Respect for Resources, Sustainable Fashion for Mankind
Dialogue with Søren Alling Sørensen,
Founders of Res-Res Sustainable Fashion Store | Copenhagen
Just as a walk-in customer the other day, I stumbled upon Res-Res randomly while exploring the Nørrebro neighborhood-a serene area situated in west Copenhagen, the back garden that nurtures a plethora of conscious culture and business activities.
I immediately fell into amazement while observing all the little details in this concept store,from the lovely drawings behind the brand’s story to the individual labels detailing each products’ eco-efforts. Res-Res, among all the other slow-fashion shopping destinations I have seen, was the most complete, accessible,and simple yet clear space with interesting and amicable messages spread throughout the store.
My ears were drawn to a conversation between Søren and a designer of a new local sustainable childrenswear brand, who was visiting to introduce her collection to the store:
“I was working in an outdoor fashion supply chain for more than ten years. Outdoor and sportswear fashion are the pioneers in the industry that can start communicating the eco-friendly awarenesses movement, involving innovative techniques in achieving more responsible results with the environment. Although, in comparison to our daily fashion consumption, mainstream culture has much more efforts to input.
People need more gradual support and knowledgeable creations such as these to help transition them into making more responsible fashion choices. With childrenswear as a particular case, as a child, it doesn’t matter to them whether their clothes are made with organic or conventional cotton. But their parents, if they care to make a more conscious choice for their children, can make a better selection for them.
They could understand their pants comes from their papa’s old shirt! On the other hand, parents can feel 100% assured of where the ‘Resource’ of their children’s clothes are from- whether they are treated or washed clean, what materials are used, if it’s a sustainable fabric or not- when their children’s outfit is transformed from their own. Finally, this upcycling process not only gains value and a beautiful second life with a designer’s creativity, but establishes a win-win support to a conscious fashion community, ” Søren was saying
I walked up and jumped into conversation with him,
“I am here to form more ideas on how sustainable fashion could be made more mainstream and further, how the textile industry can improve.”
“Res-Res, you can say it’s a no-meaning noise of pronunciation, why not a cool counter-culture slang, for us, we say it’s Respect for Resources. No matter what suits your feeling, we want this store to be welcoming to all kinds of consumers around the world,” Søren explained.
With this snippet from our conversation, for example, you might be thinking- what does sustainable fashion actually mean or even, what is the “right” thing to do?
Here is a summary for whoever is new to sustainable fashion:
Sustainable fashion is partly about producing clothes, shoes and accessories in environmentally and socio-economically sustainable manners, but also about more sustainable patterns of consumption and use, which necessitate shifts in individual attitudes and behaviour.(...)
More sustainable fashion can be defined as clothing, shoes and accessories that are manufactured, marketed and used in the most sustainable manner possible, taking into account both environmental and socio-economic aspects. In practice, this implies continuous work to improve all stages of the product’s life cycle, from design, raw material production, manufacturing, transport, storage, marketing and final sale, to use, reuse, repair, remake and recycling of the product and its components. (...)
(Green Strategy, June 2014)
Indeed, despite the growing interest in sustainability within the fashion industry, there is still no common definition of what sustainable fashion actually means.
“It is a very thin line, but we are not here to exclude anyone. In our selection of products, many of them hold GOTS certificated cotton while some of them does not. Which doesn’t mean they are not sustainable, but the fact that getting a certification cost a huge amount of money, most of these small scale conscious brands would never be able to afford it. We very often prefer to carry and support those non-certificated yet 100% transparent brands because they come up with more pointed design that speaks to a wilder range of customers. In Denmark, according to a countable survey, only 6% of the population lives with an organic and sustainable lifestyle, we hope what we provide in Res-Res, speaks to all the 6% as well as the 94%, ” says Søren.
“We have made some choices- on brands who strive to improve the fashion industry in different levels or aspects of effort and practice. These choices are good enough for those who are very aware of organic and sustainable living, but also for others who are not there yet. What we (Res-Res store) provide is access to which each individual can find their way on this path- the path to making the sustainable choice your next choice. As long as we are on the path, no matter if we are ahead, behind, or in the middle,we are bringing that awareness to another level, so more people can start acting towards that. That’s basically why we thought it was important to create a destination like this.”
Visiting Res-Res wasn’t originally in my research plan when I came to Copenhagen, but the reason I so easily walked in was based on the fact itself that both Søren Alling Sørensen and Lars Toft- the founders of Res-Res Store- didn’t aim to discriminate or alienate themselves as a store for only sustainably minded people. They made it accessible to everyone.
As they said themselves: The store is about two happy world citizens wanting to make a difference.
The dialogue with Søren was particularly full of resonance, not only because we shared a similar professional background from the fashion production industry but through the modest, liberal attitude they curate through their business. In addition, the atmosphere they created brings conscious men, women, families together to become wiser everyday, by sharing knowledge in the everyday choices they make.