Even though Stockholm-based ASKET is in the business of selling clothes, they have a completely different approach to the industry.
— Our definition of progress is reduced wardrobes — and our clothes are our vehicle to achieving this, says Co-Founder August Bard Bringéus.
— We’ve done away with a seasonal collection that only fuel fast-consumption habits. Replacing it with a single permanent collection of zero-compromise garments. We call them Meaningful Essentials — designed to last forever. It’s pretty hard — and socially unacceptable, to say the least! — to live without clothing, but we hope that in choosing ASKET, that people can opt for better, keeping their garments for longer and ultimately buy less. Simply put, we like to say that ASKET is about The Pursuit of Less.
On April 24, six years ago, the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed. Tragically the collapse took the lives of 1,138 people and another 2,500 were injured, making it the fourth largest industrial disaster in history. There were 5 garment factories in Rana Plaza, all manufacturing for big global brands. The collapse highlighted that there was a gross lack of accountability in the fashion supply chain.
— In light of the Rana Plaza collapse, Fashion Revolution was founded, says Bard Bringéus. It is a not-for-profit global movement that campaigns for the systemic reform of the fashion industry, focusing on the need for greater transparency in the fashion supply chain. While the organization campaigns year-round, on the anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster, they encourage consumers to ask #WhoMadeMyClothes, demand answers and use this momentum to forge ahead and create change.
ASKET’s way of tackling this issue is to work towards 100% traceability across their collections. And they’re really transparent about it, with the first release of what will be an annual Traceability Report, launched yesterday.
Why is traceability important for you?
— Garments have become disposable. A sad truth given that each item has an inherent value – from the raw resources that are required to make it, to the meticulous handcraft involved. In being fully transparent about our supply chain we hope to show people exactly what goes into making their clothes — and with it restore their value. What is more, once we understand our supply chain, we become responsible for our actions, or inactions. Ultimately, we want to empower ourselves and consumers to make informed decisions that are better for people and planet, he says, continuing,
— Launching our Traceability Standard last year marked our commitment to making every one of our garments 100% traceable by the end of 2019. In the last 12 months, we’ve seen progress, and our entire collection is now 74% traceable. It’s good progress but our journey has also been marred with challenges along the way. Faced with reluctant suppliers and industry nuances, we had underestimated how tough it would be to dig deeper and fully unravel the complexity of the supply chain, needed to achieve our target. In sharing both our progress and challenge, we hope to open up debate and encourage consumers as well as the rest of the industry to join us in demanding more transparency.
How will you continue your work? And will you reach 100%?
— Call us crazy but we’ll continue to strive for 100% traceability by the end of 2019. It will be tough, but we’ll continue to visit facilities around the world, partner with Blockchain technology providers and start working directly with farms and growers. The good news is that we are seeing a change in mindset, customers are demanding more from brands and as a result, the value chain is opening up to new ways of working. But we want to see this change happen faster. We’re calling on individuals to continue asking questions and we’re asking established brands to use their clout in driving new practices across the entire supply chain. We’re just a small, albeit growing and feisty team, and have managed to uncover a lot but in order to see faster progress, we need to spark a groundswell!
As if it was not enough work with traceability, ASKET also launched several additions to their clothing line.
— In case you had any doubts, I’m sure you will have guessed by now that we’re very particular when it comes to our permanent collection, only adding items that we believe to truly be timeless essentials. Every garment in our collection should give the wearer satisfaction year after year and we’re excited to add a number of additions that we felt were missing. Just in time for spring, we’re adding The Shorts. Admittedly not the tiny pairs that made an appearance on the Prada, Fendi, and Missoni catwalks but our organic-cotton classics will stand the test of time as much as Jude Law in The Talented Mr Ripley. Other items joining the lineup are The Cotton Sweater; knitted in Italy from a four-ply, extra fine long-staple Egyptian cotton yarn, it’s the perfect item for spring days and summer evenings. We’re also adding a new colorway to our Linen Shirt line-up. To boot we’ve done the math and the whole outfit is 88% traceable, says Bard Bringeus.