By the power of five, acting as one. How the Nordic countries are setting a global example and leading the sustainable fashion movement with innovation through collaboration.
At the forefront of sustainable development lie the Nordic countries. The SUSTAINORDIC network gathers authorities from all five Nordic countries in the fields of architecture and design to act as one entity showing the world alternative behaviours in sustainable consumption and production. The outcome is an annual issue of The Nordic Report. By highlighting good examples of innovation, collaboratively collecting and promoting best practice examples of design, architecture and city planning the Nordic countries confirm their position as the avant-garde in sustainability. One of the core values of the network is to encourage positive change by highlighting what is good practice within sustainable production and consumption, and inspiring others to follow. Read more at sustainordic.com. The network’s collaborative nature highlights the importance of working across creative sectors and geographical borders in the field of sustainable development in order to unite as one collective, louder voice.
Re:textile is a research project within the field of Smart Textiles Borås with the aim to change consumer culture through creating a basis for policy work that promotes circularity and the implementation of pilot projects. By means of designing garments from the initial stage on the basis that they should be able to be stored, reworked and updated, new business areas are created within repair, re-design and other services that prolong the longevity of clothes. The collaboration with Cheap Monday is a successful example of using discarded clothing from Berendsen that have been re-designed and successfully sold in stores. Design will be the key factor, based both on how sustainable product ranges are attractive to the consumer and how the value chain will be optimised to support circular flows.
In 2007, architects Sinus and Tue Foged established the planning and architectural drawing office EFFEKT. It originated from a multidisciplinary think–tank, which the two founders owned together with philosopher Kristoffer Weiss. The aim is to design cities and buildings that address some of the issues the international community faces, and identify unexplored potential in architecture and design which, based on system thinking and alternative social dynamics, constitute the basis of new green business models. EFFEKT works primarily with planning, building and landscape architecture, focusing on reducing individual footprints by converting our resource consumption through the decentralisation of energy and food production. The proximity and visualisation of production and consumption contribute to behavioural change, which in turn reduces food waste in particular. These themes are combined in the research and design processes of ReGen villages; a visionary model for integrated and flexible eco-societies. EFFEKT has drawn up a long strategic turn-key plan for the conversion of vulnerable non-residential housing areas such as Gellerup, Rosenhøj, Tingbjerg, Kildeparken and Værebroparken. EFFEKT established a higher level of safety, a decrease in crime, a stop of emigration in Rosenhøj, the first fully realised residential area.
Re:newcell was founded as a family business in 2012 by researchers associated with the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. They took on one of the largest problems in the textile industry– how to close the loop on fashion? Less than one per cent of all clothing is upcycled. The target group are global fashion brands with a genuine desire to find circular solutions to reducing their footprints. In order to achieve real change, the solutions must be scalable and enable a systematic shift. Virgin raw materials from forests and cotton can be replaced with 100 percent raw materials in the production of fibres without quality loss.
Paptic produces a new packaging material which replaces environmentally harmful packaging like plastics, paper, and textiles with a soft and moistureresistant material manufactured from wood fibre. It’s particularly suitable for applications where plastic film has previously been the only option, such as plastic bags, mail envelopes and cosmetic bags. Paptic was founded in 2015 as a spin-off of the VTT Technology Research Centre of Finland by Tuomas Mustonen, Esa Torniainen, and Karita Kinnunen-Raudaskoski. Paptic material can be produced through traditional papermaking machines. The refinement of the material can be managed with plastic, paper and textile processing machines, which means that no new infrastructure is required. The primary mission of the company is to solve the issue of plastic pollution in the oceans, which sees millions of tonnes of plastic discarded in the oceans annually.
SUSTAINORDIC is a collaborative network between six Nordic design and architecture institutions. The project owners are the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design – ArkDes (SE) and Form/Design Center (SE), the co-partners are DOGA (NO), DAC (DK), Design Forum Finland (FI) and Iceland Design Centre (IS). The project was founded in 2015 with the support of the Nordic Council of Ministers.
Words by Jonas Olsson
#1 Trash Design; photograph by Henrik Enbom
#2 Re:textile; Courtesy of Cheap Monday
#3 EFFEKT; Courtesy of Effekt
#4 Re:newcell; Courtesy of Re:newcell
#5 Paptic; Courtesy of Paptic
#6 RePack; Courtesy of RePack