Jungle Folk is one of those brands that stun you from the very first second. With an extremely minimalist and timeless look and soft fabrics and exquisite quality, this Swiss clothing brand has a very artisan and sustainable character. They work directly with each artisan, the main protagonists of each collection’s development process. In addition, they only work with certified organic or recycled materials that last and have a positive environmental footprint.
We want to create a lasting change by investing in people.
Pauline Marie Treis, the creative mind behind the brand, states that the large fashion brands have robbed us of our style, our individuality. And how right she is! We are all uniformed… She tell us very interesting things about Jungle Folk and about its sustainable lifestyle, an example for those who want to go back to responsible consumption.
In her day to day, Pauline rides a bike. When she’s out of town, she rents one. I also walk a lot. When I travel, I try to share cars with friends. I’m a big fan of this sort of companies, which offer sharing services such as car-sharing. Sharing makes me happy. I live in a building that has six apartments in which we all share everything, it’s like a great community, giving and taking…
As for her diet she tells us she’s vegetarian. I buy everything bio and local. I try to consume very little but getting good quality. I have a very minimalist lifestyle, in several ways. I try not to spend money on things I don’t need. I like to invest more in my time, my work, in building my brand, developing designs, informing myself, reading good books…
Of course, we find tons of Jungle Folk garments in Pauline’s wardrobe, as it’s her own brand, but we also find KowTow, Maska and a lot of vintage clothing. She usually doesn’t buy much. Just to give you an idea, every year I buy a pair of pants, a T-shirt and a jacket. In the last 4 years I’ve only bought very specific things that worked well with several looks.
We dream of a world in which physical and practical needs are above materialistic desires.
We asked her how she selected her vintage clothes. I like to go to selected second-hand markets, such as the Helvetiaplatzt and Bürkliplatz Flohmarkt, which open every Saturday in Zurich. I also go to some second hand stores that do a pre-selection. If they offer a lot of clothes, I get lost. Pauline recommends certain stores in Zurich that are part of the sustainable fashion movement: for conscious fashion, I go to KariKari and rrrevolve. To find books and get a coffee, I recommend spheres. For those looking for vintage furniture, the place is Walter Vintage. Around Zurich there are also other highly recommended shops: in Basel there’s Riviera and Luzern Glore. In Bern, I recommend Clomes. Pauline tells us that, even when it’s second-hand, she doesn’t buy just anything, she only buys clothes that are of a very good quality and which one can wear for a long time.
Pauline was heading into another direction. I was studying Political Science, History of the National Sciences, but I didn’t really think I’d be able to put my energy into that. I want to do something very specific that would have a huge impact. I liked fashion and began researching fabrics. It was exciting, I learned a lot and I noticed that was my path.
On a trip to Latin America I met a lot of people in Colombia and Peru who worked in organic fabrics, natural cottons, artisans with old techniques like macramé… I began to do some trials and create macramé garments…
Jungle Folk’s first collection came from a six-month trip to the center of Colombian handicrafts, where Pauline did some trials with artisans to create the first pieces. I introduced them in Europe and they were very well accepted. They needed those alternatives here: sustainable, cool and wearable brands. Now the market has changed a lot. Now there are many more cool fashionable sustainable brands, but there’s still a lot to be done.
Given the success of her first collection, Pauline created a small company in Europe, where he began to produce in a small-scale… Then I created a style that defines me: a wearable brand, made with very high quality fabrics.
Cotton, alpaca and 50% alpaca threads from Peru are some of the materials that define Jungle Folk. The brand also works with German cotton suppliers, Turkish organic cottons and French linens. All of the fabrics I look for need to have GOTS certification. Now I want to return to the craft process. I’m talking to workshops in India and Colombia that make silk by hand. It’s amazing what you can find on the internet. For example, there are online fairs, such as TheSource, in England, that connect small cooperatives that are lost around the world with fashion brands.
Speaking of ecological fashion, Pauline tells us something we hadn’t though of before and which we found very interesting: People are very insecure with their style, we let ourselves get carried away by what fashion magazines or celebrities dictate, without even thinking about what we really like and what defines us. Especially young people. They go in groups and buy in bulk at whichever mall guides them. There’s very little individuality and that has a devastating effect on the planet and its people.
Wow! The fact that we’re all in uniform is very true! I think influencers and fashion magazines have a lot of responsibility in this. They sell themselves to big brands that have a huge possibility of investing in marketing and at the end that’s what drives the consumer. It’s very sad, but it’s changing. More and more people are turning around and recognizing the alternatives that other, more individualistic and smaller brands, offer… They are turning around too slowly for my taste, but we’re on our way.
Consumers are still unwilling to pay more for a sustainable garment. That’s why it’s difficult for us to earn money. I still don’t live off my brand, I have another job. I need to grow because I’m managing too many things, from visiting the Colombian artisans to holding the photo shoots, making the website… I need a team because I can’t do it all by myself.
Designers need to support each other. I get contacted by a lot of creatives who are just starting and who ask me how to get started. I support them because I understand that it’s the only way for this movement to grow.
We get lost in Jungle Folk’s new collection, CABO Collection, which is very Mediterranean, very blue, white, very positive. It’s composed of 30 garments. Prices range from 80 euros for a linen shirt to 300 for a silk dress. In it, we find sustainability in its pure form.
It has very fun prints and is very feminine. I particularly like the oversized kaftans, long linen coats, linen bomber… – emphasizes Pauline. It’s made with exquisite cottons, such as Pima cotton from Peru, one of the most prized in the world, and Oxford; precious linens from France woven in Austria which fall in an amazing way… I’ve also used Peace Silk from India. Usually, to make a silk thread they cook the silk eggs with the worm inside, because it’s easier and because that way the thread doesn’t break, it comes out longer. However, with Peace Silk, they let the worms be born, and only cook the shell. The threads are shorter, so it’s more difficult to make a silk cloth, but the worms don’t die.
There’s so much more left to learn, right?