VILDNIS – making sustainable fashion the norm

London-based VILDNIS is on a mission to make sustainable fashion the norm and one of the favourite brands at IVALO.COM. Get familiar with the brand's story from the interview with Ulla, the founder of the brand, and learn what's their view on the modern fashion world!

"Our aesthetic is a mix of pretty tough slash badass, and feminine slash sexy, combining floaty floral dresses with military style jackets etc for an understated bohoish look.

 

The rainforest printed Valdivian Dress is made from recycled coca-cola bottles

 

Hi Ulla! Could you start by telling us how was VILDNIS born?

VILDNIS was born out of frustration with the current practises in the fashion industry. Having worked in the industry since I graduated in 2000, I have experienced both the good and bad sides of the industry and witnessed first hand what negative impact its current practises have on the planet and workers and animals in the supply chain.

Most people working ‘behind the scenes’ in fashion know about the pollution, exploitation of workers and animal cruelty, yet few brands had done something to actively change their practises when we launched VILDNIS in 2017. Everything was driven by profit and consumer demand, and at that time the majority of fashion consumers didn’t demand ethical and eco-friendly fashion. This is only something that is starting to happen now.

I quit my day job and used my final thesis at the exec MBA study (that I had been doing on the side) to do some research into why most consumers said they were interested in buying sustainable fashion but only a VERY small part of them actually did. According to my findings, fast fashion consumers perceived ethical and eco-friendly fashion as beige, hemp, hippie and expensive. They basically felt that they didn’t have anything to choose from unless they compromised on their style – and ultimately on their image & identity.

VILDNIS is giving them a choice by offering a product, that looks like any other product you can find on the high street, at an affordable price point, and which is ethical and eco-friendly at the same time.

 

How would you describe VILDNIS' aesthetics and where do you find inspiration for the designs?

Our aesthetic is a mix of pretty tough slash badass, and feminine slash sexy, combining floaty floral dresses with military style jackets etc, for an understated bohoish look. With roots in both Scandinavia and London, our designs have both minimalistic and audacious elements.

Rather than following short lived trends from the big trend bureaus, we design items that resonate with the lifestyle of our target customer and that we believe will become favourites in our customer’s wardrobe for a long time. All of our prints are inspired by elements from nature.

 

The Kenting Wide Leg Jeans are made from lightweight organic cotton

 

What does sustainability mean to you and how does it affect VILDNIS?

Sustainability to us means leaving the world as the same or a better place than we found it. That goes both for the way we treat other human beings, animals and the planet, which is why we operate with a Triple Bottom Line at VILDNIS, measuring our success on both people, planet and profit (social, environmental, economic), instead of profit only as traditional businesses do.

The way it works is that we have set ourselves targets in each area, and every year we publish our long- and short-term targets on our website, as well a report on the progress we have made the previous year. Our targets include everything from ensuring that the workers in our supply chain are paid a living wage to the packaging materials. Honesty and transparency are important to us.

"In the modern fashion world, ethical and eco-friendly fashion will become the norm. It has to if we want to halt climate change and leave the planet in a reasonable state for future generations.

 

What's your view on the modern fashion world?

I believe that ALL fashion can and should be made ethically; living wages and good working conditions should be a given. There simply isn’t any reason not to – and yes, it may mean that we, as consumers, can only buy one item of clothing instead of two, but I think we will survive :-)

I also believe that ALL fashion can be made in a much more eco-friendly way, using processes and materials with a lower environmental footprint than conventional processes and materials. In the modern fashion world, ethical and eco-friendly fashion will become the norm. It has to if we want to halt climate change and leave the planet in a reasonable state for future generations.

The leaders of the fashion industry are starting to take steps towards making fashion circular, something that we are great supporters of, and I believe this is where the future lies for fashion. Through recycling and reusing all materials we can continue to enjoy fashion in a similar way to what we do today (perhaps without the fast fashion element) while protecting the planet.

 

What kind of challenges does your brand face?

Being a small brand, we are currently facing quite a few challenges in terms of minimum order quantities etc. However, I think the biggest challenge that we – and any other brand in the sustainable category face – is how we can change the mindset of both suppliers and consumers. Garment manufacturers and other suppliers in the supply chain have to get used to being transparent and shift their focus away from profit alone to include both people, planet and profit. Consumers have to get used to more realistic pricing (still affordable) and a more mindful way of shopping. We HAVE TO get rid of Black Friday and other industry-wide marketing promotions designed to encourage overconsumption.

 

The Yosemite Jacket is the founder's all time favourite. 

"To me, it embodies everything that VILDNIS stands for: badass style, ethically made and designed for recyclability in a 100% organic cotton."

 

What would you like to achieve with VILDNIS?

I would like VILDNIS to continue to be an inspiration for other brands in the fashion industry in terms of sustainability through supporting new innovations and always striving to be better. We are still a small brand and my dream is that we will one day be a force to be reckoned with; an established mid-sized brand who can drive some serious changes in an industry that really needs it.

 

Thank you Ulla & VILDNIS! <3