer perceives. This would extend the life cycle of the product and tie the customer more closely to the brand, as well as its philosophy. Doesn’t the consumer want a wide range of products? It’s a myth that the consumer is the root of all evil. Why do entire collections end up on rubbish tips or in furnaces due to brand protection motives? If companies would focus on the uniqueness of their products, the consumer would perceive the brand more authentically and there would be fewer discount battles. This fashionable and brand-strategic reflection is completely lacking.

Jutta Wiedemann wishes fashion less interchangeable clothing. That would be an important step towards more sustainability, says the professor at the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences.

Sustainable jeans for 13.99 Euros – is that even possible? Mostafiz Uddin, Owner of Denimexpert (a sustainable denim manufacturer in Bangladesh) and initiator of various sustainability conferences in Bangladesh: In this context, I would like to quote a recent study by ABN-Amro, which concluded that there are additional costs in the production of jeans that should make such a price impossible. These are the additional environmental costs and damages caused by the consumption of already scarce water resources, as well as the pollution of water. In addition, there are the social costs resulting from the exploitation of workers and wage dumping. If these costs are added to the retail price of a pair of jeans, the price would have to be significantly higher. A price that low mostly suggests cotton cultivation in India and jeans production in Bangladesh. The study also states that jeans that are manufactured reasonably should cost about 30 Euros. A change in consumer behaviour could help towards closing this gap by buying more responsibly. It’s not easy to navigate the jungle of certificates and standards. There are both national and international standards. What is your advice for consumers and sourcing employees? What can one really rely on? As we all know, prices don’t reflect whether workers have been treated well or whether environmental requirements have been met. We’re all aware that there are cost implications in adopting a more sustainable approach to production. That’s why it’s all the more important to make the environmental, social, and ethical standards of a product transparent. This allows the end consumer to make a more informed purchase. They can decide whether they are ready to pay a little more for a pair of jeans that has been manufactured in line with standards. Introducing a “Green Tag”, which I believe doesn’t exist currently, wouldn’t be a bad idea. It must be easy for customers to recognise what is green and what isn’t.

Mostafiz Uddin is an international champion of Bangladesh’s reputation as a production location. His own denim production is regarded as a model in social and ecological matters.


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S u s ta i n + A b i l i t y – S a lvat i o n A r m y

Photo: Tony Muzzatti

“REDUCTION IS THE TOP PRIORITY” The fashion industry relies on resources ranging from cotton to oil. What does this mean for business? Taking the planet to its limits does not only affect consumers. Companies are also at risk. The climate crisis is affecting their supply chains and operations. Anyone who takes the issue seriously will soon notice that sustainability is not merely an answer to image risks, but also safeguards a company’s viability. What is the discussion within the fashion industry lacking? Fashion needs a holistic, systematic approach to recycling, as well as an honest perspective on production and consumption habits. The discussion lacks the SDG 12 question. How can the industry meet demands in a new way that isn’t based on the mantra “sell more people more stuff more often”? No single sustainability measure is the right answer for the industry as a whole. There is no way around a systematic, holistic approach. Speaking of mantras. There is “reduce, reuse, recycle”… When we say “reduce, reuse, recycle”, we don’t see them as three different options. The terms are ranked. Reduction is the top priority. Then there’s “reuse”, which keeps an item in circulation. Finally, there’s recycling. The latter is not as clean as people think. It’s not the solution. Recycling fashion is really difficult, as far as blended fabrics and different melting points of synthetic materials are concerned. Which business models are feasible? There are many options, such as repair services, rental, redesign, and re-commerce (remarketing via the internet). One should consider how to keep clothes in circulation longer by focusing on quality, relevance, and recyclability of fabrics. It’s important to bear this in mind as early as the design phase. That will help the industry survive. If a store owner wants to curate a sustainable product range, what should he or she ask of brands? A few simple questions would be a good start. What are your supply chains? Who is involved? Where do you get your material from? Are you familiar with the cotton farm? Which factories produce the fabrics? Are there any subcontractors? If so, is the relationship within the legal framework? Does the material contain harmful substances? What about the production sites? Just ask honest questions about the brand and its supply chain. If it can answer them, progress has been made. If not, the brand must first find out where its raw materials come from and how its clothes are manufactured.

In the economic department of the World Resources Institute, Deborah Drew explores the role of companies in environmental protection. For a study titled “Elephant in the Boardroom: Why Unchecked Consumption Is Not an Option in Tomorrow’s Market” she looked into the fashion industry.

“LIVING WAGE?“ Many fashion brands openly acknowledge that they pay their factory workers in emerging markets the statutory minimum wage. Can consumers buy their clothing with a clear conscience? Christiane Schnura, Coordinator of Clean Clothes Campaign Germany: “No, that’s a fallacy. The minimum wage is usually based on the legal minimum wage in the respective country. In Bangladesh, for example, the minimum wage is approx. 50 Euros, but that barely covers a fifth of what people need to live. Our goal is a living wage that covers more than basic needs, but most companies are light years away from that. In their Codes of Conduct, almost all businesses have voluntarily committed to observing fundamental labour rights. But who monitors them? It is important to include local employee representatives in the monitoring process. Schöffel, Jack Wolfskin, Hess Natur, and the discounter Takko already do this. We are working to ensure that the number increases.”

Christiane Schnura is the coordinator of the Clean Clothes Campaign in Germany. She fights for better working conditions.

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S u s ta i n + A b i l i t y – S a lvat i o n A r m y


Reflection is key. In pursuit of increasing the recyclability of products, one has to question every thread and every button. That’s a positive development. After all, awareness is the first step towards guiding textile production out of the one-way street it is stuck in. Photos: Companies


Napapijri. Garments featuring different materials make recycling trickier. Napapijri addresses this problem with a Skidoo jacket made completely of upcycled Econyl fabric: outer layer, padding, and trimming. Upon purchase, customers can register the jacket and subsequently return it for reconditioning after two years.

Mud Jeans strives to be the world’s first fully circular jeans brand.


Mud Jeans. The Dutch label has received 1 million Euros from two sustainability-centred investors. Thus, Mud Jeans will be able to implement its plan to launch 100 percent recycled legwear next year. Mud Jeans already uses 40 percent recycled cotton to manufacture its seasonal collections. The ever-expanding label is available in 29 countries at more than 300 retailers. Bert van Son, the founder and CEO of Mud Jeans, says: “Thanks to technological innovations developed in collaboration with Saxion University and the Circle Economy knowledge platform, we will be capable of crafting new jeans from old jeans


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in the near future. We not only develop our products in an ecologically sustainable manner, but also take the working conditions in production facilities into account. So far, we have reused 12,000 jeans, saving the equivalent of 300 million litres of water and 700,000 kilogrammes of CO2.” Since 2013, the B-Corp certified company (business operating for the common good) has been offering its innovative “Lease A Jeans” concept. As the name suggests, this model allows customers to lease and return jeans.

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Freitag. The bags made of truck tarpaulin are legendary and reached cult status a long time ago. The Freitag brothers are upcycling pioneers. They have always manufactured their products in Switzerland, in a fair and socially responsible manner. The F-abric material, which was developed in-house for the textile collection, is equally ground-breaking. The durable fabric, which is completely compostable, is manufactured in Europe from bast fibres and Modal – with minimal use of resources. The bast fibres of flax (linen) and hemp come from France, Holland, and Belgium. These native fibres require hardly any fertiliser or pesticides. They not only protect the soil, but also consume much less water than cotton. Modal is made of Austrian beech wood. All production steps take place within a 2,500 kilometres radius from Zurich. Most importantly, the fabric is completely biodegradable and can be composted easily. The same applies to sewing threads and woven ribbons. A patented screw cap ensures that the metal trouser buttons can be removed and reused forever. The name Freitag stands for t-shirts, dresses, skirts, trousers, shirts, and jackets that are not merely sustainable and functional, but also look cool and fashionable. The brand’s website explains the production process in detail and documents all steps transparently. Imitation is highly recommended!

Freitag’s fabric of the future is based on fibres that date back to the Middle Ages.


FTC Cashmere. No matter how meticulously you plan, producing knitwear always results in small amounts of leftover yarns. FTC Cashmere has developed a technique to join these residual amounts seamlessly. Given that different yarns are combined, the result is a multicoloured thread with varying colour sequences. The perfect ingredient for unique pieces. Available from S/S 2020 onwards, retail prices range from 99 to 369 Euros.

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S u s ta i n + A b i l i t y – S a lvat i o n A r m y


Johanenlies. The passion of Coco Prange and Mike Raaijmakers is turning the old into the new. They have been producing design furniture for homes, offices, restaurants, and retailers from recycled materials since 2015. They use reclaimed pine, oak, or walnut timber and steel profiles powder-coated in contemporary colours. Johanenlies designs incorporate natural stones such as marble, serpentinite, and travertine, as well as ecological linoleum. Every item that leaves the Berlin-based manufactory is hand-crafted. In addition to coat racks with and without shelves, Johanenlies offers shelving units, side tables, dining tables, desks, and benches, as well as a range of beds and dressers. The furniture captivates with its filigree appearance and minimalist design. The company supports the Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation, which plants a tree on Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula for every Euro donated. It also educates children to be ambassadors for climate justice in special academies.

Construction timber is transformed into high-quality Johanenlies furniture.


Wolfskin Tech Lab. . The Wolfskin Tech Lab collection reflects the motto: “Born in the city, inspired by the elements, fuelled by technology.” Jack Wolfskin is the first clothing manufacturer in the world to develop waterproof and windproof jackets made entirely of recycled materials – including the high-tech membrane. The underlying technology is called Texapore Ecosphere. The material contains plastic waste, such as PET bottles, and the company’s own production waste. The latter is reprocessed into pellets and then reintroduced into the production cycle. The entire Wolfskin Tech Lab collection is 100 percent PFC-free. It exclusively uses RDS-certified down. Functionality meets modern urban lifestyle.


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Is it new? Nope – for an excellent reason! Recycling is a way to improve the miserable climate footprint of the fashion industry. So beautiful, so flattering, so animating to appreciate the old…


Lani Lees. A Berlin-based jewellery label, relies on modern seeding. Pieces are cropping up in photo shootings of hip avant-garde magazines and on Instagram. The concept: unisex, sustainable, and hand-crafted in Kreuzberg. The jewellery symbolises the fusion of gender, ethnicity, religion, and sexuality. The credo of designer Lani Berelsmann is that differences simply don’t exist. Since 2016, she has only been manufacturing to order to avoid knockdown prices and wasting resources. Accordingly, the selection and availability is limited. The current collection consists of 14 designs and 34 pieces: necklaces and bracelets, as well as rings, earrings, and safety pins. Prices range from 150 to 3,900 Euros. Some pieces are made of certified Suomi Gold, which is sourced from rivers in Finland in line with high environmental standards. The pieces made of silver and copper contain recycled precious metals from Germany. Lani Lees Studio, Berlin/Germany,,



Sealand Gear. Mike Schlebach, one of South Africa’s most famous big wave surfers, is the embodiment of upcycling. He teamed up with Jasper Eales and Meagan Webb to launch the Sealand label. It uses materials such as truck tarpaulins, advertising boards, plastic waste, tent fabric, and old sails to manufacture extremely durable bags. “By combining visually appealing upcycling elements and textures with inspiring design, we give the materials a new context,” Schlebach explains. The bags, weekenders, and backpacks are hand-crafted in Cape Town and can also be repaired there. Sealand Gear is stocked by Shopbop, Selfridges, Matchesfashion, and Mr. Porter. In Germany, the label is available at Ohhh de Cologne. The store is managed by Silvia Philipp and Gloria Massaro-Conrad, who also represent Sealand Gear via their sales agency Premium Brands GmbH. At a markup of 2.0, retail prices can reach up to 250 Euros. Premium Brands GmbH, Cologne/ Germany, T 0049.163.2519839,,

Dzaino. Hanna Sin Gebauer and Julia Hermesmeyer launched Dzaino in Berlin in 2015. Their studio in Kreuzberg, which is attached to a store on “Moritzplatz”, is where they manufacture high-quality small batches from old materials - primarily used jeans. Their product palette ranges from yoga mat bags and large travel bags to special cosmetics and shoulder bags. The discarded clothes are sourced from Berliner Stadtmission. “Our vision is to transform the textile industry from a linear to a circular system. We carefully clean, recondition, and sew the materials in collaboration with two workshops for people with disabilities,” Gebauer explains. The products are mainly made to order. Bicycle couriers transport the goods between the individual locations of the regional production chain. “Our design is inspired by the craft of patchworking and quilting. We operate in line with the upcycling principle, but still attach great importance to a clear, minimalist look. We ensure that it only becomes apparent that the product is made from an ‘old’ piece of clothing at second glance,” Hermesmeyer smiles. Personalised bags are particularly popular. Customers can mail in their old favourite jeans and have them turned into a personal bag. Dzaino Studio, Berlin/Germany, T 0049.178.2109016,,

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With people instead of against them… If fashion is to reclaim its value, one has to start at the very beginning of the production chain. Workers and manufacturers must not remain the poorest link in the chain. Be it in emerging markets or the heart of Europe, it is profoundly immoral to base one’s wealth on the exploitation of others. Those who manage to reconcile fashion and morality need not fear transparency.


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Will one still be able to consider buying or selling premium and luxury fashion that fails to live up to its responsibility in terms of sustainability? Does a higher price mean the consumer has the right to expect fair and environmentally friendly production conditions? Will sustainability thus become a prerequisite in the upscale segment? We asked around. Text: Martina Müllner-Seybold. Illustrations: Claudia Meitert@Caroline Seidler


Piero Cividini, Owner of Cividini “Sustainability is currently a huge topic, but it’s not a new idea as such. As early as 1972, the ‘Club of Rome’ presented various scenarios on how the global economy could impact the world. We were deeply impressed by those alarming findings, which is why Cividini has always attached great importance to working sustainably at all levels. I remember our experiments with purely vegetable dyed yarns many years ago. Walnuts, for example, are ideal for sepia to brown nuances. These dyes are marginally more expensive to process, but not as washable as chemical dyes. Unfortunately, there was hardly any market acceptance at that time. The sustainability topic has established itself as a long-term issue in society. Looking the other way is becoming increasingly difficult, not least due to social media. Plastic waste in the oceans, natural disasters caused by climate change, exploitation in low-wage countries… The more visible the effects of irresponsible economic activity become, the more likely it is that sustainable production will establish itself across the board.”


Emmanuel de Bayser, Co-Owner and Buyer of The Corner Berlin “Sustainability plays a major role, especially in the luxury segment! The fine quality of the products, natural materials, and production in Europe are factors that distinguish high-priced items. Sustainability is therefore a quality feature of the luxury industry. Even among our customers, we are sensing an increase in appreciation for sustainable collections.”

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Jelena Hofmann and Sedina Halilovic, Founders of Mykke Hofmann “Yes, we hope that sustainability will become compulsory, but that’s still a long way off. The entire industry must rethink and reorient itself. Retailers have to be prepared to shoulder some of the production risk and purchase corresponding volumes. In some cases they need to extend delivery windows. Consumers must be prepared to pay a higher price for sustainability. Too many are still searching for a magical all-in-one solution: sustainable, but in line with trends and readily available. We often experience that the term ‘sustainable’ is used without a clear idea of what sustainable fashion consumption actually is. It’s the responsibility of brands and retailers to communicate transparently with consumers and to educate them. Ultimately, strictly sustainable fashion would require slamming the brakes on consumption. Everybody would need to produce less and consume less. We perceive this as the greatest challenge. And we believe that most consumers, even in the premium/luxury segment, are not ready for this step yet. “


Christian Ogait, Investment Fund Papa Oscar “Labels and brands without sustainable strategies will lose market shares. Especially Generation Y and its successors are highly sensitised in dealing with the topic, and thus their own futures. Consumers and industry alike have an increasingly better understanding and better solutions for more sustainable products. Nevertheless, luxury and the protection of our environment will still push the limits of technology and feasibility in many years to come.”


Angelika Schindler-Obenhaus, Board Member at Katag AG “We only have one planet. Therefore, premium and luxury suppliers also have to address the issue of sustainable production.”


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The discussion about child labour in the textile industry distracts from the industry’s true human rights problems. An opinion piece by Georg Wimmer

It is no coincidence that the term “textile industry” doesn’t even feature in the last child labour report published by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The authors of the strategy paper on the elimination of child labour by 2025 also don’t even once mention the industry. The production of fabrics and t-shirts no longer poses a major problem for the global view of the phenomenon. More than two thirds of the world’s working girls and boys are employed in agriculture. The vast majority of minors work side by side with their parents. Most children who work also attend school. Anyone who wants to combat exploitative child labour effectively must have these facts in mind. Nevertheless, the textile industry is anything but a haven of joy and happiness. It harbours forms of extreme exploitation, such as the Sumangali system in India. Young women are promised an opportunity to earn the dowry for their marriage in a short period of time. In fact, they are isolated from their families, have to work 80 hours a week, and forced to sleep in filthy holes. The battle against such modern forms of slavery requires different strategies to those implemented against what is commonly subsumed under child labour. When cases of child labour in the textile industry become public today, they usually involve girls between 14 and 16 years of age who are prohibited from working in factories due to the harsh environment there. It’s bad enough, but the media’s fixation on the subject widely ignores the real human rights problems

within the industry. As a rule of thumb, the exploitation of children occurs particularly often in an environment that also exploits adults – where the state doesn’t regulate, where trade unions are forbidden, and where people are forced to work hard for starvation wages. This is the real scandal. Women in the Ethiopian textile industry are currently paid 23 US Dollars per month. In Myanmar and Bangladesh the wage stands at 95 US Dollars. In Cambodia, it’s 182 US Dollars. Let’s imagine a couple in Bangladesh. Both individuals work full-time, approx. 60 hours per week. They have to pay for the transport to the factory. Huts in an upscale slum cost rent. How much can they possibly have left to live on? And who does the laundry, cooks, and looks after the little children when the parents are hardly ever at home? It’s the children who have been forced to shoulder the so-called “reproductive” tasks that women used to undertake. The issue of child labour in the textile industry distracts from the real problems, as heartless as it may sound. Focusing on the children charges the debate emotionally. It also depoliticises it by suggesting that everything is fine as long as girls and boys aren’t forced to work. We’ll just talk about wages some other time.

Georg Wimmer is a journalist and author. His book “Kinderarbeit - ein Tabu. Mythen, Fakten, Perspektiven” has been published by the Mandelbaum Verlag.

1 Global Estimates of Child Labour: Results and Trends, 2012–2016. ILO, Geneva, 2017 Ending child labour by 2025: A review of policies and programmes. ILO, Geneva, 2018 style in progress



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SUSTAINABILITY IS AN ATTITUDE Excellent working conditions, high quality, and constant process optimisation are topics some companies, family businesses in particular, have always been aware of. For them, sustainable management is not something only to be considered when it’s trendy. Thinking of the next generation is their overriding principle. Text: Isabel Faiss, Martina Müllner-Seybold. Photos: Manufacturers


or me, sustainability begins with talking about terms,” says Marco Lanowy, the Managing Partner of Alberto. “We simply shouldn’t accept a return rate of 10 percent, shouldn’t produce special items, and shouldn’t inject additional or flash collections into the market. We all know that they are only seemingly successful. In reality, these practices waste resources: for the goods, for transport, and even within the company. Ultimately, it leaves us with stock that is no longer marketable – and that harms us all: the brand, the trade, and the environment.” The increased interest in sustainability issues is a serious topic for Alberto, but not a reason to engage in agitative activism. “We are a company that has existed almost 100 years. It is not our mission to paint it as green as possible now, but to ensure it can last another 100 years. It goes without saying that we must and can give answers. But for me, sustainability doesn’t end with upping the percentage of organic cotton in our trousers. Sustainability is in fact about creating a product with which the consumer can, in turn, contribute to sustainability. The rebound rate of our trousers is so excellent that you don’t have to wash them after wearing them once. Or simply put: it lasts, it fits, and it’s a favourite piece.” HEEDING THE MARKET

Particularly in this respect, Alberto has benefitted greatly from the direct exchange with consumers, be it in its own store in Mönchengladbach or at bicycle trade shows. The latter is where Alberto presented its cycling jeans after conventional retailers had only shown vague interest. “The result of this dialogue: around 100 new retailers who were convinced by Alberto’s cycling jeans alone. Of course one could say that 090

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sustainability and growth are a paradox, but we can proudly say that we’ve always generated our profits in a socially responsible manner. I firmly believe this to be the fundamental responsibility of every entrepreneur,” Lanowy argues. “As a company, we need to keep several factors in balance: the fair payment of workers, the conservation of resources in all finishing processes, and the interests of the market and customers. All this also needs to harmonise with our business interests. We are fortunate enough to be a family business, not a mere investment asset that needs to grow every quarter. This allows us to understand sustainability as what it is: a never-ending process in which you can take small steps every day to improve things.” POWERFUL OR POWERLESS?

“100 billion new garments per year? When I hear such figures, I am incredibly ashamed of my industry,” says Mark de Lorme, who launched the Dutch womenswear brand Penn & Ink N.Y together with his wife Felice. “It’s a mess. In view of such figures it is self-evident that it’s not a matter of making our fabrics a little more organic. God knows I can’t come up with a solution for the industry as a whole, except that I realise that real change can only happen when the big players fall in line too. When they change, things can really change. But will they? Our economic principle would have to change for that to happen. The principle of growth, which towers above everything else, would have to be called into question.” The issue of sustainability makes the owner of the successful contemporary brand contemplative. “I ask myself what we could do better every day. We benefit from the fact that our daughter joined the business. Her generation asks this question more emphatically. My wife Felice and I had a different reason for launching our brand at the time. The reason had a lot to do with sustainability. We still strive to create real icons. Once a woman has found the perfect blue blazer, she doesn’t need ten more. Our ambition is to create such favourite items.” Longevity before trends is a guiding principle at Penn & Ink N.Y. “Trends don’t inspire me much, but vintage inspires me greatly. It requires a lot of class for a piece to remain up-to-date and beautiful years after. With this model in mind, many things rule themselves out automatically – poor quality, for example. Lousy things aren’t vintage, they’re garbage.”


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“Sustain­ability begins with talking about terms.”

Marco Lanowy, Alberto

Helping the consumer do better: one wears excellent products for a long time instead of throwing them away.


Manufacturing in Europe, mainly in Portugal, is therefore of great importance for Penn & Ink N.Y. “These production partners are like family. It is our joint endeavour to improve quality and to promote sustainability. However, we also have to grant our suppliers time to become more professional in these areas. For neither our brand nor the environment will benefit if we all switch to alternative materials, of which we have no experience in terms of longevity, in a knee-jerk reaction.” De Lorme draws confidence from the fact that demand is changing supply: “That’s our leverage, even as a small business. Pulling that lever results in change for the better.” Penn & Ink N.Y strives to create iconic pieces that one can keep for ages.

“Lousy things aren’t vintage, they’re garbage.”

Mark de Lorme, Penn & Ink N.Y


Slow fashion is the principle with which Melanie and Dirk Nienaber implement their commitment to sustainability in their Silk Sisters collection. “As a family business, we endeavour to make great strides and do whatever we can. In the case of Silk Sisters, we have already reached 85 to 90 percent of our target. We only produce what has been ordered in the pre-order phase. Our production partners are fair and socially responsible. We set aside a maximum of 5 percent as a reserve to be able to satisfy our customers’ re-order requests. We don’t have NOS stock programmes, because the product itself is NOS,” explains Dirk Nienaber of Marlino Group. In the Silk Sisters collection, designer Melanie Nienaber makes a straightforward fashion statement with a long-term perspective. “We strive to encourage our customers to buy a sophisticated, long-term wardrobe with pieces that can be easily combined, accentuated with individual highlights. If we have a successful design, we don’t mind sticking with it for a few seasons.” In doing so, the duo deliberately speaks out against the concept of an ever-increasing oversupply of fashion. A FINE LINE

Dirk Nienaber is aware of the discrepancy between an entrepreneur’s striving for growth and its compatibility with the reduction of the ecological footprint. “This is a difficult subject. Of course we want to grow too, but to a degree that is sustainable for us and the environment. The overproduction in fashion is excessive. Producing in Europe allows us to respond to demand flexibly and to produce based on demand, thus ensurstyle in progress



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ing that we no longer contribute to the increasing oversupply.” Marlino Group is committed to keeping Silk Sisters’ ecological footprint as minimal as possible, with initiatives that go far beyond the product itself. “In my opinion, the market for slow fashion is growing as customers become more aware,” Melanie Nienaber muses. One indicator of this is the positive response to the brand’s slow fashion messages on Instagram.

“The market for slow fashion is growing.”


“No, my watch isn’t broken. I set all my watches to five to twelve,” says Robert Laner, a co-founder of the sustainable Erdbär label. “I think that says a lot about my personality. Once we’ve accomplished our mission, I might set my watches to a different time.” The entrepreneur, who is barely thirty years old, has a clear road map and pursues ambitious goals. #Worldchanger is not only Erdbär’s motto, but also one of the best-selling claims on Erdbär t-shirts. Erdbär has already convinced around 250 retailers in eight countries. It also runs two own concept stores alongside a lively online business. They set fashion trends, even in companies and their dress codes. One of the stores is located in Salzburg’s Europark, a high-frequency shopping centre. “That’s where we can educate. It’s no use hiding sustainable stores in the twenty-eighth street on the left,” says the entrepreneur,

Melanie Nienaber, Marlino Group

For Silk Sisters, sustainability is not limited to the product, but encompasses a holistic approach.

who was a policeman before launching his company in 2013. Is he now the policeman of sustainable consumption? “Not at all, the last thing people need is a wagging finger. Sustainability needs to be uncomplicated and easy. It should be fun and cool.” COURAGE TO BE AUTHENTIC

“It’s important that we take the first step. It’s not about being perfect. I certainly don’t live a hundred percent sustainable life yet – I admit that openly. If you refrain from moralising or claiming to be faultless, you won’t be crucified if you have no other choice than boarding a plane.” One can only afford this authenticity if the brand DNA is strong. “We must trigger a ‘yes or no’ reaction in customers. Those who don’t provoke approval or rejection, don’t provide enough orientation as a brand. But that’s exactly what customers want. They want to make a statement with their Erdbär piece.” Laner wishes retailers would follow suit: “Retailers must be able to clearly state what their respective DNA is. Many new, sustainable concepts are good at this, because their mission is defined by ecological and social values.” #Worldchangers don’t only exist on the brand side.

“Sustainability needs to be uncomplicated and easy.” Robert Laner, Erdbär Is a sustainable label allowed to drive in the fast lane? Erdbär says yes, as long as you change the world while doing so.


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“I’M LOOKING FOR UNCOMPROMISING QUALITY” As the founder of the label bearing his name, Stefan Brandt, who initially studied physics, has a very special approach to sustainability. An approach that contradicts the conventional rules of cotton production. Interview: Nicoletta Schaper. Photos: Stefan Brandt

How can cotton be part of a sustainable fashion industry? If it is farmed organically, cotton can absolutely be part of a sustainable industry. We use high-quality Pima cotton and are working tirelessly on a revolutionary system that drastically reduces the large-scale irrigation of cotton. The cotton is only watered for the first 45 days, until the cotton boll opens. This is done in a manner that only uses as much water as absolutely necessary, which can be largely regulated with water probes and testing of moisture levels of the soil, as well as with outdoor humidity sensors and weather apps. Once the boll has opened, watering is no longer necessary! Pima cotton also develops its own defence system that makes fertilisers and pesticides obsolete. It is a truly wonderful plant that was, by the way, first cultivated 5,000 years ago in Ecuador, not in Peru. That’s where Pima cotton still finds optimal climatic conditions to flourish today! That’s why we’re working on resettling our Pima cotton in Ecuador. For cotton to find its place in an entirely sustainable fashion industry, we need the initiative of entrepreneurs with basic values that are carved in stone and monitored consistently. The downstream supply chain requires passionate partners who have internalised the same values. Over more than two decades, we have established a vertical structure with partners who share our passion. To what extent does your brand pursue sustainable goals in other fields? Irrespective of compliance with established fair trade agreements, I firmly believe that events involving the employees are at the core of social sustainability. In addition, we offer daily morning gymnastics for all our staff, joint coffee breaks, and joint nutritional lunches in our company’s own restaurant. One should also not forget to ensure sufficient light at an ergo-

As an entrepreneur, Stefan Brandt acts intuitively, scientifically, and passionately.

In order to develop special jersey pieces, Stefan Brandt’s label exclusively relies on sustainable products of the highest quality.

nomically adapted workplace. The sensitisation of an attentive approach to empathy and respect for others is a very personal concern of mine! All this helps a business to fully exploit its potential. I strive to manufacture products for people who recognise true luxury in outstanding craftsmanship and who are looking for uncompromising quality – people who are interested in how these products are made and who see the workers behind the product. I have trodden paths that others considered absurd and unfeasible, but which ultimately enable the development of superlative jersey qualities. Every effort is worth it. style in progress



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While some people continue to ask whether it’s still ok to wear wool, others are questioning the long transport routes of high-grade fibres such as cashmere. Sustainability in the knitwear sector is a particularly complex topic, especially as animal welfare is an additional factor alongside traditional issues of social and environmental compatibility. style in progress asked experts for their opinions. Text: Stefanie Buchacher, Martina Müllner-Seybold, Kay Alexander Plonka, Nicoletta Schaper. Photos: Manufacturers

Essential for the Warm Me brand: working with Nepalese producers to push for improvements. Theresa Steinbacher, the Brand Director of Warm Me, travels to Nepal three times a year to initiate improvements on site. “Our ambitions, such as plastic-free packaging, are often miles away from the pressing problems of our Nepalese partners. In Nepal, people are still hoping for measures that secure their livelihoods. Our issues often seem like luxury problems to them.”


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“THE PROBLEM IS LUXURY AT CHEAP PRICES” Animal rights activists and environmentalists are targeting fur suppliers and cashmere knitwear specialists. Rightly so? Theresa Steinbacher, Brand Director at Warm-Me: No. If cashmere is produced properly, it is certainly one of the most sustainable yarns out there. The keeping of cashmere goats is limited to certain regions, which is why they cannot be factory farmed. In addition, the yarn can usually be obtained without the animals suffering any harm. The only reason the situation has changed is the increasing demand for cashmere, coupled with decreasing revenues. If you want luxury for cheap, something inevitably goes amiss. I find it rather hypocritical that fast fashion chains are pointing fingers at cashmere and discrediting the product. After all, the production conditions they criticise are the result of offering a cashmere sweater for 39 Euros. I am confident in saying that you can source “good” cashmere as long as you are willing to pay a fair price for it. For us, sustainability means working directly with manufacturers to ensure all processes in the chain run smoothly. I’m on site up to three times a year and also in daily contact with our partners. A second, very essential point: no item should be surplus. The main problem in our industry is the excessive production of goods, both in the luxury and fast fashion segments.

“LONGEVITY IS SUSTAINABILITY” Malo is humble. The brand prefers to provide durable products rather than “green” statements. The brand is to be led to new strength by a new owner and a management team headed by Luigino Belloni.

What does Malo do for the environment? Luigino Belloni, Sales Director at Malo: “We at Malo are doers. We don’t talk about many things in public. This also applies to the topic of sustainability. We’re working very hard on reducing our footprint. We are, for example, in the process of installing solar panels on the roof of our production facility near Florence and optimising many processes to minimise the waste of resources. I, however, strongly believe that consumers deserve honesty: certain processes within the knitwear industry are simply not possible without chemicals. Malo stands for brilliant, long-lasting colours. These colours cannot be created with exclusively natural ingredients. A step towards the sustainability of cashmere is the preservation of the fibre in its natural colour, from the almond variety to tones of grey and white. The next winter collections will feature natural, beautiful pieces made of fibres that aren’t dyed.” style in progress



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SHORT DISTANCES What does sustainability mean to you personally? Anja Grabherr-Petter, Creative Director of Phil Petter: “For me, sustainability means manufacturing in the region, i.e. predominantly in Austria, where the working conditions and wages are fair. But it also means focusing on excellent quality. Only then is a product truly long-lived and sustainable. That’s why we exclusively process yarns manufactured in Central Europe and collaborate with reputable partners who source the merino wool from Italy. I believe knitting a sweater in Austria using yarns that have been shipped in from China is an inherent contradiction. In addition, our merino wool has been awarded the RWS Responsible Wool Standard.” Merino wool has come under criticism because of the mulesing procedure. “Mulesing-free is a subject very close to our hearts. Unfortunately, this kind of wool is more expensive and not as readily available in some colours. This situation needs to improve. Otherwise the use would not be sustainable for us.”

Phil Petter still produces in Austria. “We know every raw material supplier personally and are in constant dialogue,” says Anja Grabherr-Petter.


“Buttertea does not perceive itself as a fashion brand, but stands for a sustainable, athletic style that customers can enjoy for as long as possible,” says Hans-Bernd Cartsburg about his brand. The business is named after the typical Mongolian butter tea.


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Why are two stays at the Buttertea Cashmere Spa included in every Buttertea cashmere product? Hans-Bernd Cartsburg, owner of Buttertea: “Few people know about the existence of garments that last 30 years or longer – as long as they are cared for properly. There are favourite items that are durable and timeless; they become more beautiful with age and inspire desire in many generations to come. That is true sustainability! Such products are very important to Buttertea, which is why we have chosen to focus on cashmere. Where do the goats live? Which influences determine the quality of the fibres? Which spinning mill processes the fibres into the best yarns? Where is knitting still celebrated as a craft? The Buttertea brand is our answer to all these questions. By the way, the name derives from the national drink of Mongolia. But it doesn’t stop with the sale of the product itself. That’s why we also support our customers in the care of their high-quality pieces – either in the Buttertea Spa, where every item is lovingly reprocessed by professionals, or with our own ecological shampoo, which, thanks to its ingredients, also prevents moths from feasting on cashmere. The two first stays at the spa are included in the price.”

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“CHEAP AND SURPLUS PRODUCTION ARE THE CURSE OF OUR TIME” What are the most important factors for making knitwear truly sustainable? Is it the comparatively easy process of recycling? Antonia Zander, founder of Antonia Zander: Unfortunately, it isn’t “easy” to recycle knitwear. If you strive to achieve high quality, working with recycled yarn creates difficulties. Excellent quality is always about fineness and fibre length; factors which are no longer guaranteed in recycled materials. Moreover, there is no proof of origin. In the case of animal fibres, for example, you don’t know which farm the sheep or goats come from. In the case of plant materials, you don’t know whether they have been treated with pesticides or grown in monocultures… Nevertheless, recycling is an important development and the vertically integrated chains in particular should allow their customers to return clothing. This raises awareness that we are dealing with raw materials that cannot be produced without CO2 emissions. In my opinion, true sustainability can only be achieved when clothing is manufactured conscientiously. This always requires a transparent provenance that guarantees the respectful treatment of nature and animals, as well as excellent craftsmanship that ensures long-term durability and wearability. Sweaters for 19.90, which fail to trigger any emotion in the buyer, are thrown into the bin after a season. Cheap and surplus production are the curse of our time. New items at least twice a year, red price tags on “old” pieces, and massive discounts… Can true sustainability ever be achieved within the current retail structure? Retailers react with panic to the online business model and have lost sight of individuals who don’t merely want to buy a sweater, but also a feeling! When I was allowed to accompany my mother to a luxury store for the first time, she was welcomed like a queen. She was greeted by name and presented with a champagne glass (so was 12-year-old me). They had already laid aside the Armani costume which they knew was exactly her style and size. Back then, nobody waited for the sales to start! It was considered poor form to demand this ser-


Antonia Zander and her eponymous collection both rely on two pillars: eclectic style and highest, sustainable quality. In an interview with style in progress, the designers finds very clear words for politicians and the retail trade in general.

vice at a 70 percent discount! The Armani costume is, by the way, still relevant today – no less than 20 years later. That is true sustainability! If retailers would stop pouncing on every trend that results in identical product ranges and leads to a lack of individual purchasing decisions, then they wouldn’t have to grudgingly reduce prices just because the rival next door has already knocked 70 percent off a pair of the same boots by Off White… There are so many (mostly smaller) labels worth exploring. They have had sustainability engrained in their DNA for a long time without shouting it from the rooftops. Buyers should pay attention to that. Choose uniqueness instead of run-of-the-mill products! An increasing number of customers is clamouring for change. Young customers who care for the environment consider it almost obscene to buy something new. But consumption refusal surely cannot be the solution, at least if one enjoys fashion. What’s your recipe? The answer is to buy the right shirt for 99 Euros instead of ten for 9.99 Euros. Buy the one shirt that has been manufactured transparently and responsibly. Enjoy it for a long time! I believe refusal is great! Politicians and retailers are ruthless and pay no attention to the needs of citizens and customers respectively. Glyphosate is just one example! How can we continue to allow such a toxic product to be sprayed on our fields? It’s the same in the textile industry, if not worse. Chemicals and manufacturing processes that cause fatal diseases and severe environmental pollution are still in use. Those responsible tolerate it out of pure greed, all around the globe. We consumers are the ones who have to bring about change. We can no longer remain silent! style in progress



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“WE CARE FOR THE WELFARE OF ANIMALS” How do you ensure that a cashmere sweater is manufactured sustainably? Joanna Kapitza and Corinne Samson, founders of Another Brand: “When we launched Another Brand in 2017, we agreed that we only wanted to use materials that were manufactured under fair conditions. Cashmere is obtained from the soft undercoat of cashmere goats; whereby mechanical shearing often causes injuries to the animals. Our sweaters and accessories are manufactured in Inner Mongolia. We only use cashmere which is combed out by hand during the natural change of the animals’ fur. The collection pieces are crafted on hand knitting machines, but not in piecework. Our wordings and details are embroidered by hand. In this respect, we collaborate with an Italian importer, who guarantees a painless extraction of wool and fair production conditions by visiting the sites in question several times a year.”

Another Brand has always stood for fair cashmere. This gives the label, which was launched in 2017, a starting advantage over players who have yet to make the switch.

The label only knits per order in Italy and Austria. This allows Knitted Love to ensure that the value of its unique knitwear is retained over time. Owner Orsola Bertini Curri checks her raw material sources thoroughly and uses recycled cashmere yarns.

“CERTIFICATES ARE IMPORTANT” How can knitwear be sustainable? Orsola Bertini Curri, founder of Knitted Love: “Knitted Love is a slow fashion project featuring hand-knitted fashion pieces and accessories. The label exclusively uses certified ‘Made in Italy’ yarns, especially as animal welfare is such an important aspect. The merino wool, for example, is 100 percent mulesing-free, organic, and dyed with as few chemicals as possible. The cashmere we use is recycled. I firmly believe that the quality of the yarns, their origin, and their ‘green’ certificates play an important role in the selection and sourcing process. Apart from that, the yarns are processed by knitters in Italy and Austria. The knitters are paid fairly and there is no overproduction because we knit to order.”


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“THE SOLUTION IS ECO-CASHMERE” Majestic Filatures is committed to responsible luxury. What exactly does that mean? Christophe Bosc, Export Manager: “To begin with, I would like to point out that sustainability has played a major role at Majestic Filatures ever since it was founded in 1989. We focus on the people and our planet, a philosophy that we have continually perfected over the years. This season, we have launched a particularly sustainable line with a very telling name: Eco-Cashmere. The raw materials for the range are sourced in the US. The vintage sweaters are subsequently sorted, cut, and processed in special workshops in Italy. The best merino wool is added to the recycled yarns. The special feature of our Eco-Cashmere collection is its high quality. Just like the original cashmere, the recycled version also boasts a soft feel and structure. Moreover, it is highly durable. These are very strong arguments that also convinced Cindy Bruna. The French model is the face of our Eco-Cashmere line.”

Majestic Filatures’ Eco-Cashmere sweaters are made of recycled cashmere in Italy. The company relies on 30 years of experience in sustainability.

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“SEALS OFTEN ASK THE WRONG QUESTIONS” Nina Lorenzen, Vreni Jäckle, and Jana Braumüller embody the spirit of Their mission is easily explained: to highlight the shortcomings of the fashion industry and guide the way towards sustainability. Text: Kay Alexander Plonka. Photo: Emilie Elizabeth

Gerd Müller, the German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, has created a state seal for clothing named “Grüner Knopf ”. Will this ensure improved working conditions, better environmental protection, and fair wages? Generally speaking, it’s highly questionable whether a seal can ensure all these things. After all, it is not the seal that brings about improvements in the value chain, but entrepreneurs who are willing to take the necessary steps. As long as seals are awarded on a voluntary basis, companies that tolerate human rights violations and disregard for environmental standards will not change their practices. At the end of the day, the economy always revolves around profit. To reduce profit in order to, for example, pay people fairly isn’t an option for many. Although the “Grüner Knopf ” strives to audit both the product and the company, it remains to be seen whether the 20 criteria a business has to fulfil address the right questions. Compliance with living wages is, for instance, currently not among the criteria, even though it would be essential to ensure the ethically fair production of clothing. We expect conventional companies will simply continue to launch add-on products and lines that are eligible for the “Grüner Knopf ” on a standalone basis to greenwash their image. Thus, we will probably see an increase in PR measures in this context rather than real change. Is the “Grüner Knopf ” awarded on the basis of auditing supply chains on-site? Or is the certification awarded on the basis of CSR reports provided in writing? A product is required to comply with 26 minimum social and environmental standards. However, compliance with the 100

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Fashionchangers Nina Lorenzen, Vreni Jäckle, and Jana Braumüller strive to increase the awareness of fair fashion in the media. They combine their love of fashion with critical reflection.

product criteria can only be proven by means of existing and recognised seals. This means that it isn’t necessary to carry out an on-site inspection to award the “Grüner Knopf ”. Unfortunately, we don’t yet know which seals are sufficient to obtain the “Grüner Knopf ”. In addition, the “Grüner Knopf ” currently only covers the production steps of cutting, sewing, bleaching, and dyeing. This means that the seal doesn’t provide information about the origin of the raw material for the garment, under what conditions it was manufactured, and how it is transported to the country of sale. Which seals make internationally recognised environmental and social standards reliably visible to the consumer? The jungle of seals has become a rather vexatious subject, especially as there are now relatively many that have quite different high (or even low) standards. It is important to make sure that the seals in question are awarded by independent bodies and aren’t based on the respective company’s internal assessments.

S u s ta i n + A b i l i t y – Ta k i n g C a r e



A jungle of certificates, each with different criteria. How does the retail trade respond to the consumer’s demand for information? Text: Stefanie Buchacher. Photos: Interviewees



Alexander Laskowski-Köninger Owner of Fairgissmeinnicht “We opened our first store in Murnau three years ago. The second one was launched in Garmisch-Partenkirchen last year. As retailers, it is important to us – and also our duty – to help make the textile industry more sustainable. When selecting our brands and suppliers, we attach great importance to certificates. The most relevant and comprehensive are issued by Fair Wear Foundation, Fair Trade, and GOTS, whereby the latter is now the industry’s main standard. The only problem is that each brand can work with different certificates, which don’t always cover the same standards and are thus not always comparable. That’s why I believe that it is the owners’ responsibility to curate their respective product ranges consciously. This sets an example for the customers and within the industry.”

Marc Ramelow, Managing Director of Ramelow “In our experience certificates are not particularly important to consumers. They are, more often than not, unaware of the differences, which makes the designations rather confusing. There’s no such thing as a uniform ‘organic’ in fashion. Our customers’ questions usually revolve around the ‘sustainability’ of products. It’s fairly undifferentiated. We hear statements like ‘shouldn’t be harmful’ or ‘fair production’. Two years ago, we registered an increase in enquiries from our sales consultants on the subject of sustainability, because they were being asked such questions by customers. We therefore launched a broad survey among our mainstream suppliers last year. More than 100 suppliers were asked to provide us with detailed information by means of a questionnaire. The feedback was amazing! In the end, we had very qualified responses from 80 percent of our partners. Based on these results, we started developing our own e-learning videos several months ago. We harness our Social Intranet, which all employees can access via smartphones. It is, however, a major challenge to address complex CSR issues in an informative and entertaining 2-minute video. We plan to produce further sustainability-related videos with selected brand partners. Before Christmas, we will include the first consumer groups, whereby we’d like to talk live about sustainability with interested customers. This should further substantiate the topic, as this feedback allows us to tell brands what customers ‘really’ want. In 2020, we will send a working student on a ‘round-theworld’ tour to production facilities. He or she will share the experience with our customers via a live blog. We’d like to put the prejudices about textile production into perspective through authentic ‘on-site’ reports.”


Florian Lindner Online Marketing & Events at Sport Conrad “As an outdoor and ski retailer that depends on mountains, nature, and snow, we have a proactive approach to the sustainability topic. That’s why we have launched our ‘We Think Again’ initiative. It’s our aim to improve internal and external processes, for example our photo and catalogue production, ecological packaging, the product range in general, and even adapting ‘highlight areas’ in our branches. This informs our customers that there are sustainable alternatives. Our buying department primarily focuses on innovative products that correspond to our sustainability criteria. Certificates, such as Blue Sign or the Fair Wear Foundation seal, are very important for classification and orientation. In addition, there are certificates such as the Ortovox Woolpromise and Vaude Green Shape. We strive to support such companies and integrate them more effectively. That’s what we, as retailers, can contribute.”

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The Nim skilfully transfers the core values of its men’s collection to its women’s line: butter-soft feel and first-class fit.



High quality, long-lasting styles: The Nim, an Italian jeans collection, provides pieces that justifiably become favourite items. What Claudio Parolini has proved with his men’s collection, he now repeats with a women’s range. Text: Kay Alexander Plonka. Photos: The Nim

The Nim is doing pretty well. The range of the collection and its international distribution network are growing rapidly. The womenswear collection is developing particularly fast. “After testing how retailers respond to our interpretation of women’s jeans with a small capsule collection for summer 2019, we developed a complete collection for autumn/winter 2019. It is now available at selected retailers,” explains owner Claudio Parolini. All trousers are available in a variety of washes with authentic abrasions or butter-soft feel. The four best cuts: ankle-length Flawless Skinny, Superstretch Crop Bootcut in full recovery denim, narrow Boy Cut, and high-waist Mom Fit. The women’s collection follows the same principles as its male counterpart: simplicity and quality. 102

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“We rely on top materials, which we purchase from the best European denim weavers such as Candiani, Berto, Isko, and Tavex. We then transfer them into the hottest cuts before processing them elaborately in the denim cluster of Veneto – by hand and with the greatest care. We deliberately distinguish our looks from mass-produced jeans,” says Parolini. Alongside the bestsellers of the men’s collection (Dylan and Morrison), the non-denims are also performing well. There are several chinos to choose from. Corduroy, especially in the typical shades, is a hot topic this autumn. The Nim is equally committed to sustainability. “We are working on environmentally friendly ranges for the next collections, but are still in the development process. The collection already features a few eco-friendly items, but that’s not worth mentioning yet.” In Germany and Austria, The Nim is represented by Komet und Helden. Switzerland is covered by Eins Zwei Zwei Eins.


“We want our retail partners to generate profits from cooperating with us.” – Wolfgang Lohe, Managing Partner at Better Rich

The aim is to develop Better Rich, a lovingly designed collection, into a highly visible brand.



Wolfgang Lohe, formerly the Gant Wholesale Director DACH, is the new man on the bridge. In him, Helmfried Strupat, the founder of Better Rich, has found an experienced 50 percent partner. The aim is to increase the visibility of Better Rich as a brand. Lohe sat down with style in progress to discuss the strategy. Interview: Nicoletta Schaper. Photos: Better Rich

Wolfgang, you describe Better Rich as a Ferrari without a driver. Could you elaborate? I believe that Better Rich has tremendous potential. There are so many tools, but they are not being utilised optimally. The logistics concept is designed for three times the volume, for example. We can realise very individual customer campaigns in our own photo studio. We also have direct access to production, which allows us to manufacture a minimum of 30 to 40 items and deliver them within three weeks. We have what every customer wants. What appeals most to you? I love that I can shape the brand. I am thrilled to have my own business that allows me to implement ideas and make a difference in terms of sales. Better Rich is such a lovingly designed product. The team I inherited is great and highly motivated to move the brand forward. In my eyes, Better Rich is a product brand that I strive to make more visible as an actual brand.

How? First of all, we plan to professionalise sales by working more closely with agents. It isn’t enough to merely hand over the collection. We want to see which items are well received and how to adjust accordingly. Over the next three years, we plan to establish 200 shop-in-shops at larger trading partners in the DACH and Benelux markets. I prefer partnerships to own stores, because nobody knows how to retail better than retailers. It’s all about managing bestsellers and flops, about providing the right products at the right time. These shouldn’t be hollow phrases. We want our currently 350 retail partners to generate profits from cooperating with us. This number will increase significantly. There’s still loads of potential in menswear. Better Rich is currently 90 percent focused on womenswear. We have decided to bring the menswear sales department back in-house and strengthen the team. How are the collections changing? We plan to expand the blouse and knitwear range for women. We will also debut our first outdoor range. The same applies to the men’s segment. In addition, we strive to structure our pricing strategically and establish an entry-level price range without sacrificing quality. Retail prices will start at 39 Euros for t-shirts, 99 Euros for knitwear, and 179 Euros for jackets. This allows us to address local heroes such as Hagemeyer, CJ Schmidt, and Garhammer, which should increase both the stock turnover rate and brand visibility. We don’t want to leave anything to chance anymore. My vision is to make Better Rich a truly desirable brand in the next three years. And I’d like to see Ferrari win the World Championship again… style in progress



Yellow Border

National Geographic. No other magazine embodies the spirit of adventure like National Geographic. An urban menswear collection now makes the National Geographic brand wearable. CoreM, a member of Omnibrand Group, acts as licensee and producer. Retail prices range from 29 Euros for shirts to 599 Euros for jackets. It will be launched at selected retail partners such as Breuninger and Zalando in autumn 2020. “National Geographic is an incredible storyteller with rich and inspiring content. The brand has so much to offer: an excellent narrative and the desire to explore and improve the world,” says Patrick Andrist of CoreM/Omnibrand Group. It goes without saying that the collection is committed to sustainability. The line heavily features recycled down and polyester made of PET bottles. Corem GmbH, Düsseldorf/Germany, T 0049.152.55126123,,

Mission Fairness Interplay

Marivie. Comfort dresses that are feminine yet uncomplicated. That’s Marivie in a nutshell. In 2018, the founders decided to combine their know-how in fashion design and international management. Marivie was born. The elegant dresses and skirts, with ever-changing prints and cuts, are made of viscose and manufactured in Italy. The focus is on colour variety. Be it a short beach dress or an uncomplicated evening gown, fashion by Marivie is always easy to combine. The label offers an easy-going “pronto” programme, which minimises the risk for the buyer. The mark-up stands at 3.0. With four collections per year, the label presents a variety of cuts and prints that can, upon request, be customised individually. Sales in the DACH region are handled by Room von Berlin. Marivie, Munich/Germany, T 0049.89.25546793,,


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Stoffbruch. Certified organic cotton, Tencel, and linen form the basis of Stoffbruch, a label launched by Moritz Biel and André Hofmann in 2010. “The name reflects our commitment to hand-crafted designs, the associated know-how, and the love of working with high-quality fabrics,” Biel explains. Neither of them abandoned their sustainable principles when they gradually handed over production to partners in Poland and Lithuania. “We attached great importance to fair production processes right from the offset. Thanks to short distances and direct contact with our suppliers and production sites, our supply chain remains transparent.” For example, the purchase price for a dress is 29 Euros (with a 2.7 mark-up). A top costs 20 Euros (with a 2.6 mark-up). The label’s 100 or so customers include its own store in Berlin Friedrichshain, Green Guerillas, Zeitzeichen, Monkey Garage Madrid, and Brand Mission Amsterdam. Stoffbruch Fair Fashion GmbH, Berlin/Germany, T 0049.30.24647949,,


Old Acquaintances with New Name

Denim Cult

Âme Antwerp. Alizée Van Strydonck and Ysaline Grangé embarked on a new adventure with spring/summer 2019: Âme. The two had previously worked at Essentiel Antwerp, Grangé as marketing manager and Van Strydonck as designer. With their new, feminine women’s collection that is perfectly suitable for everyday wear, they take their collaboration to a new level. They see their womenswear competing in stores against brands such as Ganni, Forte Forte, or Anine Bing. They have already convinced 40 European multi-brand stores to order for spring/summer 2020. With an average purchase price of around 20 Euros for a t-shirt, 72 Euros for an alpaca sweater, and 240 Euros for a coat, as well as an extensive NOS programme and early delivery dates in December and June, the label is eager to win over new partners. The aim is to grow to around 100 retail customers over the next three years. Âme Antwerp, Antwerp/Belgium, T 0032.473394177,,

Agolde. Founded in 1989, relaunched in 2014. Agolde has resurrected the jeans style of the 1990s, but with a modern twist. The contemporary premium collection consists of high waist jeans, coloured denim, skirts, and shirts, as well as feminine body suits. The label’s denim expertise is both tangible and visible, especially since Agolde is from the same stable as Citizens of Humanity. The list of celebrities who wear Agolde includes names such as Amanda Seyfried, Bella Hadid, Kaia Gerber, Kendall Jenner, and Miley Cyrus. The list of key accounts is equally high-profile: Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, and Net-a-Porter. At a markup of 2.6, retail prices stand at approximately 249 Euros. Citizens of Humanity GmbH, Düsseldorf/Germany, T 0049.211.938859112,,

Craft and Social Media

Esde. One bag is called “The Woman”. Another is called “The Provider”, because all essentials fit into it. If you like the names, you’ll love the bags made of vegetable-tanned leather. They truly redefine luxury. Ronny Schröder launched Esde for men and women in 2015. In a studio in Düsseldorf, he combines traditional craftsmanship with a contemporary social media strategy. “We create all content ourselves. Communication with the target group is everything to me,” Schröder says. “I try to get in touch with every new subscriber personally. It’s time-consuming, but it builds a relationship.” Social media is the label’s primary distribution platform. The list of 30 retail customers includes L’Eclaireur Paris, Tuxedo Düsseldorf, Layers London, and Eastern Market Melbourne. The purchase price for the bag called “The Woman” is 422 Euros, at a mark-up of 2.5. Esde Bags, Düsseldorf/Germany, T 0049.211.15771664932,,




Sankt. The driving force behind the Sankt label, which was launched in Istanbul in 2016, are sisters Merve and Hande Aksu. Right from the start, the collection has been focused on sustainability. This starts with design, which is the responsibility of London-based designer Louise Amstrup. The straightforward – yet always detailed – pieces are non-seasonal and timeless. Materials, such as the vegan Cupro fabric, are just as important as short transport distances. The sales agent for the DACH region is Dahhan Operations. At a mark-up of 3.0, purchase prices range from 80 to 145 Euros. The label issues two collections per year. Sankt, Istanbul/Turkey, T 0090.539.2440142,,

Bohemian Elegance

Tassel Tales. The designs tell stories of their own, diverse and lively. They tell of Moroccan landscapes and markets, traditional craftsmanship, and the people who craft the clothing, accessories, shoes, and jewellery. Babouche slippers and denim jackets, decorated with tassels, are made of repurposed vintage carpets. They stand out as timeless, unique, and wearable key pieces. The label also processes gently sourced raw silk, GOTS-certified cotton, and chrome-free tanned leather. Retail prices start at 39 Euros for yoga tops, 69 Euros for earrings, 139 Euros for shoes, and 260 Euros for denim jackets. Tassel Tales was founded in 2017 by three sisters eager to change the fashion industry for the better. The label stands for sustainable ready-to-wear and yoga fashion. For the most part, the collection items are manufactured by women’s collectives. Tassel Tales pays fair wages and every production step is fully transparent. Tassel Tales OG, Vienna/Austria, T 0043.650.4514204,,


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Making Statements

Hey Soho. SoHo – known as vibrant city districts of New York and Hong Kong – is the namesake and inspiration for this slow fashion label launched in 2017. Hey Soho stands for fun. It strives to convey a lifestyle with meaningful statements. The label’s wearers should have a positive feeling about wearing fair fashion in organic quality. “Our procurement and production processes focus on transparency, sustainability, and fair trade. These aspects are particularly important to us. We want to inspire people to change fashion. They should leave their comfort zone and stand up for a good cause. Every small step counts,” says founder Elise Seitz. The current unisex collection for men, women, and children includes t-shirts, sweaters, and hoodies. Retail prices start at 49 Euros for t-shirts and 89 Euros for sweaters and hoodies. Sizes range from XS to XXL. Hey Soho, Hamburg/Germany,,


Perfect Essentials

Zero-Impact Sneakers

Womsh. The label – an abbreviation of Word Of Mouth Shoes – stands for many things: fair production conditions, vegan and sustainably sourced materials, recyclability, commitment to the environment, and modern streetwear designs. Italy-based Womsh, which was launched in 2014, not only offers fair and environmentally friendly sneakers, but also compensates for all CO2 emissions during the life cycle by reforesting areas in Italy and South America. Only recently, Womsh launched a vegan line of apple leather. The material consists of 50 percent apple fibre from food production waste and 50 percent polyurethane. In addition, the label relies on recycled cotton and leather obtained from slaughterhouse waste, as well as Oeko-Tex-100 certified leather and rubber. Worn out sneakers can be returned to Womsh, where they are recycled and processed into flooring for playgrounds in collaboration with a partner organisation. Womsh, Padua/Italy, T 0039.0499.801663,,

New Dimension

Armargentum. Fashion that is willing to take responsibility. Newly founded Armargentum not only focuses on social and ecological production standards, but also on the health of its wearers. Innovative materials with special textures, such as Miracle Fibre, form the foundation and act as a protective shield. By preventing a build-up of bacteria, Miracle Fibre promotes skin regeneration and prevents itching. Therefore, the lightweight cotton and jersey materials are particularly well-suited for sensitive skin types or people suffering from neurodermatitis. The label, which is the brainchild of Sophia Bitter and Walter Moser, is certified by both Bluesign and Öko-Tex. Armargentum offers an all-season collection, which is regularly supplemented by new key pieces depending on the season in question. In terms of price, the brand ranks in the upmarket segment. The first A01 collection is now available via the label’s online shop. The trade fair debut is scheduled for January. “Sustainability has always been an important issue for Walter Moser and me. There’s plenty of movement at Airfield, but the collection is quite polarising and appeals to specific customers. That’s why we decided to create a new label with clean, timeless, and long-lasting looks,” says Sophia Bitter. Armargentum, Seewalchen/Austria, T 0043.766.258222122,,

Phyne. The newcomer label, pronounced like the English term “fine”, embodies the positive and the good. Its most modern form of sustainability is transparent, meaningful, and cool. From the point of view of the three founders Kerstin Mikeska, Marc Langner, and Andri Stocker, it is the combination of a sustainable value chain (from raw material cultivation to shipping) and lasting quality that creates a product that allows both the wearer and the environment to blossom. The result is a reduced collection that is vegan, (GOTS) certified, and “Made in Europe”. The essentials are made of organic cotton or Tencel. Purchase prices start at 14.80 Euros for shirts, 33.31 Euros for sweatshirts, 40.72 Euros for dresses, and 41.87 Euros for bomber jackets. The mark-up is 2.7. Limited editions and collaborations with, for example, the German edition of Vogue or influencer Veronika Heilbrunner have already earned Phyne a certain level of cult status. Agentur Twowear, Sindelfingen/Germany, T 0049.7031.6792865,,,

Northern Lights Northern European design is (once again) gaining momentum in the wake of the global sustainability trend. Hardly any other region is as consistent in its stylistic implementation of the topic in all its facets. Thus, it is all the more credible. A breath of fresh air that blows away the cobwebs of ecological responsibility and reduces it to its essence with a casual nonchalance. It’s all about excellent design that appeals to those pushing the sustainability trend: strong, independent women who refuse to be fashion puppets. The combination of new feminine values and a strong sense of responsibility means that brands from the North are right on the money. Editorial: Isabel Faiss. Photos: Labels


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Nordic Walking

In terms of fashion, sporty silhouettes and styles are extremely suited to Nordic purism. New aspects include deliberate exaggerations, strong colour blockings, and a focus on innovative shoe designs.

Cecilie Copenhagen

Floris van Bommel

Sofie Schnoor

Mads Nørgaard


Henrik Vibskov

J. Lindeberg

EMBRACING THE OUTDOORS Alexander Stutterheim, Stutterheim, “We take environmental matters very seriously. We are all about embracing the outdoors as a brand. Our coats are made to last. They are not throw-away items, but evergreens in every man’s and woman’s wardrobe. Opposing throw-away culture is one of our cornerstones. We pursue this strategy in many ways, for instance by making pieces that last a lifetime. We are a small brand, so we don’t have people dedicated to these questions as bigger companies may have. To minimise travel distances, we attach great importance to factories close to Sweden, for example in Poland, Portugal, and Turkey.”

Alexander Stutterheim stumbled upon one of his late grandfather’s old raincoats on an island in the Stockholm archipelago. The beginning of a success story: Stutterheim.

Stand Studio

Designers Remix

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Pure Luxury

Clear colours, structures, and shapes: the whole world speaks the Scandinavian design language these days. In this case, it’s reduced to its essentials…

Filippa Knutsson is one of the most famous representatives of Scandinavian design.

THE PUREST FORM OF LUXURY Design Team, Filippa K, “We are encouraged by the fact that sustainability is a growing movement within the industry. We firmly believe that transparency and collaboration with other brands is the key to achieving better results. We remain true to our values and promote mindful consumption by showing that simplicity is the purest form of luxury. We have always held true to the Scandinavian values of creating sophisticated pieces that are timeless in both style and quality.”

Filippa K


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By Malene Birger




Penn & Ink




Fas(t)hion Forward

Eccentric designs, asymmetrical volumes, and quotes from haute couture: the young guns are no longer alone! Looking for new topics? Buzzword claxon! It’s diversity.

Rotate Birger Christensen


Henrik Vibskov

Stine Goya

TRANSPARENT AND HONEST DIALOGUE Frida Bard, Creative Director at Hope, “Hope has always worked with a longterm view on design. We also believe in establishing close, long-lasting relationships with the factories we work with, some of which have been part of Hope since the very beginning of the brand. This makes it easier for us to uphold a transparent and honest dialogue that allows us to develop our sustainability efforts together. What excites me right now is following the journeys of a lot of young designers with a totally different approach to design and style, where gender-fluidity is a given from the very beginning. For me, style should always come first and gender second, so I’m happy to follow this development.”

Frida Bard is the Creative Director of Stockholm-based design brand Hope.

Stand Studio


Sofie Schnoor

Cecilie Bahnsen

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Formal Formula

Classic ready-to-wear elements add a shot of attitude to the feminine cuts and materials. Classicism never goes out of fashion, but the latter enjoys playing with it.

Designers Remix

Second Female

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House of Dagmar



IT’S AN EVERYDAY TYPE OF JOB Karin Söderlind, House of Dagmar, “To create a sustainable brand and company has always been our philosophy. We started with this very early in 2005, but back then no end consumer was really interested. And therefore, not many other brands were pursuing this approach. Now the end consumer is starting to show more interest and the topic is also higher on the agenda within fashion and media, as well as on a more political level. At the moment, brands see it as a project rather than involving sustainability into their strategic business. Like a well-known sneaker brand that only talked about one shoe for 20 minutes during the Fashion Summit in Copenhagen. Terrible! They should have given us their goals and their total impact, not merely a current marketing topic.”

Karin Söderlind (right) runs Stockholm-based House of Dagmar with her two sisters Sofia Wallenstam and Kristina Tjäder.

Baum und Pferdgarten

Acne Studios

Penn & Ink


The New Blue

Is denim the big comeback story? Jeanswear counters the eternal yoyo effect of trends with an unbeatable argument: sustainability that ranges from hemp fibres to recycled denim.

Preben Laust is the Creative Director and owner of Second Female, a brand based in Nordhavn, Denmark.

Samsøe Samsøe


Acne & Starter Black Label

Second Female

THE RIGHT DIRECTION Preben Laust, Creative Director and Owner of Second Female, www. “Scandinavia consists of relatively small nations, so many of us live close to – or even in – nature. It’s easy for us to feel the change in the environment. So as a Scandinavian fashion brand, we are very aware that we have to take responsibility and act accordingly. In terms of sustainability, we know that many consumers will have new demands in a few years – not only of the fashion industry. The younger generations are very aware and we want to live up to their expectations because it’s the right thing to do! It’s a journey and we can’t change 100 percent overnight, but we are definitely taking steps in the right direction.”




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Mos Mosh

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What drives retailers to change constantly? It’s not just the consumers, but also their inner motor. Anyone who understands how retailing works, knows that variety is a necessity and that the rhythm of renewal has sped up significantly. We present radical new beginnings, cleverly curated concepts, and product ranges that are fun to discover. Text: Stefanie Buchacher, Martina Müllner-­Seybold, Kay Alexander Plonka, Nicoletta Schaper, Veronika Zangl


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Mit Ecken und Kanten/Nuremberg



“Why so perfect, honey?” is the philosophy of Jessica Könnecke’s Mit Ecken und Kanten.

To this end, Könnecke also offers regular workshops on topics such as zero-waste. Könnecke developed the idea of launching a sustainable business during her studies in Sweden. After returning to Nuremberg, she decided it was time to act. Her success proves her right. “I have the impression that people are looking for such unusual concepts, because they have finally realised that our resources are finite and that we have to rethink our consumption behaviour.”

Mit Ecken und Kanten Harsdörfferstrasse 27, Nuremberg/Germany, @miteckenundkanten_official Owner: Jessica Könnecke Opening: September 2018 (store) and November 2017 (online shop) Sales area: 40 sqm Employees: 4 Brands: Abury, Benecos, Black Velvet Circus, Eco Brotbox, Ehrlich Textil, Hey Soho, i+m, Kerbholz, Like a Bird, Lotuscrafts, Lovjoi, Myrka Studios, Nandi, Weleda

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Photos: Mit Ecken und Kanten

Jessica Könnecke’s concept gives sustainable B-goods a second chance.

he underlying principle of Mit Ecken und Kanten is simple. The store gives items that were originally samples, have minor blemishes, are from older collections, or come in old packaging a second chance. “Mit Ecken und Kanten is a store for sustainable B-quality products,” says founder Jessica Könnecke. She launched her online shop in November 2017, before adding a store in Nuremberg’s Old Town in September 2018. The latter is also her warehouse. However, the small store is only open one Saturday per month. The product range includes fair fashion, accessories, natural cosmetics, jewellery, zero-waste items, and food. The products on offer are preferably sourced from German and regional companies, are carefully curated, and may have minor flaws. In return, they are offered at a lower price. According to Könnecke, it’s a win-win situation for both manufacturers and customers. “The product finds a new owner and our customers obtain a unique item at a lower price,” the 26-year-old explains. “I actually perceive my business as a pioneer in terms of sustainable consumption. I strive to show people that sustainability doesn’t have to be complicated and that everyone can make a difference.”



T PREMIUM NEIGHBOURHOOD FASHION In February, Ingrid Dörr relocated her store from the pedestrian zone to the outskirts of Heilbronn. Was the move a mistake? On the contrary…

LUXURY AND NONCHALANCE Dörr took over a store with high-end children’s fashion and a small selection of womenswear in 2007. The latter segment was enlarged until the shop literally burst at the seams. In 2012, the business moved to “Kaiserstrasse” and thus into the main pedestrian zone. Three years later, Dörr revamped the entire concept by replacing children’s fashion with menswear. “I already had Dondup’s womenswear in my range and it was highly successful,” she explains. “In 2015, I decided to open a Dondup store for men and women, the only one of its kind in Germany.” Dörr went ahead with the au-

dacious relocation after realising that the number of visitors to the city centre started dwindling. On top of it all, the two-and-a-half storey shop was too dark and uncomfortable. Dondup still occupies its own space in the store. In addition, the range includes jeans by Citizen of Humanity and trousers by Mason’s, complemented with Italian manufactory brands. “In order to stand out, we opt for collections that are not widely represented on the Internet,” she says. One example is the blouse collection by La Sarte Pettegole, which allows Dörr to choose fabrics individually. Bazaar Deluxe supplies fancy jackets and dresses, while Quantum Courage contributes t-shirts and sweats. Knitwear by 360 Cashmere tops off the range. Dörr embodies luxurious casualness. Her owner-managed business is renowned for top advice and service. “We really enjoy what we do,” Dörr smiles. “But success requires passion…”

Ingrid Dörr Titotstrasse 14, Heilbronn/Germany Opening: March 2007; Re-opening: February 2019 Owner and General Manager: Ingrid Dörr Employees: 3 Sales area: 190 sqm Brands for women: 360 Cashmere, Anni Carlsson, Bazaar Deluxe, Citizens of Humanity, Dawn, Dea Kudibal, Dondup, History Repeat, Le Sarte Pettegole, Mason´s, Miss Goodlife, Princess goes Hollywood, Ragdoll LA, Quantum Courage, Steamery, Unbreakable, White T Brands for men: Dondup Accessories brands: Marjana von Berlepsch, Dondup Everything on one level, lots of light and transparency: Ingrid Dörr’s fashion store radiates cosy modernity.


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Photos: Ingrid Dörr

Ingrid Dörr/Heilbronn

he store shares the busy street with the kebab house on the other side of the road. Granted, this doesn’t sound like the best location for a boutique that stocks high-end women’s fashion. For Ingrid Dörr, however, it is picture perfect. “We have everything on one level here: a bright store with a cosy atmosphere and parking spots. Our customers love it,” she beams. “The area feels like a really colourful neighbourhood. It boasts an eclectic mix of businesses, a grammar school, offices, and medical practices. Our customer traffic has increased considerably since the move, mainly because our large shop windows allow a view of the store interior. That inspires curiosity.”


Ingrid Dรถrr perceives advice and service as a personal obligation.

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The living room atmosphere creates an especially magical shopping experience on Wiesbaden’s main shopping street “Wilhelmstrasse”.

Daniel Thiel/Wiesbaden


Daniel Thiel (aka “The Client Whisperer”) caters for the needs of his target group perfectly - on a personal and stylistic level.


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courageous step out of the comfort zone: Daniel Thiel was the “retail man” for brands such as Etro, Armani, and Windsor for 18 years - first in Milan, Frankfurt, Berlin, and Munich, later in Wiesbaden. He retained customers by providing them with loving, attentive advice in all life situations. With his team - which accompanied him into self-employment - he established a circle of trust. “I am a person who loves to give passionately, without ulterior motives. I enjoy making the people around me happy.” He dreamed about creating a living room, a place where everyone could feel at home and where one can, of course, also just pop in for a chat. The women, who have long since opened their heart to him, do just that. But the same applies to men, who he dresses in collections like Weber + Weber with conviction. “I back these collections because I see how much energy the manufacturers invest in each product, with how much love and attention they create their pieces.” The passionate retailer knows his name, Daniel Thiel, is the decisive factor now - no longer the name on the label. “Naturally, it was important for me to include brands like Windsor in my product range, because I am aware of their qualities. The customers place their trust in our advice and the outfits that my team and I select for them.” The spoiled Wiesbaden clientele expects its quality requirements to be fulfilled. Daniel Thiel stands for elegance, timelessness, and the magical experience shopping can be. “My customers are the ones who encourage me to order more unusual pieces and patterns, as well as colourful things.” Retailers in such prosperous cities have to fight against full wardrobes. “We convince customers who have ten coats that it’s ok to treat themselves to an eleventh,” Daniel Thiel explains. A challenge that is best met with passion.

Daniel Thiel Wilhelmstrasse 31 Wiesbaden/Germany Opening: 2018 Owner: Daniel Thiel Sales area: 150 sqm Brands for women: Artigiano, Bruno Manetti, Jil Sander Navy, Lempelius, Marina Rinaldi, N8 Milano, Piazza Sempione, Simfinity, Windsor, Wunderfell Brands for men: Circolo 1901, Lardini, Mey Story, Weber + Weber

Photos: Daniel Thiel





Photos: Gehmacher


nyone who is interested in opening a store in one of Salzburg’s prime locations has to go through an application process. “We are thrilled to have been approved,” says Heidi Gehmacher. In June 2019, the long-established interior specialist opened a second store on “Alter Markt”. “We’re on the sunny side,” smiles daughter Julia. She joined the business two years ago and is learning all aspects from scratch. The company has been family-owned for 100 years. “We started as a curtain and bed specialist before evolving into a stylish living expert,” explains Heidi Gehmacher. “Our special blend of home items and clothing is truly unique and fascinates our customers. Nevertheless, we deliberately opted for textiles for the new store concept. We make sure that we stock brands that manufacture in Europe and are regional. With Rettl 1868, for example, we have an Austrian ‘Trachten’ manufacturer in our range.” The store concept is still diverse. “We have no fear of contact and prefer to combine classic and modern.” Trachten pieces are displayed alongside cashmere sweaters. While premium brands such as Steven K. are permanent guests, the store is also always open to special creations by contemporary labels such as Max Volmary. “We enjoy testing ourselves,” is how Julia Gehmacher sums up the corporate philosophy that has turned beauty into lifestyle. In fact, the blend of classic and modern is also reflected in the interior. Dark walls, heavy tables, and opulent chandeliers lend the room sublimity. The store is flooded with light through high window fronts. Contemporary elements add a modern, elegant note. Even if this new Gehmacher store relies on clothing, it cannot deny that it was designed by the best interior decorators in Mozart’s hometown.

Heidi and Julia Gehmacher - a family in the service of excellent style.

Gehmacher Alter Markt 3, Salzburg/Austria Opening: 28th of June 2019 Owners: Gehmacher family Sales area: 110 sqm Brands: Aida Barni, Articles of Society, Bruno Premi, Chi Chi Fan, Date, Dirndl & Bua, Ed Parrish, Frau, FTC cashmere, Furla, Gehmacher, Gottseidank, Max Volmary, Natures Collection, Peuterey, Rettl, Rock and Blue, Saki, Steven K., Soluzione, White Sand, Wunderfell, Yuliaffairs

Gehmacher is an institution in Salzburg. Now it has its own clothing shop.

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Loyale. Fair/Stuttgart



Concept store and outlet pop-up: Loyale allows Jessica Drac to consciously address department store customers in order to introduce fair fashion to as many people as possible.


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Loyale. Fair Sophienstr. 21, Gerber Kaufhaus, Stuttgart/Germany, @loyale_fair Owner: Jessica Drac Opening: June 2018 Sales area: 60 sqm Employees: 3 temporary employees Brands: A Beautiful Story, Amov, Antonio Verde, Dedicated, Ekn, Ethletics, Evolve Cosmetics, Eyd Clothing, Fremdformat, Good Guys, Jann’June, Kerbholz, Kings of Indigo, Lovjoi, Nae Vegan, Nui Berlin, People Tree, Saluti, Studio Cossac, Studio Jux, Suite 13, Umiwi Berlin, Underprotection, Wills Vegan, Wunderwerk

Photos: Loyale

Jessica Drac strives to make people rethink, especially young customers.

essica Drac’s aim has always been to bring fair fashion to a location with substantial customer traffic. With this goal in mind, she launched her store in “Kaufhaus Gerber” in Stuttgart in mid-June 2018. On an area of 60 square metres, she presents a carefully curated, diverse range of fashion, accessories, shoes, jewellery, and cosmetics. True to the premise “Fair to the Environment, Animals, and People”, Drac only stocks sustainable labels that manufacture in Europe or have certificates to prove that they produce responsibly in Asia. The store doesn’t sell garments made of wool or silk. All cosmetics are vegan. “My vision for Loyale is to make fair fashion more visible and to prove how stylish fashion can be without exploiting people, animals, and the environment,” says the 30-year-old, who previously gathered fair fashion experience as store manager at DearGoods for many years. “I want to inspire people, especially young people, to reflect on things and to create awareness for conscious shopping. That’s why I decided to open Loyale in a department store, a location where one usually doesn’t expect to find fair fashion.” This decision has earned plenty of praise from loyal regulars, walk-in customers, and interested passers-by who are keen on engaging. Initially, Drac focused on women, but the range could be expanded to include underwear, as well as fashion for children and men. Discounted items are not sold as sale items, but – since the beginning of March this year – via an outlet pop-up right in front of her store. “This allows me to introduce high-quality fair fashion to price-sensitive customers. In addition, the outlet serves as an extension of the store and enables me to keep stock to a minimum.”


Clean & green: Voo Store stocks plenty of plants.



Photo: VooWest


erlin-based Voo Store has opened a third branch in “Bikini Haus” near the Zoological Garden. The concept store for design fashion and high-end street/sportswear has been in operation for nine years. Located in the backyard of “Oranienstrasse” in Kreuzberg, it even features an adjoining café. Directly opposite is the Compact Market outlet. VooWest has taken over the former Vitra/Artek furniture store on the first floor. The shop was designed by Gonzales Haase AAS; the conversion was carried out by Bilge Kalfa Architecture. In addition to clothing, shoes, and accessories for its younger target group from the Voo portfolio, the store also stocks interiors, plants, and cosmetics. In the future, the founding brothers Yasin and Kaan Müjdeci plan to organise regular events and presentations in cooperation with designers and brands. The aim is to address new target groups to increase reach.

VooWest Budapester Strasse 38-50 10787 Berlin/Germany Opening: 11th of July 2019 Sales area: 180 sqm Brands: among others A.P.C., Acne Studios, A Kind of Guise, Dries van Noten, GmbH, Goetze, Homme Plissé Issey Miyake, Jil Sander, JW Anderson, Maison Margiela, Marni, Missoni, Miu Miu, Our Legacy, Prada, Raf Simons, Soulland

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Men’s store instead of men’s corner: Jades Men makes a real statement.


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The Jades concept is equally convincing in the bright, generously designed womenswear store directly opposite.

Owner Evelyn Hammerström and buyer Huy Do are responsible for Jades Men.

M Jades Men/Düsseldorf


Photos: Jades

Cool, edgy, and non-conformist: the new Jades Men store allows Evelyn Hammerström and Reinhard Haase to grant menswear its own space for the very first time. This enables Jades’ overall concept to focus on its traditional strengths.

en allowing women to explain fashion to them is common, right? “Today, it’s often the other way around,” says Evelyn Hammerström. “Men have become much more fashion and brand conscious. They also spend more money on fashion. We want to address this trend with Jades Men.” Accordingly, Jades, which was always reserved for high fashion for women, turned into menswear store Jades Men. More Jades, located directly opposite, was transformed into a shop for women. THE COOL CREW Recognising trends has always been the forte of Hammerström and Reinhard Haase. Two decades ago, they started bringing premium denim brands from Los Angeles to Germany via their sales agency Unifa Premium, thus redefining the luxurious sportswear segment by pairing it with high fashion in their two Jades stores. The shops were booming; the success spoke for itself. Nevertheless, the realignment seems to have rejuvenated the concept. Both stores appear much clearer, optically supported by the opening of the shop windows. The lack of rear wall allows a broad view of the interior and provides ample light that radiates generous openness.

Menswear is divided into three segments and appeals to different types. The primary focus is on streetwear by Off-White, Balenciaga, Balmain, Just Don, Heron Preston, and Palm Angels for highly fashionable, young customers. Then there are casually interpreted classics by the likes of Neil Barrett, James Perse, Giorgio Brato, and Dondup. This segment is being expanded gradually. Last but not least, the jeans segment houses True Religion, D’squared, 7 for all Mankind, and Rag & Bone. “One customer is eager to show what he’s got by making a fashion statement, while another is more interested in comfort and chooses long-lasting items. We cater for both types,” says Huy Do, the buyer of Jades Men. The brands are broadly diversified, but always with enough courage to include fashionable specials. What else makes Jades so special? “We offer personality and are the place to be for the cool crew,” Hammerström smiles. “And now that the men have their own store, they feel even more at home.”

Jades Men Heinrich-Heine-Allee 53, Düsseldorf/Germany Opening: June 2019 Owners and Managing Directors: Evelyn Hammerström, Reinhard Haase Employees: 5 Sales area: 600 sqm Brands for men: 7 for all Mankind, Acne Studios, AG, Amiri, Balenciaga, Balmain, Boris Bidjan Saberi, Dondup, D-Squared, Heron Preston, Just Don, Off-White by Virgil Abloh, Palm Angels, Rag & Bone, True Religion Accessories brands: Axel Arigato, Balenciaga, Diptyque, Filling Pieces, Guiseppe Zanotti, Off-White, TeNeues, Werkstatt München

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The Frauenzimmer’s vaulted cellar is deliberately staged by the Wartners.



Thomas and Anette Wartner are reinventing themselves and their three store concepts. However, they would never abandon their unwavering focus on tailor-made formats that suit their customers’ tastes. The same applies to their pleasure in enjoying retail life.


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nette and Thomas Wartner rarely have time to spare. When they do, they use it for brainstorming on how they could refine the range to surprise their clientele anew. “We turned everything upside down and completely realigned our three stores in August,” says Thomas Wartner. STULZ 4.0 The result is a clearer structure for all three stores, which are incidentally grouped close together. The women’s store is now called Tradizionale: more exquisite and


The New Dandy Club resembles a men’s salon, complete with gin bar and dark furniture.

Anette and Thomas Wartner are brimming with positive energy, which makes them such a special retail couple.

Stulz: Mode: Genuss: Leben

Photos: Stulz: Mode: Genuss: Leben

The Tradizionale store: elegant, high-end, and unique.

individual. The bespoke studio is embellished by specialist brands for men and women, including Circolo, Myths, and Van Laack’s tailor-made shirts, as well as Handstich and Peuterey. “The men’s store is now called New Dandy Club: cool, smart, and ageless,” Thomas Wartner explains. Bob Italy inspires with unique creativity. Dstrezzed’s cool dandy look is reflected in the store’s new name. The concept is underpinned with a gin bar and dark furniture one would expect in a cigar lounge. Last but not least, the Frau-

enzimmer stocks Marc Aurel, Gardeur, and Eterna blouses. “The UEins in the vaulted cellar has been redesigned. Mos Mosh and Coster Copenhagen appeal to fashionable, price-conscious women,” Thomas Wartner adds. The second basement is the perfect space for pop-up areas and events. “We have simplified all processes for the benefit of our customers,” Thomas Wartner smiles. “Our merchandise management system is cloud-based, which means we can spend more time in the store to promote our goods.

The Stulz app keeps customers without social media accounts up to date.” All three stores remain closed on Mondays. But the Wartners wouldn’t be who they are if they wouldn’t offer a little something anyway. Mondays are now earmarked for private shopping appointments including brunch, or for evening lounge events featuring beer and wine.

Tradizionale Kaiserstrasse 64, Waldshut/Germany Employees: 4 Sales area: 145 sqm Brands for women: among others Circolo 1901, Dawn Denim, Handstich, Luisa Cerano, Myths, Peuterey, Stulz, Thomas Rath Trousers Brands for men: among others 7 for All Mankind, Circolo 1901, Eduard Dressler, Handstich, Myths, MMX, Phil Petter, Stulz, The Nim Accessories brands: among others 1943 Andrea, Dressed Sneaker, Mey Story, Officine Creative, Pfeffersack & Söhne, Viani New Dandy Club Kaiserstrasse 46, Waldshut/Germany Employees: 3 Sales area: 116 sqm Brands for men: among others Bob Italy, Desoto, Dstrezzed, Goldgarn Denim, Plain Nordic Accessories brands: among others 1Bottlerocket, Garment Project, Hudson London, Pig&Hen, Steamery, Stulz Gin, Tribute Gin Frauenzimmer Wallstrasse 9, Waldshut/Germany Employees: 2 Sales area: 98 sqm Brands for women: Absolut Cashmere, Blonde 8, Como No.1, Coster Copenhagen, Gardeur, Marc Aurel, Mos Mosh, Pom Amsterdam Accessories brands: Adax, Philip Hog, Nicolas Vahe, Solotwentyfive, Steamery

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Stereo MUC



They did it again: Henrik Soller and Florian Ranft, as well as store manager Herbert Volkmann, are delighted about the reopening of Stereo MUC.

The interior has vintage flair, but with a modern twist. The shelving system originates from the New York State Library of 1911, a mural is composed of elements of a coffered ceiling.


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Stereo Muc Odeonsplatz 12, Munich/Germany Opening: September 2019 Store manager: Herbert Volkmann Employees: 5 Sales area: 110 sqm Brands for men: among others Alden, Aspesi, Baracuta, Church, Diemme, Felisi, Filson, Hartford, The Nim

Photos: Stereo MUC

t times, the retail trade is synonymous with the real estate business,” said Florian Ranft and Henrik Soller eight months ago when they closed Stereo MUC on “Residenzstrasse”. Now they’re back with a bang at new premises. “We started looking for a new location immediately,” Soller says. It was found at the address “Odeonsplatz 12”, where Stereo MUC reopened in September – once again at a top location in the close vicinity of “Schumann’s Bar”. Soller laughs: “The bar is, so to speak, our lifestyle cafeteria.” This makes it easier to swallow that the new Stereo MUC doesn’t feature a gastronomy area. Apart from that, the highly successful concept focusing on special premium brands remains unchanged. The core brands hail from the portfolio of Komet und Helden, the fashion agency owned by Soller and Ranft. The list includes Baracuta, Hartford, Atelier & Repairs, Barena, Diemme, The Nim, and Deus Ex Machina. Welted shoes by Alden, sneakers by Axel Arigato, and cool suitcases on skateboard wheels by Floyd are new additions to the range, as are bags by Filson and men’s cosmetics by Baxter of California. The proven sales team headed by store manager Herbert Volkmann remains in place. Never change a winning team. Does one need to be a retailer to be an excellent agent? “No,” Soller argues. “First and foremost, we are entrepreneurs with several business interests, one of which is retail. However, one needs to develop a feel for it and have the courage to do so. What appeals to us about Stereo MUC is the entrepreneurial aspect. Otherwise we wouldn’t do it.”


The upper floor of Phänomen has become a wonderful place of retreat for customers, a place where they can focus exclusively on shopping.

Phänomen Fashion Luxury Loft/Lucerne


Photos: Phänomen


he customer takes centre stage. For the creators of Phänomen, this is not merely a hollow phrase. This is why the offices on the first floor, above the womenswear store, were transformed into the exclusive Fashion Luxury Loft last September. “Now we can showcase products even more lavishly and offer an even more beautiful shopping experience,” says Marina Bayat-Rogger. Everything is open. The “Chapel” with Red Valentino, Odeeh, and Dsquared2 lies out to the rear. To the front are the new rooms – bright and light with exposed timber framing, old parquet, and stone flooring, as well as a cosy cockle stove in the centre. “This is where we are currently showcasing high-quality cashmere labels such as Sminfinity and Lunaria, supplemented with Peserico and scarves by Friendly Hunting,” Bayat-Rogger explains. “We focus on our two bricks-and-mortar stores, meaning we still don’t offer e-commerce. It’s our strength to do what seems ordinary exceptionally well – and that’s being close to the customer.”

Next generation – Laura Rogger and Marina Bayat-Rogger, like their parents Sonja and Fritz Rogger-Furrer, are passionate retailers.

Phänomen Mode & Lifestyle Weinmarkt 4/5, Lucerne/Switzerland Opening of Fashion Luxury Loft: September 2019 Owners: Sonja and Fritz Rogger-Furrer Managing Directors: Laura Rogger, Marina Bayat-Rogger Employees: 12 Sales area: 550 sqm Brands for women: among others Agolde, Bally, Dondup, Dsquared2, Friendly Hunting, Herno, Lis Lareida, Lunaria, Odeeh, Peserico, Red Valentino, Tagliatore, Tods

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Who? What? When? How? Where? And Most Importantly: Why?

Who will sell what to whom, when, how, and where in the future? Or more precisely, as we really should consider this from the consumer’s point of view: Who will buy what from whom, when, where, and WHY in the future? What reads like a play on words is of crucial importance in a society in which a consumer debate, conducted quite ludicrously at times, is egging politics on. As necessary and exciting as systemic questions may be in a democracy, it should not be forgotten that the retail trade and – in logical consequence – consumption, have historically been the foundation of every civilizational development. This doesn’t mean that drastic, systematically effective changes should not – or must not – be considered. On the contrary. The eternally corny “Trade is Change” mantra has survived for so long because it is a short definition of a very decisive truth. However, the apparent antithesis, namely “Trade is Stability”, is also true. It sounds contradictory, but it really isn’t. Shortly before the start of a new decade, into which the fashion industry should venture with more confidence than it currently exudes, I would like to present five theses. These theses contain, at least in part, answers to the two questions asked above: 1. Personalisation is the new philosopher’s stone.

Establishing that data is the raw material of the future is no longer ground-breaking. However, data alone is, at least initially, nothing more than an enormous drain on computing power and storage space. The decisive factor is which questions data should and can answer. Only then can data be the key to an in-depth understanding of customers – their wishes, likes, and dislikes. Anyone who now suspects that so-called data kraken like Amazon and Zalando have an insurmountable competitive advantage, once again underestimates the human psyche and its inherent longing for personal attention. The latter is an essential element of personalisation.


Publisher, editorial office, advertising department and owner style in progress B2B Media GmbH Salzweg 17, 5081 Salzburg-Anif, Austria T 0043.6246.89 79 99 Management Stephan Huber


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Editors-in-chief Stephan Huber Martina Müllner-Seybold Editorial staff Stefanie Buchacher Petrina Engelke Isabel Faiss Kay Alexander Plonka Nicoletta Schaper Veronika Zangl Contributing writers Sophia Lambrakis Bernhard Ostertag Georg Wimmer

2. B2B + B2C + C2B…

In the past, communication between market participants was largely a one-way street, but digitisation in particular has resulted in an exchange in all directions. This became most obvious in the case of travel portals, which have had a direct impact on how even small B&B guesthouses communicate with their (potential) guests: on a highly personal level, with a lot of storytelling, and based on the power of images. Let’s be honest. Who books a hotel room without seeing a proper and trustworthy photo of the bathroom? Exactly… 3. In full consciousness…

Besides digitisation, environmental and sustainability issues will have the greatest influence on consumer behaviour in the medium to long term, not least because an ever-growing consumer base will demand, or even presuppose, different product standards and background stories. A taxation of CO2, whatever it may be called in the end, is only the beginning of a necessary restructuring of the tax and duty system towards true-cost pricing and cost-by-cause principle. Given that consumers are always among the polluters, this development will affect their wallets too. The fact that it is possible to have an order worth 5 Euros delivered from China free of charge is not an amazing accomplishment of free trade, but a flaw in the system. 4. Glocalisation

Why look far afield when the good is so close at hand? Especially since distance is becoming less and less synonymous with cosmopolitanism, but more so with “flygskam”. Sarcasm aside, the WHERE is becoming increasingly important in the authentic narrative about brands and products that consumers are looking for. This also applies to the retail trade as a place of encounter and human touch. 5. Product + Story = Success

This isn’t really a new formula, but it’s more important than ever in terms of addressing the most crucial of the questions mentioned at the beginning of this article. The WHY is what really moves a target group that needs nothing because it already has everything. It’s all about emotion beyond reason. What an opportunity! Stephan Huber

Art direction, production Elisabeth Prock-Huber Advertising director Stephan Huber Advertising representative Kay Alexander Plonka Back office management Sigrid Staber

Image editor Johannes Hemetsberger English translations Manfred Thurner Printing sandlerprint&packaging 3671 Marbach, Austria Printing coordinator Manfred Reitenbach

Next issue 8 January 2020




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