In Paid Partnership with Zalando

Designers Remix Was Sustainable Before Sustainability Was A Thing

Published 04/11/2020
By: xxx Published: d/m/Y

Last week Zalando launched the second round of their initiative Small Steps. Big Impact. A sustainability campaign where eight European designers have created a capsule collection exclusively for Zalando, created by sustainable materials. One of those designers being Designers Remix, a brand with sustainability in their DNA.

In the beginning of the 2000s designer Charlotte Eskildsen experienced firsthand the dirty backside of the blooming business that was the fashion industry. The increased shopping behaviour that had spread like a wildfire all over the world the past decades had lead to a luxury problem that no other generation really had had to deal with before in fashion; there were simply too much of everything. Eskildsen saw how the overproduced but perfectly good fabrics and garments were thrown out and burned because something new suddenly was better. This gave her an idea; what if someone took care of everything and turned the already exciting materials into new clothes? In 2002 Designers Remix were born.

Starting out as a brand that produced everything of waste materials, sustainability is a part of your DNA. Tell us about that?

I saw the overproduction and amount of waste that came from the fashion industry. So many styles and fabrics ended up as deadstock and was thrown out. It seemed so meaningless and wrong to let all of these resources go to waste. 

Therefore, I founded Designers Remix upon the idea of upcycling and remixing deadstock styles and fabrics into new styles. This is also the reason why we’re called Designers Remix. 

Today we are working with sustainability on many different levels. We’re only using sustainably preferred fabrics, which is very important as 70-80% of the climate footprint in the production of each piece of clothing comes from the fabrics itself. Furthermore we’re balancing out our climate footprint by investing in green and renewable wind energy. We’re also still upcycling deadstock and vintage styles into new one-of-a-kind styles as part of our Designers Remix Preloved line. 

Besides from these initiatives, we are also working on becoming as transparent as possible, and we have launched a new website with information about all of our suppliers. Sustainability is a continuous journey and we are constantly looking for ways to improve and become even more sustainable. 

Back in 2002 when you founded Designers Remix, sustainability wasn’t really a thing people talked about. How was the response to your sustainability actions?

Yes, that’s true. When Designers Remix was founded back in 2002 no one really talked about sustainability. You can even say that we were sustainable before sustainability was even a thing.   

We didn’t really mention the fact that the clothes was made from deadstock or used garments that much. People liked the idea of “new” pieces more back then. Today I’m so proud of our heritage and it’s a very integrated part of the way we think and work. 

How has producing sustainable clothing developed over time since you started Designers Remix?

With time and experience comes knowledge, and we definitely know so much more about sustainability today. But because so many has joined in the conversation, there is also so many definitions and ideas about what sustainability is. 

We have been very lucky to have my husband and our CEO, Niels Esklidsen, with us on this journey. He is also the Chairman of Global Fashion Agenda and he knows a lot about sustainability and how to make a true impact.

We have focused a lot on the climate by reducing our climate footprint through sustainably preferred fabrics, our upcycling and circular take-back scheme, and our climate compensation. But sustainability is always a work in process and we’re still developing. 

Why did you choose to be a part of this sustainability initiative with Zalando?

I admire the way Zalando is pushing the sustainable agenda – especially with their Small steps. Big impact. campaign. 

Zalando has a lot of power and authority and they are very good at setting sustainable standards for their partners too. Their stand towards sustainability can play an important role in getting more brands and consumers involved with sustainability. 

And Zalando has a huge reach, which means that the sustainable message comes across to a very broad audience. 

“I love working with sustainably preferred fabrics, and it’s a challenge that also sparks my creativity and forces me to think outside of the box. “
– Charlotte Eskildsen

Talia Coat

Made out of 60% Polyurethane, 26% Recycled Polyester, 14% Polyester.

Talia Jumpsuit

Made out of 60% Polyurethane, 26% Recycled Polyester, 14% Polyester.

Tell us a little bit about the collection?

The collection is build up around wardrobe essentials and forever-classic pieces such as a tailored and slightly oversized suit and a classic and soft trench coat that can be worn beyond seasons. The collection also shows a range of soft wool styles in mellow colours of light grey melange and camel, that are comfortable and easy-to-wear. 

And what about the materials?

All pieces are of course made out of sustainably preferred fabrics such as recycled wool, recycled polyester, Ecovero viscose, wool from non-mulesed sheep and leather free leather. I’m very excited about the leather-free leather styles that provide a cruelty free, and yet refined and soft, alternative to leather.

Any favourite piece you are partially proud of?

The color-blocked leather-free leather trench coat is definitely a favorite of mine. I find it to be both classic and edgy. And I’m very excited about the leather-free leather. 

When designing a sustainable collection, do you get inspired by the fabrics and materials you want to use and create the collection based on that or do you start with the design and just make sure that the end product is sustainably made?

Both. I often find inspiration in fabrics and materials, and they’re always part of my mood board and design process. A specific fabric, colour and texture can be the inspirational starting point for a new style. 

But sometimes it’s the other way around where I have a design on my mind and need to find the right fabric to create it. Then I have to look at the options I have available that are as sustainable as possible. I would lie if I said that I don’t sometimes miss being able to eat everything from the buffet. But overall I love working with sustainably preferred fabrics, and it’s a challenge that also sparks my creativity and forces me to think outside of the box. 

If you think about the journey you have been on for the past 20 years with Designers Remix, how will you continue to work for a more sustainable fashion climate?

I think sustainability is the most important topic of today, and we will continue to find ways to become more sustainable. And we will continue to use sustainably preferred fabrics and to balance out our CO2 footprint while we are looking for new ways to improve. 

What is the next big thing within sustainable fashion?

I think that one of the next big things in terms of sustainability in fashion will be the regulations from the government and key stakeholders. Many will probably be forced to change their way of working due to outside demands and regulations.  

Published 04/11/2020

Fanny Ekstrand is a writer, creative consultant and founder of Hobnob. She says she is the master of vintage shopping and knows all the pasta dishes in the world.

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