For Spring 2020, Dagmar was one of nine Nordic brands involved in generating a more sustainable capsule collection exclusively available at Zalando, called ‘Small steps. Big impact. by Zalando.’ After a successful introduction, the concept is back and the Winter edition launches today. This time, the collection is brought to life by eight European brands; Closed, Designer’s Remix, Henrik Vibskov, Holzweiler, Mother of Pearl, Mykke Hofmann, Progetto Quid and House of Dagmar.
We talk to co-founder of Dagmar Sofia Wallenstam about the brand’s journey towards sustainability – and what to expect from the upcoming Zalando collaboration.

Dagmar has been about high-quality and timeless designs since the start in 2005, but I’ve sensed the sustainability quest became more outspoken and pro-active a few years ago. Am I right? What made you want to be at the forefront of sustainability among your peers?
– When starting Dagmar it was natural for us to make collections that were long lasting and were made with ethical and environmental considerations on the production side. I think it might have been our way of growing up that had us caring about this. But also the environment at that time, mass consumption was growing and we only felt for ‘less is more’. Early on, we started to use fabrics that were produced in better ways, both in regards to the environment and the animals. In 2016, there was a defined climate crisis and from there, we decided to go 100 percent sustainable. Our goal is to produce in 100 percent environmentally friendly ways. 90 percent of our collections 2020 offers sustainable produced garments in some way, we are not 100 percent yet but working on it. Learning eeveryday to do better.

You aim to be a ‘climate neutral’ brand by 2025. What does this mean, and why is it important to you?
– This goal is very important for us, it is an important matter, so to state a big goal like that, we need to lift every little stone and part of the company to do everything we do in a better and more responsible way. We started to measure our footprint in 2017, and since then, we have learned a lot and with the help of the findings, we can also do a lot of important changes.

We love that you present your materials online. Please tell us about one or two of your favorite materials and why they contribute to a more sustainable collection.
– I think we need to realize how bad conventional cotton producing is and because of that I must say that an organic cotton shirt must be the nicest most used and long lasting garment a wardrobe can have. Pair with an organic cotton denim trouser and you are all set in a sustainably responsible outfit that will last for long.

In Sweden, where you are based,’sustainable fashion’ has so far been concerned mostly with environmental sustainability; choices of materials, perhaps changing production processes that require a lot of water, chemicals etc. What about social sustainability – how does Dagmar aim to progress in this area?
– Our mission is to empower women and this has inspired us in many ways, from design processes to how and where we produce our garments. We prefer factories that have established social responsibility philosophies and can assure that people who work there are guaranteed healthcare insurance and pensions savings. We have social responsibility as a very important rule when choosing where to produce.

Name a brand or a business that you find inspiration from when it comes to sustainability.
– Sustainability work – Houdini and Patagonia.

For Spring 2020, Dagmar was one of nine Nordic brands working with Zalando in offering more sustainable womenswear available via the retailer’s platform. The initiative resulted in a joint capsule collection called ‘Small steps. Big impact. by Zalando.’ How was that experience valuable from your perspective?
– We really like this initiative from Zalando. They are at the forefront internationally taking responsibility as a digital platform, highlighting the importance of sustainability in the fashion business. We really want to support these kinds of initiatives, reach out to consumers and hopefully be an inspiration to further sustainable decisions in life.

For winter 2020, the Zalando concept has been extended and includes a number of new brands. What can we except and what are you most excited about come the launch on 25 October?
– I can personally recommend our loose fit suit in a nougat color. You can use it as a suit but you will probably also use the blazer and trouser for themselves, they can be styled in many different ways, during the whole winter.

The Winter 2020 ‘Small steps. Big impact. by Zalando.’ capsule collection is available from 25 October on Zalando.
This post is published in collaboration with Zalando.

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