arv Business plan

INTERVIEW WITH ARV

Name?

Maikel Tawadros

Age?

34

Background?

Maikel Tawadros (MT): My background is as a designer. I graduated from Copenhagen Academy of Fashion Design in January 2012 and worked for a variety of brands both before and after graduating as a designer.

I lived in Paris between 2007-2009 while working for the Danish Fashion brand Annhagen.

Design Philosophy?

MT: arv knows that people are at their best without any restrictions.

These are garments that are cool, sustainable, sophisticated, and made for everyone.

What convinced you to start your own brand?

MT:After graduating, I had a strong desire to bring my vision and aesthetic to the Danish fashion scene.

My look was a bit more edgy than what other designers were doing at the time. My shows had a darker approach; that was very personal to me. I wanted people, the press, and my customers to really understand me and my design aesthetic.

What production qualities are found in your designs, and what characterises your products?

MT: I’m a big fan of using natural materials such as organic cotton, deadstock cotton/wool fabrics, upcycled denim, and 100% certified and traceable fox and mink furs from Saga Furs.

My products are characterized by their ”Copenhagen-spirit.” The products appeal to many, but people manage to style and use the pieces in so many cool ways; they really make it their own. My organic cotton crew necks always have a bold, easily recognizable print.

Both my t-shirts and shirts have been worn by a wide range of artists within the music industry as well as many others, both men and women.

How do you consider sustainability in your collections?

MT: As much as possible, everything from my collections is rendered in sustainable fabrics, including organic cotton, deadstock fabrics and yarns, upcycled denim and redone/reworked existing styles.

The quality of my chosen fabrics is crucial when manufacturing these long-lasting styles, and the quality of the final products is of the utmost importance. My suppliers in Europe – Portugal, Poland, Bulgaria, and Denmark – are all small manufacturers with either one person or small teams with approximately 10-15 adult employees working under EU conditions, which are both responsible and ethical.

When possible I work with local artisans such as local furriers, milliners, tailors, and artists in order to have a hands-on-approach in developing my drops. It’s important for me to develop styles that are long-lasting. I also want to minimize transport expenses and do something good for our planet when it comes to pollution.

It’s also vital to me that I use that fantastic Danish craftsmanship.

What have happened with your brand since you participated in Magasin Du Nord Fashion Prize the first time?

MT: Since Magasin du Nord Fashion Prize in 2015 – I continued to developpe my style, my collections, my mind, optimise and took the best I learned from the whole experience including my mentor back then, Peter Ingwersen.

But in February 2017 I went down with stress due to too much work, production difficulties, clients that didn’t pay their invoices which caused financial problems in my small company which resulted in a mental break down.

I had to listen to my body and take a break to recover and figure out if this was actually worth fighting for. I was burned out! Then in May 2018 my spark came back, I was inspired again, I was filled with a new fresh energy. I wanted to make clothes again. I can’t run from my passion for creating beautiful clothes.

But I was determined to do it in a different way with a completely different setup. I didn’t want to design and produce the typical 2 seasons with 2 collections. Instead I wanted to create a cool sustainable unisex wardrobe with good commercial styles that still has the essence of Maikel Tawadros and comes in drops throughout the seasons.

It was extremely important for me to create a brand that is 100% me but I didn’t want to name the the new brand my name like last time because this is a different project, a new me with an eye for sustainability.

The name arv came into mind because I wanted to take the best clothing/styles from the past and translate them into new cool styles.

How do you stand out from the crowd in 2020?

MT: Due to my ups and downs, regaining the passion and energy to start a new brand forced me to think differently when it comes to creating collections. Times are changing and we have to adapt to the new situations going on in the world such as the Covid-19 outbreak, climate change, and the consumer focus on sustainability and social responsibility. arv stands out in the crowd in 2020 by creating small, sustainable, and socially responsible clothes wherein 90% of what we produce is made within the EU and even more locally.

We need to stop overproduction in the fashion industry since it’s one of the most polluting industries in the world.

At arv, we produce small quantities (30-50 pieces) and when a style is sold out, it’s gone forever. My philosophy is to make people consider how they consume; we don’t need to buy a new jacket, bag, and knit every season. It’s an outdated way of thinking. Instead, I hold to the maxim: “quality over quantity”.

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INTERVIEW WITH SUR LE CHEMIN 

Name

Kjetil Aas

Brand: sur le chemin.

 

Age

SLC: 43.

 

Background

SLC: Co-founder, sur le chemin (previous Armoire officielle).

Head of Design, Norse Projects.

Designer, Matinique.

Design Assistant, Won Hundred.

MA Menswear,  Design School of Kolding.

History of Art, University in Oslo.

 

Design philosophy?

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.

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INTERVIEW WITH FREYA DALSJØ

What production qualities are found in your designs, and what characterizes your products?

Freya Dalsjø (FD): Now I am very interested in double faced textiles invisibly finished and after almost a year of searching I have found an amazing manufacturer in Italy who does this to perfection, so most of my work will be produced with this technique. There is something direct and honest about a piece of just one fabric moving, not treated with fusing or lining. It allows for beautifully firm sculptural pieces that move with the body and do not restrain it. I go for high quality natural textiles, mainly sourced from a supplier located next to my production place.

What I am able to offer with my production set-up, is a customization and fitting of products. I am moreover able to produce such pieces one on one, a service that my production facility encourages, at no extra cost for the client. This means that you can customize a design to a certain extent, such as a different color or length of a coat, and it will then be exclusively made for you and delivered shortly after. I will produce it according to the orders made and customize with an extremely short delivery time for this type of luxury service.

 

What has happened with your brand since you participated in Magasin du Nord Fashion Prize the first time? 

FD: I participated in 2014 so, a lot of hard work, victories and failures, sleepless nights, confrontations, sweat and tears, ups and downs, pushing, overcoming, learning. It’s not an easy ride being independent and dealing with your own and others demands and expectations, but it’s an incredible privilege, ride and opportunity as well, that I am very grateful for and know is rare.

How do you stand out from the crowd in 2020?

FD: Let’s see, with everything closing down for months, routine was abandoned. It has left everyone reconsidering their ways of working, their core values, how to make sense of anything. You are spending most of your day trying to make things that people should buy, at a time where it seems the most meaningless to do. It’s been a super confrontational year for everyone on many different levels. So I am idealistically hoping that 2020 will leave everyone standing out from previous wrong ways of working. Making more thoughtful choices. And that the consumer starts questioning and demanding it.

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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

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