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With only 7% of brands knowing where their raw materials come from, one line with 100% traceability is an important step
”By unraveling our supply chain, we become responsible for our actions within it,” says ASKET’s Co-founder August Bard Bringéus, now presenting their 100% traceable merino garments. They’ve even created a special exhibition at their HQ to give customers insights.
The trouble in tracing raw materials, Bard Bringéus explains, is that they are commonly mixed and sold together at auctions in order for suppliers to meet quantity demands.
— This means that the true material source is erased early in the supply chain, he says.
To overcome this, they had to purchase wool directly from one farm.
— It took our team 18 months to find a farm that we were happy to work with, both in terms of producing quality wool and care for their flock. Eventually we landed on Smith Family farm in Australia and invested 20% of our previous year’s revenue to obtain 4300 kg of wool. That’s enough for an Italian spinner to set up a dedicated production line from raw wool to finished yarn for them.
Bard Bringéus explains how the Swedish direct-to-consumer brand have done away with seasonal collections that only fuel fast-consumption habits.
— We’re not here to add to the fashion industry, instead we’re here to change it, he says. It might sound paradoxical, after all we are in the business of selling clothes, but our definition of progress is reduced wardrobes. Our garments are our vehicle to achieving this. We’re replacing seasonal collections with a single permanent collection of zero-compromise garments and call them Meaningful Essentials — designed to last forever, he says, continuing,
— Without the fashion cycles breathing down our necks, there is no limit to the time we can invest in uncovering our supply chain. Every product has a story, makes an impact and has a cost. In uncovering our supply chain, we can start to give the whole picture, helping both ourselves and you our customers understand the effects of our decisions and begin to make better ones. It’s pretty hard to live without clothing — and socially unacceptable, to say the least — but we hope our work goes some way in encouraging people to opt for better, love their garments longer and truly appreciate what goes into making them.
Why is it so important to introduce your 100% traceability campaign this week?
— In spring 2018, we initiated our biggest commitment to full traceability yet by setting out to unravel our entire merino wool supply chain. Easier said than done, the apparel supply chain is inherently opaque and with only 7% of brands knowing where their raw materials come from, we really were setting out on an ambitious journey, says Bard Bringéus. The trouble in tracing raw materials is that they are commonly mixed and sold together at auctions in order for suppliers to meet quantity demands, meaning the true material source is erased early in the supply chain. To overcome this, ASKET had to purchase wool directly from one farm.
— It took our team 18 months to find a farm that we were happy to work with, both in terms of producing quality wool and care for their flock. Eventually we landed on Smith Family farm in Australia and invested 20% of our previous year’s revenue to obtain 4300 kg of wool — enough for an Italian spinner to set up a dedicated production line from raw wool to finished yarn for them.
— By unraveling our supply chain, we become responsible for our actions — or inactions — within it. We want to lead the charge, in empowering ourselves and consumers to make informed decisions, that are better for people and planet — ultimately showing the industry that it can hold itself accountable and start making better choices. How’s the reaction?
— It’s still early days but above anything I’d say people are curious. In a time where everyone is waking up to the impact the fashion industry’s environmental and social shortcomings, people value being able to educate themselves and ultimately make up their own mind about where to spend their money and what to demand from brands. We hope to spark a groundswell; we encourage individuals to start asking more questions and we call on the established brands not only to answer, but to use their clout in driving new practices across the entire supply chain. If a start-up can make such progress, think what power the incumbents might have. In-line with the brand uncovering 100% of their merino supply chain they decided to bring that journey to life and invite people to join them in unraveling the thread from sheep to sweater, with a pop-up exhibition in their showroom.
— Every garment is a labour of love, requiring precious natural resources and expert craftsmanship at every part of the process, says Bard Bringéus. While we share the stories of our supply chain; the factories, expertise involved and people behind it, on our website, it’s hard to convey what truly goes into every garment. The exhibition has been created to give insights into the process and show people exactly what goes into making the clothes, they wear every day. We feel that when you better understand the material, the complexity and the craftsmanship involved, you’ll understand the inherent value in it and respect it more. The special exhibition will run until end of October and also doubles up as an opportunity for people to try the new merino garments in the line-up, which includes the sweater, polo, zip-cardigan and roll neck. ASKET’s showroom is located at Dalagatan 27 in Stockholm. The next launch, when it’s getting chillier out there, is to add outerwear to their permanent collection. Come November they’ll be launching 3 outerwear jackets.
AsketAugust Bard Bringéus100% traceability