Lessons learned, so far

Greater Than A Wool T-shirt

We started with an optimistic approach and lots of energy. Through our research, we came across Kjersti Kviseth. She has worked with companies on how to care for our planet long before most of us even gave this subject much thought. Having her as a part of the team gave us the power we needed to move forward.

We work with a lot of known standards. Organic fabrics, recycled fabrics, non-toxic colors, and so on. All good standards that are very popular. But the most important thing is that we focus on is how we use and recycle the resources on this planet. Don’t create more waste! In many ways, it is as simple as that. Create products that can be put back into the world as new resources and new products when they´re worn out. We´re already using much more resources than this planet can regenerate, so we need to use our resources over and over again as new and meaningful products. They can not end up as waste after we´ve used them once.

Organic cotton and recycled polyester are both good materials. But they are also very different. Cotton is a natural fiber that should be recycled by nature itself. Handled in the right way it will go back to earth/soil and be energy for new plants and life. Polyester is a synthetic fiber made from plastic. It will take nature 400+ years to break down plastic. That´s why our oceans are filled with it! All plastic fibers must go through an industrial recycling, and then it can give life to a new jacket with recycled polyester again.

So when you buy a t-shirt made from 50% organic cotton and 50% recycled polyester you´re buying a product made from two great fabrics, but you´re also buying something that can never be recycled again and is doomed to end up as waste. Unless you´re going to take the whole t-short apart fiber by fiber… Which is not likely to happen.

We aim to make products that are 100% mono material. Meaning they either have 100% natural or synthetic fibers. I say aim to do because we are almost there. There is one thing the industry seems to have forgotten, or they don’t care about. If you buy a sweater and it says 100% organic cotton, it is as good as guaranteed that this is a lie. Because the problem is that plastic is a great material when it comes to production. It´s cheap, light and strong and you can develop it to have almost any quality/feature you want. So basically all sewing thread is made from plastic. Light and strong nylon plastic that is perfect for fast and efficient production. But since there is no requirement in the industry to tell the consumer what kind of thread is used, the neck-label will read 100% organic cotton even if that is not the case.

And this is where the “aim for 100% mono material” comes in. We have worked for some time now to find an alternative to a synthetic thread for our garments made from natural fibers. In our first collection we had solved a part of this problem, and for this collection, there are more garments and more seems where we use a thread made from natural fibers.

There´s no wonder we have so much plastic on this planet. It´s a cheap material that works well in many products. The sewing thread is just one example. Our mono material strategy faces plenty of challenges when designing, constructing and producing garments. Since we have a love for the materials produced by nature most of our garments are mono natural materials. Blending in a little plastic would be the quick fix almost every time we´re faced with a challenge. But we strive to find better solutions, and if we can´t find one we will simply not produce the garment.

We have learned that there´s a good reason why the clothing industry operates the way it does. But that is not a good reason for saying that this is the way things should be in the future. The cool thing is that we have learned and seen that a lot can be done. Pushing for change even a small company like >A can make things happen. We have introduces new materials and new production technics in our production facilities. And we have only been in production for two years. That tells me that this is an industry willing to change if good solutions can be found. Because the reason for change is crystal clear.

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