In conversation with Per Axen
Continuing their work towards a more responsible design process, Weekday is proud to launch a 100% recyclable and 100% biodegradable* denim set, as part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Jeans Redesign project.
Jeans have always been a core Weekday product, they are the foundation of most wardrobes, they’re timeless, genderless and an everyday basic but unfortunately the processes that goes into making them often creates both waste and pollution. Through this project, Weekday along with 50+ other brands, uses new solutions and processes to ensure garment durability, material health, recyclability and traceability when creating denim pieces.
Made from sturdy blend of post-consumer waste cotton and organic cotton; Klean Jeans and Milton Denim Jacket were designed to last. Using as little material as possible to create the pieces, the Weekday design team looked into every detail, making sure they used the best, most durable and sustainable options possible. The ambition is now that both pieces will last for a very long time before being passed on or recycled when they reach end of life with their first owner.
“For us, this isn’t a one off , we are now looking at how we can be more e cient and responsible within all our design practices.” says Per Axen, Responsible Denim Designer at Weekday. “We really had to think about every detail, such as trims, fabric even packaging, and now that we have done this, we will look into how we can take these learnings and bring them into future designs. For example, we are super excited about the fact that we have now started using post-consumer/industrial waste cotton in all our denim products for SS21”.
20% post-consumer waste cotton 80% organic cotton, 100% recyclable, 100% biodegradable* – Available October 22
We had a delight speaking with Per Axen about the collection.
How important do you think sustainability is becoming, and how do you incorporate it within your brand?
Sustainability is a huge focus for us. When it comes to being a responsible business, there’s alwaysmore to be done. Today we are testing and investigating new ways of production, for example producing more collections on demand, instead of saturating the market with too many products. We also have a collection that we produce yearly called Re-made, which we create with unsold pieces from older collections.
Jeans have always been a core Weekday product, they are the foundation of most wardrobes, they’retimeless, genderless and an everyday basic but unfortunately the processes that goes into making them often creates both waste and pollution. Through this project, with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, we were able to truly shift from a linear process into a circular design process. In a circular model, resources stay in use for as long as possible before being recycled into new products, the new products also stay in use as long as possible before being recycled, again and again.
Moving forward we will continue to find innovating solutions on how to create a more responsible assortment, using less water and no chemicals.
Who are you and what is your profession?
My name is Per Axen and I’m the Responsible Denim Designer at Weekday. I’m originally from Varberg, a small town on the Swedish west coast. After studying fashion design at The Swedish School of Textiles in Borås I started working as a designer for both men and women. My focus has been on denim during the last six years. I live in Stockholm, Sweden, and have been at Weekday since 2011.
What can we look forward to from Weekday to come in the future?
The aim is to use the learnings from this project to become fully circular in all our production processes, in the future.
We are now looking at how we can be more efficient and responsible within all our design practices. With this project, we really had to think about every detail, such as trims, fabric, fit and even packaging, and now that we have done this, we will look into how we can take these learnings and bring them into future designs. For example, we are super excited about the fact that we have now started using post-consumer/industrial waste cotton in all our denim products for SS21
How do you think Covid-19 will affect the fashion industry both long-term and short- term? How do you see the impact of Corona crisis on the general perception of fashion?
For us, we have used this time to reinvent how we do what we do. Because of limitations due tolockdowns, we’ve really had to be more creative than ever when it comes to how we create collections and how we share them with our customers. For example, we have been working more with our Store Made Studio collections, where we take current unsold products and rework them in fun ways to create unique pieces as well as sharing with our customers tips and tricks, they can use at home to reinvent their wardrobe. We’ve also had to operate more flexibly across the value chain, for example break down processes between product teams and rethink the need for office meetings and travel.
Tell us something about yourself that isn't on your resume.
I have a creative studio where I do textile experiments. I share the space with a furniture designer, some artists and another designer. It’s a creative and fun place to be. I also just bought a wooden boat, so I’ll be spending a lot of free time fixing it up and sailing.
What is the most important thing to you when thinking of the future?
I think a lot about being able to make positive and sustainable change within the fashion industry. A lot of the work we do now, at Weekday, is about fundamentally challenging the perception of waste, from an unwanted thing to a valuable resource. I think this is the future, thinking in a circular way in all that we do.
What has been a longtime dream of yours? After already achieving so much.
I feel like I’m living one of my dreams, but I guess the big dream is freedom. Freedom in all that I do;economic freedom, creative freedom, freedom to live and work from anywhere. I think culture and creativity are an essential part of sustainable development because innovation needs the space to implementing new ideas. My dream is to spend more time in my studio or other places where I can be free to test different ideas.
Tell us more about the new campaign: THE FUTURE IS CIRCULAR.
We really wanted to join the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Jeans Redesign project because circular design is the future. We are therefore very proud to launch this 100% recyclable and 100% biodegradable (when you remove the buttons) denim set.
With this project we are shifting from a linear process into a circular design proces, which feels fantastic. In a circular model, resources stay in use for as long as possible before being recycled into new products, the new products also stay in use as long as possible before being recycled, again and again.
Since denim is one of our core categories it felt natural for us to start with that and to be in the forefront, when designing our denim assortment. This project has been a great challenge, because we have learned so much. When designing our next denim assortment, we have taken a lot of learnings from this project, to make sure we design and develop denim products that will last for many years, and at the same time have as low of an impact as possible on the environment. To give you one example: in all denim, starting SS21 we will use post- consumer/industrial waste cotton. We think about all the details, how can we be better – not only through the Redesign project but with everything we do.