To be honest, the world wouldn't need another fashion brand. And most certainly it doesn't need more clothing. When we started out about a year ago and told our families and friends about it, most of them reacted the same: "Really? A clothing brand?"
As a founder, you often think you discovered something completely new. But most of the ideas usually look pretty old and repetitive after a while.
But as much as we've strived to discover companies that do the same and better, our idea still didn't look old. We are certainly not the most innovative individuals - compared to the development of a space ship or artificial intelligence - and we are fully aware of this. But when it comes to apparel and business, we share a few beliefs that we approach different as a company and brand.
We as humanity have pushed our planet to its limits. We exploit its most valuable resources, squander delicate goods, and allow people to work under unworthy conditions. We already pay the price: a destroyed environment, species extinction, and rising average temperature. And we know we can not keep this up.
Discussions about the ecological crisis often end with a confrontation of climate and environment vs. prosperity and full employment. And many say we have to choose one. We think that the right approach can fuse both sides. A successful business that is not harming the planet and the people and animals that live on it.
This manifesto reflects our beliefs. You may share some or maybe most of them with us. It sets out our idea of clothing and business success.
We are sure, together we can make a difference.
Buy less, buy better
The global production of clothing almost doubled in the last 19 years. But we use them only half as long. Imagine that: every year we throw away $400 billion worth in clothing. About 2,500 kilograms of clothes per second – enough to fill the entire Sydney harbor every year.
Fast fashion is releasing collections in ever shorter intervals. From formerly two collections to over 100 microcycles per year. The result is packed wardrobes with clothes of mediocre quality at always lower prices.
100 billion pieces of clothing are produced each year for 7 billion people. And studies show that we wear most of them only 7-10 times and only use 20% of our wardrobe in total.
People need clothes. But we can stop its decay of value and consciously invest in the clothes we really need. Buying less, but buying better. Quality garments that make a difference to our planet. And clothes that appreciate the delicate craftsmanship they were made with.
We do not follow trends or fad. We admire garments that drape us with stylish understatement in our everyday lives. That's why we only focus on what makes a garment's quality. Raw materials. Timeless designs. High-quality Craftsmanship. Uncompromised details. Ecological production. To create meaningful essentials.
We call them BASICS.
Design to last
Our dad still keeps a few items in his wardrobe, which he bought when he was young. For example, the plain Bordeaux red shirt that I've seen almost every time. As with most things, investing in and maintaining quality garments is more sustainable than buying cheaply.
Labels should reinvest in quality along the entire production chain. Not only where it is reasonable or can be utilized for marketing. Because it doesn't matter what you as a manufacturer, invest in sustainability if your garments do not last long.
We create garments that last forever, not just a season. Basics that get softer with each wear. Luckily we are not alone. More and more companies share this philosophy – across different industries and products. Some have been around for decades, others are new, just like us.
But quality doesn't end now. We follow the idea of ever-improving. As we don't design changing collections, we improve our products over time. We recollect worn-out pieces to recycle. We mend if something is broken. Together with our partners, we develop better production methods to reduce our impact on the planet with each new production.
Care of what it is made
To make a cotton T-shirt, you need almost 3000 liters of water. Enough for a person to drink for two years. In cotton cultivation, a quarter of the world's insecticides are used. And 11% of the pesticides.
Man-made fibers are even worse. 60% of all clothing is made of oil. Around 2.5% of the annual oil consumption is used for synthetic fibers. What remains are mega-tons of plastic, which take thousands of years to decompose in our landfills and end as microparticles in the water.
We chose wool. And it also has its drawbacks: from industrial sheep farming to methane emissions, to breeding practices.
But it is renewable and biodegradable.
If you apply strict standards to the origin, in terms of animal welfare, land use, and manufacturing, it is one of the most sustainable raw materials.
We love wool and its unmet functionalities and advantages. But humanity couldn't only wear wool. That is why we need more innovation to develop new sustainable materials. Fibers that require less energy, chemicals, and water to produce.
Out of greed, most fashion companies have shifted their production to the world's cheapest working countries. Predominantly women (over 70%) work there in often inhumane conditions and without sufficient employee rights.
As recent as 2018, the US government found evidence of slavery and child labor in textile productions in China, India, Bangladesh, Burma, Indonesia, Turkey, Brazil, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. If you count in the extraction of raw materials, this list goes on. Except for raw wool.
Exploiting these people seems to be profitable. Fashion and its manufacture is a global $1.3 trillion business with 300 million employees along its supply chain. Brands try to overplay their practices by the power of their marketing and unsupervised corporate responsibility standards.
It's clear to us: companies should guarantee that their products comply with the labor standards of their home country. As long as companies are not forced to publish the origin of every part of their products, a final "made in" tells you nothing. And this is true for most industries.
Most of the people who make our products are not Woolday employees. They work in our partner factories. They have the same right to a fulfilling and happy life as we do. We wouldn't be successful if they wouldn't partake in the success.
So we decided to produce only within the European Union. And only in countries with unequivocal working conditions. Most of it is done in Germany, our base. (And you might think, that this would be much more expensive. But we were surprised, overall it isn't.)
Help the planet to recover
We strive to leave this planet better than we found it. We understand that manufacturing and shipping garments damage the environment. We consume valuable resources and significant amounts of water, chemicals, and energy. For us personally and as a company, it's crucial to reduce to zero or to completely offset it.
Because the textile industry is one of the dirtiest industries on the planet, directly responsible for:
- the emission of 1.7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, around 5% of global emissions - more than all international aviation and shipping
- the consumption of 98 million tonnes of oil for the production of synthetic fiber clothing - around 2% of the annual oil production
- 95 billion cubic meters of drinking water consumed in manufacturing - almost two-thirds of the largest lake in the EU, the Swedish Vänner Lake.
- estimated 20% of the world's water pollution by dyes and chemicals
We have to stop it. That's why we produce locally, close to each other in factories that produce their own energy, collect, filter and reuse their water, and recycle the leftovers.
Our partners are in Germany, Portugal, Italy, Lithuania, and Poland. Short ways, high environmental standards, and the opportunity to work closely together. So that together we can develop the production processes of the future. Because we only have this one planet.
Make better choices
You need to know more about your garments so you can make better decisions. Ask for it. Where does it come from? How did you do that? Where did you do that? Where do your raw materials come from?
Because a "Made in" only tells you the last step of the journey. But nothing more.
That's why we tell you more. We'll let you know where each thread of our products comes from. Where we source our wool. Where we manufacture. Who made our garments. But more importantly, where we still need to improve. What is not working as we want it. Real transparency, so that you can form an opinion yourself in the end.
We are only at the beginning. As a small company, we can't change everything at hand. But we are driven by a mission to make a real impact and example for the fashion business.
We focused on the things that we can already improve. That our supply chain and our partners have the highest environmental and labor standards. That our products are free of plastic - including the packaging. That we emit as little carbon dioxide as possible and that we choose manufacturing processes that use less water and chemicals.
But we want more. We strive to make the best, most functional, and durable products in our segment. 100% natural and ecological. Carbon-neutral, made with a minimum of water and chemicals and 100% biodegradable and recyclable. We know the way. Come along.