The powerful simplicity of minimalistic fashion

Long Robe Dress in Petroleum, Royal Capsule | Sustainable Fashion by ANNRO

Sustainable, desirable and minimalistic. That’s how ANNRO has been defined by its founder. We’ve already dug into fashion sustainability; now it’s the turn of minimalism. What is it, what does it imply in fashion and what is it for ANNRO?

What is minimalism?

Minimalism emerged as an artistic movement in 1960s in New York. As a direct reaction against abstract expressionism — mostly focusing on spontaneous creation and emotional intensity, minimalist art forces its viewers to contemplate the physical object itself and its properties like light, weight and height. Symbolism and elaborate metaphors are set aside; any fine art value is eschewed to leave room to a symphony of lines and geometrical forms. Materials are attentively chosen in order to ensure that the object is presented exactly as it appears, in its plainness.

Donald Judd, Untitled, 1967 at MoMa

What is minimalistic fashion?

Exactly like in visual art, minimalism in fashion concentrates both on the form and fabric. Minimalist fashion designers usually opt for the repetition of geometric lines, the utilization of unconventional materials and the choice of a monochrome palette. The designs are usually reduced to their essential elements through a process of “reductivism”, which makes the viewer concentrate on the garments’ volume, shapes and proportions rather than on the purpose of the clothing. Since they sometimes do not follow the shape of the human body, minimalist garments contribute to defy the sexualization of the female body, thus promoting a genderless, ageless and weightless style.

Tze Goh, 2012. Photo by Ross Shields

Minimalism and ANNRO

ANNRO represents all this to such an extent, that we can state that minimalism is strongly inherent to it. The purity of the lines together with the meticulous attention to aesthetic expression as well as the choice of following an ethical path evidently makes the brand stand out.

As a project that stems from simplicity but conveys meaningful messages — especially about eco-consciousness and the valorisation of beautiful designs, ANNRO’s style appears to sum up what Donald Judd defines as “the simple expression of a complex thought”, when he talks about the minimalistic art.

So, if it is true that there is beauty in simplicity, ANNRO is certainly the right choice.

ANNRO: Behind the Seams

ANNRO: Behind the Seams

I have recently interviewed our dejlige designer Anne Rosholm, the creator of ANNRO, to find out more about the world of the brand.

10.02, Nørrebro. I walked into Andersen & Maillard, one of the coziest coffee shops in the Nørrebro area in Copenhagen. The smell of coffee and fresh-baked pastries was incredible. I might let the kanelsnegle at the counter tempt me, but Anne’s waving made me go back to reality. So, there she was! Anne — wearing her most adorable smile. She was wearing a piece of black sustainable velvet clothing from the ANNRO ROYAL capsule.

I know Anne enough to understand when she is a bit nervous and, indeed, she was. So I tried to reassure her in front of a good cup of coffee…and with a dose of “no worries, easy questions!”.

Livia: “Hello Anne! So, can you explain to us how the idea of creating ANNRO was born?”

Anne: “I’ve wanted to become a fashion designer since I can remember, and the idea of launching my own brand has always been on my mind (smiling). So, after my graduation in Trend and Design Strategy at KEA, I decided to actually go for it, follow my dream and start creating ANNRO. I will not deny that the fear was real at the beginning”.

Livia: “Fear? Why? What were you afraid of?”

Anne: “I think that a lot of entrepreneurs begin their journey with a fear of failing, and I was no exception. When you start a business with something that lies very close to your heart, it becomes a fragile process. Though as soon as I got going — and failed a few times — I realised that this is all part of the process. I have no intention of giving up on this dream, no matter how many times I have to fail to succeed”.

Livia: “That’s great! I’m very happy to hear that. What would you say is the main mission of ANNRO?”

Anne: “ANNRO stems from the idea of finding a way to create designs that are desirable not only because they’re sustainable, but also because they’re beautiful. Combining fashionable designs with sustainable materials is the essence of ANNRO for me — and on this lies its mission, I would say”.

Livia: “Yes, about that, I see more and more emergent brands choosing to embrace sustainability. Why did you choose the sustainability path for your brand?”

Anne: “I think sustainability should be a given for all businesses and brands worldwide. We have to think about ways to exist that don’t affect nature and humanity negatively — or at least try. I chose the sustainable path for ANNRO essentially because I really want to make a difference and give the fashion industry an opportunity to improve itself — or even redeem”.

Livia: “You are referring to the consequences of fast-fashion production. Aren’t you?”

Anne: “Yes, I am. The fast-fashion industry is such a huge market. Many consumers are not aware of what might be behind a 30 DKK t-shirt. In most cases, it is damaging both to the environment and the workers on a global scale. I want to change the attitude of consumers towards being more conscious about what they wear. We often forget that we can actually change things, if we want to — and raising awareness about new sustainable alternatives in the world of fashion has become one of my pressing concerns”.

Livia: “That’s great, Anne. Really, I think that’s very noble. Now, a request: three adjectives to define the style of ANNRO’s creations…”

Anne: “Well, I would say the style of ANNRO is conscious, comfy, and high-quality, and if I can add one more — minimalistic.

Conscious: goes without explanations. As I told you earlier, this was a given for me since the very first moment I decided to launch my fashion brand. If sustainability is the future and we can choose to wear our future, why not do that? (smiling).

Comfy: personally I hate wearing clothes that is scratchy or too tight. Oh my God, can you stand that? ’cause I can’t! (laughing). So I really want my creations to be beautiful and comfortable to wear at the same time.

High-quality: well, all the garments I create go through an iterative process of sending samples back and forth between me and the sewing room in Poland — sometimes I actually might send it back 4 or 5 times with corrections before approving the final sample. Everything has to be perfect, you know? And especially in the stage of sourcing materials, I always look for certified fabrics that have been made without chemicals, which is better for nature as well as for our bodies when wearing them.

Minimalistic: as far as possible, I try to create designs that have a minimalistic look in terms of not using too much trim, such as zippers, buttons, etc. This is mostly to minimize the risk of anything breaking or falling off, and thereby prolonging the life span of the garments — but also to make the garments’ recycling process easier”.

Livia: “Alright. Well, Anne, this is the very last one. We are really curious about ANNRO summer collection. Please, tell us a bit about that!”

Anne: “I don’t want to give away too much just yet, but I can tell you that I have been working with a super-soft bamboo material and all the designs for the new collection are going to be very light and flowy. Hopefully this is going to be a great mixture for the perfect summer styles”.

The fabrics of the future

At ANNRO, we devote particular attention to the process of manufacturing our clothes with sustainable fabrics. What has to be considered for the building of a solid value chain by fashion designers? And where do sustainable fabrics come from? Let’s find out together!

When coming to the choice of fabrics, sustainable fashion can be pretty demanding. Everything has to be carefully reasoned and coherently applied in order to minimize the impact both in the social and environmental sphere. Reconsidering the materials used for producing clothes is an essential step towards the introduction of new ethics.

Acting sustainably begins with a conscious sourcing of materials

Achieving an eco-conscious production requires a series of considerations that have to be thought of by the fashion designers; from the extraction or harvesting of the raw material to the textile production and dye-fixing process and the biodegradability level of the fabrics for their future disposal.

Photo by Marianne Krohn on Unsplash

The fibre mostly used for the production of sustainable clothes are cotton and linen. Among them, cotton is said to be the oldest natural fibre existent; not surprisingly, it has constituted the basis for the production of clothes for millennia. With the raising of fast-fashion production, organic cotton has been substituted by its genetically-modified counterpart, the BT cotton. This has ensured an always-consistent availability of the fibre in the fashion market.

Organic is the new black

Slow-fashion production, however, has re-stated the importance of the organic cotton production developed with natural and untreated seeds. Pesticides — usually the cause of a multitude of chronic illnesses — are banned in order to ensure the safeguard of people and the environment. More than linen, cotton can be mixed with chemical fibres, among them polyester which ensures high elasticity and crease resistance to the garments.

GOTS and OEKO-TEX® certified cotton has been the basis of ANNRO’s winter collection 2018–2019. Our stretch sustainable velvet used to create both ANNRO Royal Capsule collection and ANNRO essentialsis provided with the OEKO-TEX® certification ensuring that no harmful chemicals have been used to produce the fabrics.

“We constantly work for improving our value chain”

In order to provide more softness to our clothes, we still use small portions of polyester (up to 20%) to be blended with organic cotton. As great supporters of fashion sustainability, we constantly work for improving our value chain. We do not pretend to claim ourselves 100% sustainable, but we strongly believe in the importance of raising awareness about sustainable and ethical practices among consumers.

“Sustainability and fashion can create something beautiful together”

As ANNRO’s founder, Anne Rosholm Mogensen, puts it: “There are many ways in which you can be sustainable. And you can be sustainable also without being it in every single part of your value chain. What is important is making consumers understand that sustainability and fashion can go hand in hand, and create something beautiful together”.

SUGGESTED READING:

Fabrics and raw materialshttps://www.inst.org/fashion-courses/Extract.pdf

Five Sustainable Fashion Fabrics of the Futurehttps://ethical-hedonist.com/2018/09/05/five-sustainable-fashion-fabrics-of-the-future/

The Conscious Choice of Embracing Alternatives

Elastic Waist Shirt in Black, Royal Capsule | Sustainable Fashion by ANNRO

Sustainable Fashion: The Conscious Choice of Embracing Alternatives

Embracing sustainability is now trendy. The fashion industry and its stakeholders are increasingly concerned with environmental ethics and sustainable development. But what is sustainable fashion? And what leads an always-growing number of fashion designers to choose the “green path” for their brands?

Many would argue that protecting our planet and its resources is becoming a compelling necessity. When speaking about environmental pollution and textile waste, the world of fast-fashion is certainly not exempt from criticism. Approaching ethically to textile production and building an eco-conscious business has now become a priority for both famous and, especially, new-born fashion brands, which constantly work for improving their supply chains; from the choice of fabrics, to samples’ design, garments’ manufacture and their distribution.

Long Robe Dress in Petroleum, Royal Capsule | Sustainable Fashion by ANNRO

Defined as an emergent design philosophy and ethical movement, sustainable fashion (or eco-fashion) is conceived as a form of slow fashion, which staunchly opposes to the fast- one. If fast-fashion promotes the continuous stream of new products onto the market and invites to a compulsive consume of cheap and low-quality clothes, sustainable fashion promotes the local production of longer-lasting and quality-made garments with the restoration of the traditional season collection system. Due to its constantly-evolving nature, sustainable fashion always aims at improving itself in order to minimize any undesirable effects that fashion industry has both on the environment and on all those people working on the field.

From an environmental perspective, eco-fashion firstly focuses on a careful use of natural resources (e.g. water, soil, ecosystems); a selection of renewable energy sources (e.g. wind, solar), and a maximization of products’ reuse and recycling. In this regard, eco-fashion designers usually conduct mindful and attentive analysis of the environmental impact of the fabrics that they mean to use during the stage of material sourcing and design. Raw and organic materials are chosen over synthetic fabrics; no toxic dyer is allowed. By promoting sustainable strategies of design, manufacture, transport and market textile, sustainable-fashion designers seek to actively engage consumers, thus enabling them to complete the product’s life circle by buying, using, reusing and recycling their items.

Fast fashion isn't free. Someone somewhere is paying. - Lucy Siegle

On a more socio-economic perspective, sustainable fashion places particular attention on fair trade and labour rights violation. By aligning with good and ethical codes of conduct, eco-fashion works to prevent the exploitation of factory workers — both adults and, especially, children who are still hugely involved in the process of exploitation enacted by fast-fashion production. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), indeed, the esteemed number of children involved in child labour worldwide is said to be about 260 million; of them, almost the 58% is engaged in the textile and manufacture sector. Manufacturing and marketing products ethically imply collaborations with fair-trade certified producer organisations, which support the socio-economic development of small communities — in some cases, and completely prohibit forced labour and child labour.

Through sustainable fashion, the fashion industry is moving into a new era made of conscious self-improvement and change. More and more eco-fashion designers are now choosing to build their brand identity on this new set of values based on the respect for people and environment. New possibilities and spaces for dialogue and cooperation are, thus, open for all those who decide to embrace alternatives and “wear” solidarity and eco-conscious values.

REFERENCES

Green Strategy, What Is Sustainable Fashion?:
http://www.greenstrategy.se/sustainable-fashion/what-is-sustainable-fashion/

ILO, Child Labour:
https://www.ilo.org/global/topics/child-labour/lang–en/index.htm

The Guardian, Child Labour in the Fashion Supply Chain:
https://labs.theguardian.com/unicef-child-labour/

Good on you, Ethical Fashion Certifications and Standards: What Do the Labels Mean? https://goodonyou.eco/ethical-fashion-certifications-explained/