Andreas Åhrman knows the denim business. The Swede worked for Nudie Jeans for 13 years. But he felt it was time for a change–and a challenge: Together with his parter Julia Åhrman, a designer and artist, he just launched Amendi (a sobriquet for “amendments”), a new denim and fashion brand that the couple believes “will be the most transparent clothing brand in the world.” We talked to Åhrman about this rather ambitious goal.
You had been working with a popular sustainability-conscious denim brand already. Why now this step and creating a new denim brand?
I worked at Nudie Jeans for 13 years and saw it grow from a small company with a tight group of people and into a somewhat corporate business. I like working in start-up companies, and me and Julia [Åhrman] have had a dream for some time to start a brand were we don’t have to compromise on anything in terms of our beliefs and ways of doing business. Amendi is mine and Julia's version of a progressive, contemporary, transparent brand with a focus on denims.
We do not like to use words such as ‘sustainability’ that much, instead we focus on transparency and traceability and based on the facts that we provide, we let the consumers decide if we are creating a so-called sustainable product or not.
When we started to build our supply chain we were already aware there were great sources of organic cotton in Turkey. Later we discovered some of the best fabric suppliers of denim were stationed in Turkey as well which meant shorter transportation routes between farms and mills. We were very attracted to the idea of a tight supply chain with short transportation routes which allows for easier traceability, lower carbon footprint, and better business control, and when we looked for the best partner to produce our denim we found Strom Denim in Istanbul. Strom shared our values and our passion to create a product with the lowest possible impact on the environment and were already invested in new technology like nano-bubble washing, ozone treatments, alternatives for stonewashing, laser treatments etc. We did some testing and realized that a very dynamic and attractive product can be made while still saving water, excluding harmful chemicals and not using any scrapings on the garments.
Our products are mainly made of organic cotton, recycled cotton, recycled cashmere, recycled wool and Tencel. Those raw materials are all to be considered sustainable but we also want to focus on next steps in the production such as dyeing processes, wash treatments, transportation etc. trying our best to keep our footprint as small as possible. We present our full supply chain at amendi.com that launches March 12. Through our site we provide traceability of each garment that we produce. The consumer can access the "journey" of each product by scanning a QR code or typing in the SKU number or name.
But what makes Amendi different from other denim brands that claim to be sustainable?
We realize and confirm that by producing new products we take from the Earth's natural resources, so in a way you could say that not producing any new clothing would be the most sustainable way. However, many consumers do want to buy new products and then we want to take a share of the market from other players in the industry that don’t necessarily care so much about the environment. We reason that it's better to buy an organic cotton, no harmful chemical, no pimp (toxic) stones pair of jeans rather than a jean that consists of conventional cotton, sprayed with harmful chemicals etc.
We basically want to share all information we have about our supply chain and why each product costs what it costs. Each and every garment has a "Fabrication Facts Tag" where we present what the product is made of, water usage and a cost breakdown. The tag is a short version of the product data but something that we think should be legislated by governments. Now we needed to figure out our own way to present what our product consists of but we believe it would be easier and more convenient for consumers and brands if this was governed by law. In addition we offer a traceability service for each and every garment. In many cases we have information from where the cotton seed comes from to the ready garment and we try to present this chain in a somewhat interesting and easy way without excluding any of the info we have. By offering full transparency we let the consumers decide if we are doing a good job or not.
Yes. The most sustainable way would be to not produce any new clothing but only as long as all other manufacturers and brands would stop producing new clothing. We think it's important that brands such as Amendi stake claim in the market and outcompete other brands that don’t have an interest in trying their best in minimizing their environmental footprint.
SOME MORE FACTS ABOUT AMENDI
Retail price points:
All products are offered in wholesale at a 2.8 IMU.
First collection drops in March and consists of 42 SKU and 66 options (colors).
Two main collections (Spring-Fall) and small product drops in between.
The products will be available from March 14 at amendi.com and at select retailers.