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Sustainability pioneers teams up with top chef to launch a modern take on classic workwear

As a relatively small independent brand, Uniforms for the ­Dedicated has evolved organically over the last ten years. They’re exploring the space between street and formal wear, but above all, it’s crucial for co-founder and Brand Director Lars Johan Hedberg to stand for something positive. — We used to explore sustainability at a time when few paid much attention. I hope that our history and actions have made the brand authentic, he says.

Edited by: Johan Magnusson Photography: Fredrik Andersson Andersson

The new Autumn/Winter collection Parade includes a wide range of trousers with matching jackets.

— This casual tailoring style will be our main focus going forward. And I will most definitely wear the Macintosh inspired, relaxed fitted car coat we’ve made of recycled PET and organic cotton mix.

As the fashion industry is going through major challenges, not least with sustainability, it has pushed the brand to re-think how they operate.

— We are going more towards direct-to-consumer. We still work with showrooms in Paris and Milan. Selling to retailers will continue to play a great role, not least in a branding perspective, but in financial terms, we aim to be less dependent. It will allow us to make market quality design for a much more affordable price. With our new model, we can work with longer cycles and therefore, move away from being dependent on sale periods. And, last but not least, we are looking to take our research and development to the next level. A few years from now I doubt the ”ready-to-wear” production-model will survive, at least not in our segment.

Besides this new take on production, the brand is also looking to enter a whole new segment: workwear. Together with top chef Paul Svensson, they seek to translate their values concerning modernity and sustainable direction to all aspects of their business.

— Basically, we’ll bring to the workwear segment what we already do in fashion, weaving casual tailoring and streetwear influences with sustainable designs. As we’re positioned as the first contemporary fashion brand exploring this opportunity, we’ll inevitably challenge an entire industry. Working with Paul on this came naturally. When the restaurant at Fotografiska was looking for clothing to their personnel, he came to us. We’ve now made two models of shirts for them. Also, we’re teaming up for his new closed-cycle restaurant concept Paul Taylor, which he makes with his partner Tareq Taylor, which is set to open this fall. Paul has became a partner in our company.

Taking these new directions, Uniforms for the Dedicated will go live with a crowdfunding campaign on this Thursday. The goal is to fulfill their desire to increase cooperations, the number of brand advocates and what they make.

— The crowdfunding turns to both individuals and organisations who can invest anything from about 1 000 SEK, with a total goal to raise at least 1 million SEK at this stage. In return, one gets stock in our company and enjoy benefits such as personal discounts both online and in the Stockholm-store as long as one chooses to remain a partner. The money we raise will go to sales and marketing initiatives as we continue to develop these two new business models, says Hedberg.

How is the future for smaller fashion brands? And the future of retail?

— The smaller brands who find relevance and know how to establish and maintain a relationship with their fanbase, I believe have better opportunities. One needs to be great communicator, juggling transparency with storytelling, as well as getting more vertically involved and taking control of sales themselves, through e-commerce primarily. The rise of the online market places, is favourable to smaller brands, who may extend their e-commerce through platforms outside their own www. In terms of classic retail, from the brand’s point of view, I believe it is an important medium to showcase the brand’s cultural experience, even if just on a smaller scale, next to their online business. Likewise, wholesale remains important — in particular how mulitbrand stores place us in a context — even more in a branding perspective. In regards to retail as a whole, those who managed to stay relevant until this day, potentially face exciting times, perhaps as they continue to vertically evolve into product design. In any case, smaller brands and retailers alike, both needs their true authentic story to build from, which may set them apart from the larger corporate ones.

And your own future?

— We look forward to completing the funding campaign before we gear up to full speed. And, even though it’s a bit early to discuss this, we’re discussing our workwear line with other clients already.