1. According to The Monocle, you guys were founded in 2009 but other than that there's little about how you guys started. How did you come about starting Wear Collective, why the name and what did it feel like to see yourselves in such a prestigious magazine?
COLLECTIVE began with the steadfast belief that business and entrepreneurial enterprise, if done thoughtfully and conscientiously, can have an enormous positive impact on the betterment of peoples’ lives. It is against this backdrop we set our efforts to empower the people behind the label and bring sustainable growth opportunities to communities around the world.
This belief was the result of a trip that I (Brian) did to Tanzania, Africa. I wanted to follow the supply chain of a simple white t-shirt: a commodity that impacts so many lives along its journey yet often overlooked. Travelling across the country of Tanzania I realized the provenance and complexity of this just this one piece. My journey included meeting the organic cotton farmers of Meatu through to the pattern cutters of Arusha and seeing firsthand the livelihoods that were built around this clothing staple. This simple white t-shirt would later become the catalyst to a growing catalogue of products and a gentle reminder that the partnerships we create can have a far-reaching significance in the daily lives of others.
The name COLLECTIVE was born from the simple idea that each and every pair of hands along the supply chain is as important as one another and 'collectively' we can make a difference and foster international development through the products we co-create.
Cultured. Human. Minimal
3. There's a sense of uniformity and genderless dressing across both COLLECTIVE's mens and womenswear. Do you perceive sustainability in part an aesthetic solution and unisex flexibility?
We don't necessarily see ourselves as a fashion brand but would rather be seen as a 'clothing company'. We try and avoid throwaway fashion looks but instead focus on quality long-lasting basics, born from simplicity. There are no unnecessary frills, just clean lines and a deep understanding of the steps in every product’s journey. Strive for fewer, better things.
4. Sustainable fashion is...
Backing those that care, Understanding your materials, Striving for fewer but better things.
5. While the slow/organic food movement has really taken off, people often still perceive eco fashion as a luxury and not a necessity that needs to be addressed in our consumption purchases. As a company that believes in community development through design, how do you respond to those who don't really see the negative impact of purchasing fast fashion?
Unfortunately I don't think we should be preaching too much as sometimes it can have a negative impact, customers don't like to be told what they can and can't do. Instead we should focus on making it a sound business principle and trying to get other companies to adopt ethical and environmentally friendly practices. It should always be a principle not a proposition.
6. Beyond your clothing line, how did Collective conceive of the idea of designing and creating a sandal revolving around Greece?
Greece has had a very hard time since the financial crisis. The Greek Sandal project was designed to highlight how something quite small can, in fact, impact many. Of course we are realistic and knew from the start that Greece needed far more than a company coming along, co-creating a sandal and believing this was the answer to all their problems but wanted to show the business model at heart and try and encourage others to do the same.