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Welcome on our latest editorial initiative, Who wears what SpotlightHere we will use our editorial platform, social networks and ad inventory to spotlight small businesses that need our support now more than ever. Every week we will introduce a new fashion or beauty company. If you own a small brand and would like to be considered for the program, please apply here.
Welcome to the new year. So far it looks a lot like the last one, but that's not a bad thing. A lot of intentionality is associated with the pandemic: How much we buy, from whom we buy, what we buy for and whether we buy at all. If you ask the four founders of BITE Studios, CEO William Lundgren, COO Veronika Kant, Elliot Atkinson and Suzanne Elvi, it's time for mindful shopping to enter the fashion set's collective consciousness. BITE is an award-winning sustainable fashion brand based in Sweden that was founded on a mission to combat climate change through the responsible consumption of luxury fashion. BITE is an acronym for By Independent Thinkers for Environmental Progress.
"The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world. It causes about 10% of the world's carbon emissions and nearly 20% of wastewater," says Lundgren. "Fashion uses more energy than aviation and shipping combined."
These types of statistics have motivated a lot of fashion to think more carefully about where they are spending their money. And the incentives to buy small and sustainable are not just a big picture when buying from BITE. The brand appeals to its customers not only through its transparent practices on how to make ethical, organic, and recycled fabrics that are as luxurious as they are sustainable, but also by building lasting relationships with their customers through a buyback program that enables customers to sell their worn items back to BITE to be recycled into new collections. It's the kind of positive feedback loop that benefits everyone while maintaining the brand ethos.
It clearly worked for BITE, whose sharp and tailored clothing quickly caught the attention of some of the world's top buyers at Net-a-Porter. Since retailer selected BITE for its Vanguard mentoring program, BITE's suits and outerwear have featured on the cover of Porter magazine, including Kerry Washington and Daisy Ridley. Elsa Hosk even wore BITE's SS20 organic wool suit on the cover of Harper & # 39; s Bazaar last summer. The brand's matching pieces are the type of clothing you'll want to wear for years: timeless, classic pieces like a vegan leather blazer or a waterproof trench coat that you probably won't want to part with, even if the brand offers a pretty big buyback value . You just have to see it for yourself. Read our interview with CEO Lundgren and shop for his favorite pieces from the new collection below.
Can you tell us something about yourself and your business?
We started BITE with the mission to accelerate the world's transition to more sustainable consumption by creating a modern alternative to consuming clothes based on our shared thoughts on how the world should develop and what makes life interesting. We wanted to offer an alternative model to people who, like us, believe in the urgency of fighting climate change and do not want to compromise on clothing.
What if you had to sum up your business in five words or less?
What inspired you to start your company? How did you become aware of ethical consumption and ethical production?
We have formulated ideas on how the fashion world must develop in order to keep pace with a new modern society. We wanted to create a label that sets the tone through real actions, how sustainable fashion should look, feel and talk about. Treating sustainability and design equally is what really sets BITE apart. Our journey began by researching everything we could find about sustainable practices and garment making and interviewing pioneers and leaders in the industry. On this basis, we have created a platform on which we can involve people from the industry who want to be part of the change.
I love your buyback program. Can you tell me more about how it has worked so far?
We offer our customers the opportunity to sell their beloved BITE pieces back for 20% of their original value at any time. This way we can continue the relationship with the customer after we sell an item rather than quitting it and demonstrate the longevity of each garment. This is a perfect way for us to put pressure on ourselves in the design process and to ensure that the quality aspect of every garment is always our top priority. Upon receipt, we either redesign it into new collections, reuse it in our used archive, or recycle it.
Your brand's ethos seems to go beyond just producing environmentally friendly fashion. Can you tell me more about how you ensure that every aspect of your business is run ethically?
95% of our models are made from natural organic fabrics, recycled certified fibers or impact-resistant materials. We work with our suppliers to develop high quality organic silk, cotton, wool and linen. Recycling of polyester; and manufacturing innovative fabrics such as organic vegetable leather. Procurement is a tedious and time consuming process for us, but we are very proud of the work. We reject most of what is available to work with the best quality materials, certifications and standards. But we also find it more exciting if you can develop your own materials and eco-processes over time. The touch and feel of high-quality natural materials is really something special that you can wear the closest to your skin. It's a new luxury that will become the new norm in the future. All of our garments are made in Portugal and Italy to ensure high standards.
What was your proudest moment as a business owner?
We recently won Designer of the Year in Sweden, which was a proud moment for all of us as a young brand. The choice of the Vanguard brand by Net-a-Porter was, in addition to many environmental awards, also an incredible milestone for us. We are really grateful for that.
We want to give other brands a little spotlight love. Which two or three of your favorite brands do you like to support and why?
We personally admire Cecilie Bahnsen and Khaite. Your work is really inspiring!
How have social distancing and home assignments affected your business? How have your priorities shifted?
We are used to working digitally because our small team is spread across different cities. This year was a great challenge for the entire fashion industry and also for us as a small brand. But it is also an opportunity for new progressive ideas that meet the needs of future generations. We are more convinced than ever that we need to transform the industry into more sustainable practices, and believe that this pandemic has caused people to slow down their consumption and buy less and better, which is ultimately what we are for need our planet.
We were also very lucky to be hired as a new designer at Selfridges in the middle of the pandemic. Our brand performance through e-commerce at Selfridges and Net-a-Porter has remained constant, and our customers have also been extremely supportive through our own e-commerce as many styles were sold out.
Can you talk to the inspirations behind the new collection? Who and how do you envision people wearing the parts, especially in our new reality during a pandemic?
Our collections are always based on a typical core of classics that should be valued for years. Each piece of clothing is created with its relevance in mind, based on the needs of a modern woman. The focus is on the basic principles of our view of the world: the elements of carefully selected fabrics, details, materials and constructions based on time, knowledge and beauty.
Working with respect for nature and all living beings combines elements that luxury fashion has traditionally lacked. BITE strives to offer a simple and beautiful experience with a general sensitivity. Our journey to the essence of apparel manufacturing has asked us to keep our attention on fabrics, materials and constructions. This is our real inspiration for our development. The "BITE woman" is a woman with both aesthetic and moral values. She builds her wardrobe from the ground up, appreciates style over fashion, durable design at the moment, chooses multi-year decisions as well as self-confident flair.
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