sustainable sweaters have put out the fire of burning wool
March 13, 2020
In November last year Guðrun & Guðrun opened a pop-up shop in collaboration with our showroom in Copenhagen. At the opening our own Guðrun Rógvadóttir held a speech that caught the attention of the danish IN magazine, which featured it as an article in last months issue. We've translated the article to English.
Sustainable sweaters have put out the fire of burning wool
Decency and common sense does not have that sexy sound. The Conscious Collection sounds so much more grand and ambitious.
But by launching a conscious collection, how to describe the rest – not conscious… or?
Honestly – we are not very good at marketing our way of producing. And the reason is that we want you to buy our goods because you can’t help it. Because you find the pieces beautiful. But we are probably just naïve. We will have to stand up and tell our story. But for us producing ethically is just common sense. I believe we always did produce that way – also before it became smart.
We started the company because we felt it was a shame that the Faroese wool was burned. The first knitting ladies were family and friends – and you of course treat them decently. We still have a lot of those very close Faroese knitters. For us it has been important to keep the same kind of nearness and respect when expanding our production to Jordan and Peru. We do know also their faces – and my ambition is that I can always look them into their eyes and know that we do have a fair deal.
I have seen us described as a socio-economic company. The essence is that we are now responsible for more people than ourselves. That growth not only is about us being able to make a living of making sweaters, but that there are also quite some women in Jordan and Peru that rely on us for making a living. That is a much bigger responsibility and goal than only making sure that the growth is stable and the numbers black.
We are not talking philanthropy. “You can’t be green when red” I read somewhere. It took me a bit to understand the message, but the essence is that you cannot work sustainably without a healthy economy in your company.
Beside the responsibility it is an immense pleasure working with our knitters in Jordan and Peru. In Amman we see covered anonymous ladies dismount the buses with big plastic bags in their hands. They walk on the dust roads up to the small apartment where we meet for the work-shop. As soon as the door closes a transformation takes place. The scarves are pulled off, they shake their hair and many of them light a smoke. It is save, there are only us, and we are just women from different parts of the world that can share joy and sorrow. We need each-other and this is business – not philanthropy.
We are told stories about a Syrian refugee that could afford to give birth in a hospital thanks to the money she earned by knitting for us. We hear about proud mothers that finance University for their children with the knitting. The ladies promise that Allah will bless us.
South of Lima in Peru another group of women bless us with the name of Jesus Maria. We have been picked up by some family members as a regular taxi never would find the way to their streets that might not even have a name. Those ladies are tough and they fight for making their life work. Last time I was there I was shown this new outside wall in a house that last years’ earnings were spent on. Four years and four outer walls – then she will have a new floor in her house. Knowing that I can be part in fulfilling that humble dream is worth everything.