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Once again Denmark becomes an example that should be followed by other European countries; this time for its role in sustainability in fashion. Over the past few years many Danish fashion brands have started embracing the sustainable fashion model and using organic materials for their designs as opposed to fast fashion and massive production of clothing. We round up some of the best here.
The menswear brand KnowledgeCotton Apparel was founded in 2008 by Mads Mørup, but its story begins back in 1969 when Mads’s father, Jørgen Mørup, opened a small textile company in the Danish city Herning. Sustainability in fashion was one of his main principles and Mads is following his father’s lead. All KnowledgeCotton Apparel clothing is made of organic cotton and the company creates recycled PET polyester using plastic bottles. PET is a type of plastic derived from petroleum used to make soft drink bottles. By using PET, CO2 emissions are reduced by 80% compared to virgin polyester. From T-shirts and blazers to socks and bags, this Danish brand offers all kinds of men’s clothing and accessories.
By Signe is one of the most famous sustainable Danish brands. Using materials certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and unbleached fabrics, usually in their natural colour, By Signe is doing its bit to support and promote sustainability in fashion. The textiles the renowned brand uses are derived from organic cotton and bamboo fibre. By Signe designs are in clean-cut lines, with unbleached whites and sunset-pastel shades, embracing the simplicity of Scandinavian design.
Ann Wiberg is a well-known Danish designer who, at the age of 26, has launched her own collection. In 2002 she established Trash-Couture, a brand featuring clothes made with remarkable antique fabrics, lace, beads and unique embroidery. It became an instant success. At the time, sustainability in fashion wasn’t as popular as it is now, so Wiberg was breaking new ground in the fashion world. French Vogue in 2002 wrote: “Trash-Couture is hand-dyed, recycled, feathered, draped, slashed, trashed and intended to empower the wearer. Fit for an urban – princess!” That sentence says it all.
Underprotection’s range of stylish underwear, loungewear and swimwear is made of sustainable materials in collaboration with a small factory in New Delhi, India. Banana fabric, recycled polyester and organic cotton are some of the materials used in order to design elegant garments that are environmentally friendly. The innovative Danish brand entered sustainable fashion in 2010, and magazines such as Vogue, Marie Claire and Elle, have praised its elegance and contibution in sustainability.
Quality, sustainability and pride are the three principles that Elsk strives to follow when creating its collections. That’s why Elsk only sells just 200 pieces of each design. The clothes are made of organic Fairtrade cotton and other sustainable materials and Elsk only uses sustainable dye techniques. Elsk’s main focus is to preserve the environment while offering high-quality clothes to men and women who want to look their best.
Based in Copenhagen, RosenbergCph strives not only to create products with sustainability in mind but also to incorporate social responsibility into its business. Wool throws made of 100% Peruvian merino, cushions from recycled material, bed linen, oilcloths and tablecloths of organic cotton are just some of the items you’ll find in Anna Rosenberg’s shops. Every RosenbergCph product is made in Europe and most of them in Denmark at a Danish social enterprise, providing people with disabilities an opportunity to learn and work.
WORON is a Copenhagen-based brand founded by Arina and Anya Woron. What inspired them to start their own collection was the difficulty in finding beautiful, elegant lingerie that was also comfortable. But the sisters realised that by using sustainable materials that allow skin to breathe, they could combine comfort and style. Every underwear garment is sewn from the smooth fibre made from beechwood known as Lenzing Modal and Woron’s signature wash bags are made from organic cotton. Bodies, tops, leggings and soft bras are some of the products you’ll find in the collection.
After working for a decade as head of Henrik Vibskov Femme, Maja Brix decided to start her own brand. Sustainability plays a significant role at Brix’s company – not only are all of her products created from environmentally-friendly materials, but every aspect of her company is also structured around the sustainable model. She designs clothes for both men and women, and is mostly known for her organic cotton shirts and suits.
FONNESBECH is all about good design and quality. Its philosophy is to create clothes that will last by using the finest material and textiles. The first FONNESBECH shop opened in Copenhagen in 1847 by Anders Fonnesbech and, at the time, it was selling high-quality fabrics, textiles and garters. Later, it became a fashion house producing its own clothes and accessories and importing the best designers. In 2014, the fashion brand relaunched and lives by its motto: an innovative approach, a historic foundation and a sustainable perspective”.
BARBARA I GONGINI aims to design elegant, minimalist clothes that can fit everybody, regardless of sex. Loyal to the principle of Nordic fashion, the renowned designer creates sustainable garments with strong geometric cuts and soft ovoid silhouettes that accentuate the individuality of each person. Her designs are suitable for both men and women. Being a strong supporter of sustainable fashion, BARBARA I GONGINI received a special recognition in 2014 in the Denim Challenge hosted by Copenhagen Fashion Summit, the fashion’s world largest global event.
Carcel is an innovative fashion brand that aims to promote sustainability in fashion, while also helping imprisoned women. Veronica D’Souza is the person behind the idea of Carcel and, with the help of the talented designer Louise Van Hauen, her dream to improve the world through aspirational business solutions came to life. Each one of Carcel’s clothes consist of 100% natural material and are made by women in Cusco’s prison in Peru. In that way, not only does the company support sustainability in fashion, but it also gives women in prison new skills and wages in order to have a better life after their sentence ends.