More sustainable design

Did you know that more than 80 per cent of a garment’s impact on the environment is actually decided at the drawing board? With wise choices all the way from fibre to finished garment, we can conserve the planet’s resources.

One of the fashion industry’s biggest challenges is achieving the transition to a circular economy, which basically means closing the material loop so that the materials that circulate are safe for people and the environment, and so that the volumes of waste generated are kept to a minimum.

At our headquarters in Mölndal, Sweden, designers, buyers and pattern-makers are busy producing about 8,000 unique items annually. Looking to a circular fashion future, the aim is for the environmental footprint of each product to be as small as possible.

 

Five sustainability criteria guide our efforts

To ensure that every step in the process is as sustainable as possible, we make use of our Sustainable Product Scorecard. This is based on five criteria, which guide us in making sustainable decisions at every stage of the design process through to a sale-ready product.

  1. Choice of material. The materials we choose are crucial from a sustainability perspective. By using organic cotton, recycled polyester or Tencel™, for example, we greatly reduce our use of water, energy and chemicals, as compared with conventionally manufactured materials.
  2. Circular fashion. Will the material and the details in the garment be recyclable at the end of its wearable life? If we can answer “yes” to that question, we will be contributing to circular fashion consumption.
  3. Design and useful life. How can we extend the useful life of the garment? This may mean timeless design and using quality materials that last a long time. But also features such as reinforced knees, or intentionally designing garments with high second-hand value.
  4. Materials consumption. With careful thought about how we design, construct and lay out patterns, we can minimise how much fabric we use and reduce fabric wastage.
  5. Techniques. Processes such as printing, dyeing and various industrial pre-washes may cause serious environmental impact. Here we need to take care to reduce the volume of water and chemicals used by opting for more sustainable techniques.

The Sustainable Product Scorecard and the five criteria allow us to rate the sustainability of products before they go into production. But they also serve to guide our product development, allowing us to manage and rate the effect of our sustainability efforts at product level.

Premium quality for products with long-lasting appeal


A number of our fashions are labelled “Premium Quality”. This means that the garment has been manufactured from a superior grade material, with the aim of making it a long-lived wardrobe favourite.

In some of our Premium Quality styles, the premium material is blended with another material, but the premium material will always account for at least 50 per cent of the blend.

Our premium materials are wool, silk, cashmere, linen, leather, merino wool and pima cotton.

Merino wool means that the wool comes from merino sheep with a fleece which is extra fine, with lightweight, smooth, non-itchy, skin-kindly fibres.

Pima cotton is a superior grade cotton, prized for its long, quality fibres that result in a durable and extra soft cotton fabric.

KappAhl Sustainable Design Contest finds new sustainable design solutions

What does the future hold for sustainable design? KappAhl Sustainable Design Contest spotlights creative, innovative and more sustainable ideas to bring the fashion industry into a circular future.

We launched the KappAhl Sustainable Design Contest 2016 to further our ambition of advancing innovation in sustainable design and manufacturing.

The contest is aimed at fashion, textile arts and design students from Sweden, Finland, Norway and Poland with a passion for developing sustainable design solutions for tomorrow’s world. Entries must feature innovative ideas with a clear focus on sustainable design geared to large-scale production.

The winner will have their design concept realised in practice alongside KappAhl’s designers, and will get to travel to one of KappAhl’s manufacturing countries, or undertake a month’s internship at KappAhl’s headquarters.

The contest’s two winning entries to date resulted in a collection of multifunctional partywear and a collection of kimonos fashioned partially from remnant yarns.