When it comes to a commitment to creating ethical and sustainable fashion, not many brands would rival the determination of Danish sustainable luxury brand, 1 People. And who better to speak about joining us as a partner in our Sustainability Alliance than their Chief Sustainability Officer and Co-Founder herself? We speak to Rea Tjoa Algreen of 1 People in this instalment of our Designer Spotlight.
Hi Rea! Could you tell us more about how you got started in fashion, and what inspired you to start your own fashion brand?
Rea: I have always been into fashion ever since I was a little girl. However, I acknowledge that the fashion industry right now is not as humane as I hoped it to be. For that, I would like to create clothing that can not only make me look good, but also feel good while at the same time do good. Furthermore, my own struggle to find clothes that are sustainable, stylish and of high quality inspired me to create sustainable, stylish and minimalist capsule collections that can be easily mixed and matched.
Besides my own attachment to fashion, me and my co-founder, Jonathan Tjoa Algreen wanted to change how business is done in a more people and planet centric way—we figured the best way to do this is through lifestyle.
Combining both ideas and objectives, 1 People was born.
As the Co-Founder and Chief Sustainability Officer, how do you keep 1 People on the right track towards reshaping the future of fashion?
Rea: As the CSO of 1 People I am responsible for ensuring that all of our products are sustainable and ethically made. For this, I am very much involved in product development from the designing process, making sure that the materials we use can be reverted back to Earth to the production process where I also oversee the manufacturers and suppliers that we work with. I make sure they have the right certifications and have humane working conditions and wages. This is, in part, my effort in creating a greener and much healthier fashion supply chain.
Give us a sneak peek into your typical design process as you start a new collection!
Rea: I work closely with our designer and fashion merchandiser when developing new collections. We first start with researching trends as well as the needs of our women. We will then start designing our clothes in a way that meets the criteria based on our findings, keeping in mind that the clothes have to be timeless and versatile. Once we decide on a collection, we will go into sampling and start fine tuning the pieces by going through multiple tests on the samples, making sure they are of high durability and quality. Once we have reached an agreement on the final prototype, we will then go into production.
If you could describe the aesthetic of 1 People’s pieces with 3 adjectives, what would they be?
Rea: There are definitely many ways to describe 1 People’s pieces, but if I have to choose 3, the most fitting would be Sustainable, Minimalist and Quality.
What is one piece in your collections that you hold closest to your heart?
Rea: This is hard because it is like asking to choose between your children as all of them hold special places in my heart. However, if I have to choose one it would be the Capri maxi dress, particularly in the licorice colour. I love it because of the versatile style that allows me to wear it for a meeting, then a casual dinner afterwards. The minimalist look also makes it effortlessly elegant and fits my style perfectly. The piece was also launched as part of our first ready to wear collection and that in and of itself reminds me of the milestone 1 People has achieved.
Any advice for people who are dipping their toes into sustainable fashion brands for the very first time?
Rea: Like a baby learning to walk, you have to take it slow. You don’t need to change your wardrobe overnight, but you can do it step by step by starting to choose sustainable fashion every time you shop. When choosing sustainable brands, you also need to make sure to read and really understand their process. Ask questions such as who made their products? Are the materials they use biodegradable and what values do they stand for?
We’re proud to partner with 1 People through our Sustainability Alliance. What does this partnership mean to 1 People?
Rea: This partnership means a lot to us because we believe that the fashion industry needs radical change to have a more people and planet approach and we also know that we cannot do it alone. Thus, partnering with like-minded brands will definitely help us in achieving our goal faster because by joining our communities, we will be an even stronger force to be reckoned with, along with our shared values and messages in pushing for a more sustainable fashion industry.
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