The fashion system is dead

I have been running the clothing label Nurmi for over five years now. At first I thought that we were doing things really differently – not according to the same rules as every other label in the fashion industry. That we were really sustainable and making a difference.

And yes, in a way we were: Using high-quality ecological materials, producing locally & ethically, creating long-lasting designs and opening up the whole production chain in a transparent manner.

But that’s not enough.

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We were still caught up in the same fashion cycle as everyone else: producing two collections a year, showcasing them at fashion fairs to retailers, producing the items according to the pre-orders and then offering to customers. I’m not saying that this is the wrong way – but it’s not really making a difference.

It’s not enough to change a material to be a bit more environmentally-friendly, the production to have a little smaller carbon footprint or the workers to have a little bit better working conditions. These for sure are extremely important, all of them, but in the long run we will have to change to whole fashion system and the way we consume in order to really make the industry sustainable.

This is why I took a time-out for Nurmi Clothing – meaning  that we are not producing collections at all for the time being. In order to be able to change the way we operate and really think outside the box we can’t design, produce and sell collections at the same time. Now as I’m not tied up in running the label I can spend more time questioning the status quo: What does the customer really need? How can we change the way retail works? What would be a better way to produce and use garments? How can we change the consumer behavior?

The fashion system is dead and we need to build a new one. The main ingredients for the fashion system 2.0 will be circular economy, sharing economy & transparency. Is this true or am I just daydreaming? I think soon we’ll find out.