Casually stumbling into the fashion brand Dedicated was to us like finding an underground party… Incredible! The freshness of this Swedish brand and its passion for graphic design hooks us from the very beginning. Its founder and team know how to make the most of its vast network of creators to recreate printed stories in their highly contemporary and yet very relaxed collections. If to all of this we add the fact that all of Dedicated’s garments are made of organic cotton or recycled materials and are certified with the Fairtrade and GOTS badges, there’s only one thing left: interviewing its founder, Johan Graffner.
Fast fashion is the new bad style/low class and well-made sustainable clothing is the new way of showing sophistication. The outmost luxury is hand-made bespoke clothing where you get something that is “one of a kind”.
He tells us that Dedicated is one of the few ecological fashion brands created for young men. According to surveys, young men are the least concerned with sustainability, which makes the challenge greater.
Johan Graffner had been creating fashion companies for more than 20 years when… I started traveling in the production countries in the late 90’s, I saw the environmental destruction and the polluted rivers. When we started Dedicated, our mission was to represent a positive alternative. Our main market is young men and according to the surveys, this is the segment which cares the least about sustainability. We see it as our challenge to change this.
Many of the sustainable brands are not fashion or trend focused as their aim is to produce clothes that are more ”timeless”. This is great, but it’s not the way to win trendy young customers. Both brands and consumers must to re-think sustainability because conscious is cool.
It was 2006, and Johan decided to create a Concept Store called T-Shirt Store. We actually started with a retail concept called TShirt Store in 2006, where we collaborate with independent artist and creators from around the world and print their work on ”the perfect T-shirt” which of course has to be GOS and Fairtrade certified. Later on we had demand from other stores and in 2012 we created Dedicated Brand – Dedicated to creativity and sustainability. Now we’re re-branding all the TShirt Store’s to Dedicated and see a massive growth in our wholesale, so it’s exciting! – he tells us.
Dedicated dissociates from and faces the mass consumption madness, but does so with a clear objective: We want to promote creative people and sustainability in order to inspire people on a global level.
The new Autumn Winter 2016/2017 collection includes nice jackets in recycled PET polyester. They continue with their main themes biking, POP-Culture and internet. This season Dedicated got included in the Textile Exchange 100% Club which only includes the world’s most responsible brands and it turns out that Dedicated is the only street fashion brand that qualified.
We asked his opinion about those who think that eco fashion isn’t cool: It’s true that many of the sustainable brands are not fashion or trend focused as their aim is to produce clothes that are more ”timeless”. This is great, but it’s not the way to win trendy young customers. Both brands and consumers must to re-think sustainability because conscious is cool. Sustainable must be the new standard, as everything else only adds to the environmental problems and no one wants that.
To those for whom it’s still not clear, Johan states: Fast fashion is the new bad style/low class and well-made sustainable clothing is the new way of showing sophistication. The outmost luxury is hand-made bespoke clothing where you get something that is “one of a kind”. I’m very happy to see that almost all the premium labels are starting to produce responsibly. They know that we’ve reached the end of the road in this destructive business.
This thing about being sustainable and cool isn’t easy. According to Johan: we prioritise style and fashion when we design our collections and the most difficult thing is that we have to decline some design ideas because the fabrics or applications are not sustainable. I find this problem quite frustrating!
But, what’s really happening? The final consumer, you and me, don’t know it yet… The industry is changing rapidly because of the global expansion of Fast Fashion companies such as Zara, HM, Primark etc, combined with the internet revolution. Now people expect instant availability of the latest styles and this creates a need for shortening the production lead times which is putting a massive stress on factory workers. There’s a constant pressure for lowering the production costs and although the labor cost is only 10% of a garment, the easy solution for the factories is to slash the wages.
The fashion industry is the world´s 2:nd most polluting industry and that you hold the consumer power to change this. The planet and all living things deserve that you take this responsibility.
What? Even more? Yes, yes. Most fast fashion companies produce in countries like Bangladesh, Indi, Pakistan, Cambodia, Vietnam and they pay ¼ of a living wage. This is absolutely disgraceful!– Johan stresses. And he isn’t wrong!
It’s clear that this has to end. To do this, Johan encourages new ethical and ecological fashion designers to keep believing in what they do. First, don’t even think of using non-organic cotton. Talk to responsible labels and get sourcing help and advice. Only use small producers when your small, so that they can give you attention. Visit the producers in order to understand their opportunities and challenges.
And the consumers? What should we tell them? The fashion industry is the world´s 2:nd most polluting industry and that you hold the consumer power to change this. The planet and all living things deserve that you take this responsibility.
Johan concludes our interview with a gratitude lesson that integrates a lot of inspiration. I want to give a shout out to designer Vivienne Westwood, actor Leonardo Di Caprio, big fashion business Kering Group, Climate professor Johan Rockström, Head of state Angela Merkel, Fairtrade cotton initiator Sreeranga Rajan and Organic cotton visionary Vishnu Prasad.