Sustainable fashion, how?

With help from F5 Concept Store, we’ve put together a list of criteria for a long lasting wardrobe. 

Meet the brand F5. Founded by three Norwegian brothers and located in Oslo, F5 consists of a concept store, agency, and magazine. With 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions coming from the textile industry in 2015, it’s safe to say that there is a need for a shift in the fashion industry. F5 aims to take part in that shift.

We’ve had a chat with Emil Krystad Marthinsen, one of the founders, to have him share his thoughts on what makes a sustainable wardrobe, and why it matters to care about the environment when purchasing clothes.

The lifetime of the item is what matters
– In general, no matter what material, the best thing for the environment is that we become better at extending the life cycle of our clothes, taking care of them by tailoring or repairing. That is what makes the biggest impact, simply because it means that fewer clothes have to be produced, causing a slower interval of replacement, Marthinsen says.

Natural fiber is a winner
Emil divides materials into two groups: natural and synthetic fibers (while a few are in-between). All of these have to be processed in some way, meaning that depending on whether you measure the use of water, chemicals or emissions, the environmental footprint of the clothes will differ.

– I prefer natural fibers, it feels better. Considering the growing issue of microplastics, it also seems like natural fiber is the right way to go being that it’s decomposable, he says.

What defines quality?
– As consumers, we’re responsible for how we take care of our clothes. We often tend to treat the cheaper items more roughly, giving them a shorter life cycle, while it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way, Emil says.

He highlights that in addition to the material, the construction and stitch also defines the quality of the clothes. His experience is that clothes with a high mix of wool tend to last longer if they are treated right, for instance avoiding sweaters made of fragile yarn.

Curious about the effects of the textile industry? Check out The True Cost, you’ll find it on Netflix. 

3 questions for F5: 

When curating brands for F5 Concept Store, how does sustainability matter?
– We always try to have a holistic assessment of a brand or product before choosing to have it in our store. At the same time, we strive to put together something that feels timely, and we see that maybe some of those focusing the most on sustainability forgets that they also have to meet the consumers’ needs and wishes for there to be a breakthrough, he says.

What about your own clothing line?
– Lately, we’ve tried to establish a network of suppliers in Portugal to bring the production closer to the consumer, and that can deliver ecological cotton. Our aim is to use our brand as a platform to pull the industry in the right direction, therefore we continue to improve ourselves whether that concerns the quality of the construction or materials, Emil says.

How will sustainability matter for the consumer in five years?
– We have to get to the point where sustainability is no longer a sales argument, but a given. Consumers with purchasing power have to get used to shopping less, but more expensive, so that brands who prioritize a healthy supplier chain can have a greater breakthrough.