Just returning home from our Paris trip, we're reflecting on the labels we've seen and the designers we've met. We've met many brands with a perspective on sustainability, but not necessarily the same understanding of how to approach the topic.
Visiting trade shows and showrooms is something new for us, and it has been a lot of fun! We started at 'Revolver' in Denmark during Copenhagen Fashion Week, and we just came back fresh from Paris - and we can already reveal that many new additions to Young Designers United have been discovered. We were really impressed with the styles and the quality of the labels we had an appointment with.
A while ago, we decided that we want to add more and more sustainable options to our store. We believe that especially basic pieces, such as plain cotton t-shirts, should originate from sustainable fabrics and sources. The first selection of sustainable pieces has already arrived in the store for the spring/summer season, but more will be added to the store in the next season. This is all to move towards the sustainable future that is needed.
In 2020, a lot of labels do different things to make their collection more sustainable. Some will use dead-stock fabrics (fabrics that are collecting dust in warehouses) to create their collections, others will use entirely organic materials for their pieces. And a third approach, and one that we value a lot, is creating pieces that are not trend-sensitive. But oftentimes, one perspective leads to the other.
It's our goal to curate an assortment that isn't based largely on the concept of seasons. We understand that there will always be seasons (because of the weather), but since the (temperature) difference between seasons are becoming less and less significant, there's mostly no need for a sharp division between your summer and winter wardrobe. In fact, most of your items can be used for most of the year.
Creating a lasting wardrobe
There are many approaches to creating a more sustainable wardrobe, and there is not one correct solution. However, we believe that being more sensible about what we are buying is the absolute best starting point. Spend some time to figure out what your style is, and be critical when shopping for new items. Cheap impulse buys from high-street chains can be tempting, but usually the quality isn't great, which causes you to discard the item faster. When we buy items of higher quality (both when it comes to the quality of the garment, but also in terms of design), we tend to treat it more carefully and treasure it for longer, making it a more sustainable choice. Though it can sound contradictory, we're firm believers that less is more when it comes to creating a lasting wardrobe: buy less, choose well and make it last: opt for high quality items that fit your style and suit you, avoid items that are too trend sensitive, and don't buy items you think you'll only wear for one occasion.
Sustainable fashion is not boring
The words 'sustainable' and 'fashion' in the same sentence might sound boring to some. After all, isn't fashion about the latest styles and trends, different trends every season, with designers always presenting 'something new'? Yes and no. This used to be the case even though, ironically, we all know that fashion always rotates, and that the trend we swore never to wear again will almost certainly come back in style if we just wait long enough: possibly reinterpreted in some way, but not new.
In the past few years, there has certainly been an increased awareness in the fashion industry about sustainability, and the topic keeps gaining popularity. As Yves Saint Laurent once famously said: "Fashion fade, style is eternal". We all know that trends fade, sometimes incredibly quick, so why are we still focused on trying to keep up with a system that we know we can't keep up with?
Lately, many people from the fashion industry have made a point of this, especially influencers and designers. These people help to promote a more sustainable view on fashion, especially by addressing the topic with words, but also by showing in pictures how they are not afraid of wearing the same items multiple times, and how they seem to be focusing more on personal style than constantly being in tune with the latest trends. On the design-front we see a lot of emerging brands with a strong perspective on sustainability, and how these are communicating their mission in various ways, whether their focus being on only using organic materials, on creating timeless styles or (in many cases) a combination of these two.
The future of Young Designers United
Aesthetically our store is moving more towards a typical Scandinavian understanding of style, offering a calm and largely minimalist selection, but this is more than only an aesthetic decision: the labels we choose to focus on care greatly for the quality of the materials used. The garments we pick for the shop have the quality to last for years when treated well. We want to offer a curated selection of items that are more or less season-less (with a few exceptions), and that you'll want to reach out for not just this seasons, but also many seasons ahead. As fashion lovers we like and acknowledge trends, and we incorporate them in our assortment, but our heart lies in the timeless pieces.