INTERVIEW WITH SUR LE CHEMIN
How do you consider sustainability in your collections?
Sur Le Chemin (SLC): At sur le chemin we strive to slow down the pace in today’s fashion industry, creating clothing that are timeless and will survive over time.
We do not produce the traditional seasonal 2, 4 or even more collections a year, but try to find a new way to work within an industry that for the last decades have ended up having a speed that is no longer sustainable.
This meaning that we are developing a base of essentials, that consists of styles such as the classic white shirt, t-shirts and merino knits. Around this base, we build the collection piece by piece – presenting the different styles to the market on a regular basis throughout the year(s).
Working this way we are able to be more true to season, have close to no overproduction and avoid sales. Furthermore, all this leads to less overconsumption.
We strive to use sustainably sourced fabrics as much as possible, such as GOTS certified organic cotton, re-cycled cashmere wool and Tencel.
If we fail to find a sustainable alternative in the wanted quality, we will always choose a high-quality material. This is because we believe that a product that lasts a long time at all times is the most sustainable choice.
What have happened with your brand since you participated in Magasin du Nord Fashion Prize the first time?
SLC: After participating in 2014 the brand Armoire officielle gained acknowledgement and growth for the seasons to come. This resulting in a womens line as well as major wholesale clients such as Steven Allan in the US for the SS17 collection.
As part of this development the Armoire officielle store opened in Copenhagen August 2016. However – during these months the brand was moving further and further away from the original principles of slownessand more towards the traditional structures of the industry, I initially wanted to move away from. Facing this the decision to re-think the brand was made In December 2016, and all activities were paused.
As part of this process I teamed up with two new partners; Ed Renner (Previous Managing Director, Triumph International) and Lene Renner (Previous KØS, Museum of Art in public spaces), sharing a common vision where slowness and a new way of thinking about a fashion brand were the basis for further development.
The brand re-launched in May 2017, under the name sur le chemin.
How do you stand out from the crowd in 2020?
SLC: By presenting a new business platform, combining brand, store and design studio. These three are all equally important in terms of dialogue with end consumers, as well as a sustainable business model.
What is the most important knowledge you have gained as a designer/brand so far in 2020?
SLC: The first half of 2020 has been characterised by Covid19 and the challenges it has brought. When Denmark started to lock down, it was obvious quite early that sur le chemin did not have the same challenges that most other brands had. We did not experience any crucial delays of production, no season collection not to be sold or cancelled orders.
To experience our business model being relatively stable and easy to adapt to the situation during this period has been truly uplifting.
What can the Magasin du Nord Fashion Prize do for you if you win in 2020?
SLC: Winning the Magasin du Nord Fashion Prize will first and foremost be an important acknowledgement of our design philosophy. It will create greater visibility, greater financial stability and strengthen the journey we are already on. Participating expands our network and it will hopefully create a foundation for new exciting collaborations in the time to come
INTERVIEW WITH SUR LE CHEMIN
Brand: sur le chemin.
SLC: Co-founder, sur le chemin (previous Armoire officielle).
Head of Design, Norse Projects.
Design Assistant, Won Hundred.
MA Menswear, Design School of Kolding.
History of Art, University in Oslo.
SLC: The sur le chemin design philosophy considers all aspects of the garment made, including aesthetics, comfort and wearability. Words such as modernity, functionality and simplicity have always been of importance for me in the process of designing. It is my vision to create longlasting wardrobe favourites.
What convinced you to start your own brand?
SLC: Leaving Norse Projects in 2011, it was important to me to find a foothold in the fashion industry, where I could still see myself in 30 years time.
Having been a part of the industry since 2005 it became more and more clear to me what needed to be changed, being able to contribute to the shift towards a more sustainable industry. So when the opportunity arose, the development of what is now sur le chemin began.
What production qualities are found in your designs, and what characterizes your products?
SLC: All sur le chemin brand products are made in Europe, in a close relationship with our manufactures. One of our strengths is the possibility to produce at a very low minimum. This gives flexibility in the supply chain and at the same time allows us to avoid overproduction.
A sur le chemin brand product is often subtle in its design, focusing on the fabric and details of the style. It is relevant, regardless of trends. Making it worth re-using and in the end being re-cycled.