Kristofer Kongshaug (N)

June 15, 2010

Fashion by Kristofer Kongshaug

How and why do I engage in aspects of sustainability in my fashion design?

For KK, design and fabrics are the most important things to establish an expression, whether the materials are sustainable or not. After reading and learning more about this GREEN part of the industry, we started looking at what materials we already were using and discovered that we had for long time been using both biodegradable fabrics, organic cottons and several new sustainable fibers in our garments. This without really having a green agenda.

We still don’t like to call ourself a green company, we always use the fabric which fits the esthetics of the brand, whether it is sustainable or not, of course if it is, it’s always a plus. We truly believe that sustainable materials will be the future of fashion, but we see it as the fabric manufacturer’s responsibility to take the necessary measures to make this happen.

If the factories could offer a product that can compete both with price and design, we would already have a green industry. Sadly this is not the case, it’s impossible for us to be a completely green company without changing the image and philosophy of the brand.

One of the biggest challenges as a fashion designer is the constant fight against time. I’m sure we all could be better finding alternative sustainable materials, but time is money. Big companies with huge resources don’t really have any excuse to not try harder. I think young companies with limited recourses somehow should get rewarded. This can be done in two ways:

1. Direct sponsorships from the industry, not from one company, but from a common organization for all green fabric manufacturers. This should not be a sponsorship that gives materials for free. But a sponsorship which gives small companies with profits under a certain limit a good discount, and no minimums on orders.

2. Government funding: A funding for use of sustainable materials over a limited period of max 3 years or until the company is profitable. This should only be for startups, and companies younger than 3 years.

I truly believe many young designer would be much more likely to choose green if they had one of the two options above. And I think both parts would gain with a sponsor solution.

Kristofer Kongshaug

What does sustainability mean for me as a designer?

trouble, it means boring basics… and I hope this will change. I think it is important, and that we all have some kind of responsibility. But it’s not my main focus, as I mentioned before, when we use sustainable fabrics, it’s usually a choice done with respect to the fabric style and not necessary because it’s a sustainable material…

What does sustainability mean for me as a consumer?

I’m more likely to buy other sustainable products than cloths. I will not buy a garment just because somebody put green or sustainable in my face and think that this will sell the product. We buy what we like, if the garments I buy happen to be sustainable good, if not…

What does sustainability mean for me in general?

A challenge, I don’t think the industry is ready yet. The possible options of fabrics are still to poor, at least for the luxury industry. When this change I see no reason why the industry shouldn’t as well…

kristofer@kristoferkongshaug.com

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