Now more than ever, people are becoming more aware and conscious of the things they buy and spend their money on. With the Coronavirus pandemic at hand, people’s mindsets have shifted and there has been a rise and shift towards more ethical, sustainable and eco-friendly businesses. That said, how has ASKET been affected during this time? Has there been a high increase in sales and newfound customers?
Over the past year, we’ve witnessed a groundswell. With customers finding their voice through initiatives like Fashion Revolution and School Strike for Climate. Now, the pandemic has further laid bare the serious failings of the global fashion system, with entire seasonal collections going to waste and cancelled orders leaving an already vulnerable supply chain workforce in dire straits. With the fashion industry being under the spotlight more than ever, we hope that after the pandemic these changes will only accelerate and that we won’t fall back to our old consumption habit. However, no company is immune to the effects of the pandemic, in fact many of the brands that are pioneering new practices in the industry are smaller players and simply may not have the capital to pull themselves through the crisis. After an initial dip in demand, mainly related to our hierarchy of needs being turned on its head in the midst of a crisis affecting everyone, and honestly providing a necessary breather and time for reflection. We’ve seen our customers become even more loyal and, we hope, this is because they want to back the brands they believe in. Our business model also exists to challenge the fickle nature of the fashion industry, so with no seasonal collections to write off and solid relationships within our supply chain, we’re in a good position to ride this out.
August and Jakob, where do you each find inspiration?
Inspiration comes and goes quickly and can turn up in unexpected places: over a morning coffee, in a moment of clarity during a run or from news articles, books, podcasts, even simply while scrolling through instagram on the couch. Although, if you’re really trying to tap into the ASKET psyche, maybe a look at the mini-library in our office can definitely help you, here’s a few of our favourite books: ‘Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind’ by Yuval Noah Harari, ‘The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy’ by Pietra Rivoli, ‘Let My People Go Surfing’ by Yvon Chouinard, ‘The Thank You Economy’ by Gary Vaynerchuk, and ‘Delivering Happiness’ by Tony Hsieh.
What advice would you give to anyone who has an idea fora sustainable company, but doesn’t know where to start to make this dream a reality?
There’s a danger of the word ‘sustainable’ becoming muddied. Despite good intentions and efforts, all the sustainable collections hitting shop shelves are ill defined and can lead to more confusion than good. There’s so much that can be done to set the world to rights, and our advice would be to focus on one specific thing and do that really well. If you think you’re onto something, then expand your idea, study it, pick it apart, question the current practices and offer a solution. Once you’re convinced that you’ve found a better way of doing things, then focus all your attention on that. Also, be transparent about the reason why your way of doing is better, as well as sharing your successes and failures along the way. Right now, people are looking for authenticity more than ever. Take it from us, don’t label it sustainable (you won’t find the word anywhere on our website), you’ll only be adding to the greenwashing lexicon.